Iron is a well known mineral and is essential to all forms of animal and plant life. Our body regulates its use, carefully storing it in body cells to prevent the iron forming free radicals which could damage other cells and also to stop invading bacteria from reaching it, since they would feed off it and infections would spread faster. A lack of iron in our diet can cause anaemia and symptoms include tiredness, lack of stamina, headaches and pallor. In the body iron is essential for producing haemoglobin and other proteins, needed for making red blood cells that are responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the cells and transporting electrons. Shellfish, red meats – especially liver – and green leafy vegetables are good sources, although we also get iron from beans, lentils, wholemeal bread and a range of other foods.
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