Considered a necessary mineral, iron is associated with strength and vitality. Remember how Popeye the Sailor Man was eating spinach whenever he needed to get out of a dangerous situation? That may be a good way of determining kids to eat spinach, but since it is rich in iron, eating it in excess may affect anyone’s health. Just in the same way, there are other foods that contain high amounts of iron, as well as tap water. When too much iron is absorbed from one’s diet, it may cause serious health problems. So, just a healthy diet and exercising, ain’t enough. As it follows, you’ll learn more about this almost untraceable problem and how to avoid it.
Health problems caused by excess iron
Excess iron can increase the risk of cancer because it produces free radicals. These are unstable substances that are trying to steal something that they need from another substance, making it unstable too. They affect the cellular DNA, increasing the risk of cancer and their presence may also lead to cardiovascular diseases. The action through which free radicals act is called oxidation. For example, they can oxidize the cholesterol present in blood, fact that determines it to get attached to both arteries and blood vessels more easily. The consequences can lead to serious affections, such as ischemia, necrosis and so on, that must be avoided at all costs.
Avoid excess iron accumulation
It should be noted that not everyone is prone to developing heart diseases or even cancer due to excess iron present in their bodies. However, it would be best to avoid the accumulation of iron in the first place. The secret to maintaining a balanced diet is to combine foods rich in iron with foods that decrease iron absorption like rice, wheat, other cereals, chocolate, grapes, wine, apples and black tea. In addition, looking out for the water you drink is also important. Usually tap water contains a lot of iron. So, you might want to use a water softener before you drink or cook with tap water. A better softener eliminates excess iron and other impurities too.
Types of foods that contain iron
Meat in general contains a type of iron that is absorbed by the human body in proportion of 25%. This category comprises lamb and pork meat, as well as liver. In addition, almost all green vegetables are rich in iron, but the iron contained by them is not so easy to absorb. The only vitamin that facilitates the absorption of iron is calcium. So, you need to be aware of this aspect in case you are taking any vitamin supplements. Among the other foods that may increase the concentration of iron from one’s body are eggs, dairy products and even a common and irreplaceable liquid as tap water.
In conclusion, iron can do as much good as it can do harm, so try to find the perfect ratio between iron rich foods and foods that block its absorption. Remember to drink clean water and stay low on supplement intake too!