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Importance of iron in women diet

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Iron is a vital component required by all human beings. However, its need is more for women than in men. While men require 8 mg of iron daily in their diet, women require 18 mg. The daily dose of iron further increases to as high as 27 mg for pregnant women. Thus, you can see how significant iron is for women and now we shall explain you why.


Depletion of iron from a woman’s body is more rapid than in men

Iron is present primarily in haemoglobin (about 2.5 gm) for transportation of oxygen through the blood. The rest of iron is stored in ferretin complexes which are present in almost every cell but mostly concentrated in spleen, liver and bone marrow.

These iron reserves are for emergency usage and they are much low in women than in men. Furthermore, a certain portion of iron is lost during menstruation and it demand increases during pregnancy and breastfeeding days. The ferretin reserves are exhausted much quickly in women than in men and thus, women need to compensate for the lost iron for proper functioning of their body. This is the reason why women need more iron than men.

Next we shall explain you how iron proves beneficial for women.


Prevents anaemia

Anaemia is something a way to common in women. If you are feeling dizzy, weak, sleepy, nauseous, and tired and low all the time then you need to get your haemoglobin levels checked immediately. Iron is a major component of haemoglobin and it helps the red blood cells transport oxygen to different cells of the body.

Deficiency of iron is one of the most common factors responsible for anaemia. However, if you have been detected anaemic due to low haemoglobin levels then your doctor would certainly recommend iron supplements and increase intake of iron rich foods like spinach, legumes, cereals, lean beef, chicken breasts, broccoli, lamb liver, etc.

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Importance of iron for pregnant women

Often pregnant women start their pregnancy with low iron levels in their body. If the iron levels are not spiked up then she can suffer from anaemia.


Iron deficiency during pregnancy can cause low birth weight and premature delivery. Furthermore, more than normal amounts of iron are required to make more haemoglobin due to increased blood volume (required for the baby and the placenta) in your body during your pregnancy.

Your doctor will recommend iron tablets so that the standard requirement of 27 mg is met. Extra dose of iron might be continued during initial period of breastfeeding as well.


Iron for women during menstruation and menopause

If your periods are heavy then you lose more iron from your body. In that case, you need to check with your doctor if you need additional iron supplements apart from supplementing it through natural resources. The scenario is different for women who have entered their menopause. Since there’s no more blood loss from the body, they can consume 8 mg of iron daily.

Women should consider eating vitamin C rich foods along with iron containing foods because the former enhances absorption of non-heme iron from the latter.   

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: August 14, 2014

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