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“Ancient stars in their death throes spat out atoms like iron which this universe had never known. Now the iron of old nova coughings vivifies the redness of our blood.” - Howard Bloom 

❀ What is Iron?
Iron is a mineral present in many foods. It is an essential component of haemoglobin, a red blood cell protein that helps carry oxygen from the lungs to other vital body parts. As a component of myoglobin, another oxygen-carrying protein, it supports metabolism and helps build healthy connective tissue. Vegetables, cereals, and legumes are legitimate sources of non-heme iron.

❀ Why is Iron important for humans?
Iron is a very vital mineral for children and adults alike. Babies require iron to help grow. Adolescent teens also have great requirements during their spurting years.

The average adult carries approximately 2 grammes of iron in their body, losing approximately 1 gramme each day.

❀ Major Health Benefits of Iron include:
- Helps in the formation of haemoglobin.
- Helps carry oxygen throughout the body.
- Strengthens the immune system.
- Helps tackle insomnia & anaemia.
- Helps with the body’s metabolization process.
- Boosts the brain’s cognitive abilities.
- Helps regulate body temperature.

❀ Causes of Iron Deficiency:
Despite the Earth's abundance of iron resources, iron deficiency is a major global concern today. The reason behind this is the lack of accessibility to iron-rich foods in certain parts of the world.

❀ Problems associated with Iron deficiency:
- Causes fatigue & lethargy
- Shortness of breath
- Weakened immunity
- Brief Nails
- Stress & Anxiety
- Sore muscles
- Paleness of Skin
- Chest Pain
- Headaches
- Restless Leg Syndrome

❀ Top 5 Fruits that provide Iron:

1) Tamarind (Provides 16% of Daily Needs)
Use these for curries, stir-fries, chaats, chutneys, and candy.

2) Dates (Provides 6% of Daily Needs)
Have these plain with cheese. Dates go well in desserts and also as a sweetening agent in smoothies.

3) Avocado (Provides 6% of Daily Needs)
Avocado can be used in toast, in salads, and most commonly in Mexican dishes.

4) Chickoo (Provides 6% of Daily Needs)
Sapota goes well in desserts, salads, and juices and is also dehydrated as chips.

5) Custard Apple (Provides 4% of Daily Needs)
Custard apple goes well in cold desserts and also in juices and smoothies.

❀ Top 5 Vegetables that provide Iron:

1) Lemongrass (Provides 38% of Daily Needs)
Lemongrass is a popular flavouring agent in Asian soups, curries, and tea.

2) Parsley (Provides 30% of Daily Needs)
Parsley is a popular garnish in Italian and French dishes.

3) Spinach (Provides 20% of Daily Needs)
Spinach is a popular leaf in baked dishes and also in curries, soups, salads, and stir-fries.

4) Leeks (Provides 12% of Daily Needs)
Leeks are a common stir-fry ingredient and are also baked for soups and salads.

5) Asparagus (Provides 12% of Daily Needs)
Asparagus is used in soups, baked dishes, curries, and stir-fries.

❀ How to increase Iron absorption in the body:
While it is important to eat foods rich in iron, sometimes the human body faces challenges in absorbing iron from these foods. One must remember to take vitamin C-rich foods such as orange juice, guava, lemon juice, kiwi and red cabbage. These foods, in combination with iron-rich foods, will help the body absorb nutrients better.

It is also ever so important to follow a balanced diet and exercise according to your body’s needs. By following these steps, we bid goodbye to the risk of contracting iron deficiency-related diseases.