What are the health benefits of iron?

Iron is a very important mineral for our body. It participates in the creation of hemoglobin which allows the transport of oxygen between the lungs and the different cells of the body. As iron play key health functions, it must be brought in sufficient quantity by diet.


– It promotes oxygenation of blood cells and muscles. It participates in the creation of hemoglobin and myoglobin which contributes to the transport of oxygen to all organs of the body.
– It is essential to the proper functioning of the immune system as it allows the body to better defend itself.
– It reduces fatigue.
– It is an antioxidant so it protects against cell-damaging free radicals, which are partly responsible for premature aging of the skin.


Notice : Teenagers, pregnant women, high-level athletes and people with chronic bowel disease have a higher iron requirement.


The assimilation of iron by the organism depends on the nature of the iron, and on the presence of factors influencing its absorption. There are two types of iron:

Heme iron is the most absorbed iron by the organism, the proportion of its absorption is 25%. The rest of the iron is eliminated by the body. Heme iron can be found in meat, poultry, fish and crustaceans.

Non-heme iron is absorbed at a rate of 5%. It can be found in fresh or dried fruits, vegetables and cereals.

Some factors influence the assimilation of non-heme iron. Vitamin C improves its absorption whereas the tannins contained in the tea, and the calcium inhibit it.

Tips for optimizing iron intake :
– Add a zest of lemon to your meal as the contained vitamin C improves absorption.
– Avoid tea during meals.
– Prefer dry iron-rich vegetables: lentils, dried beans …


Iron deficiency may be caused by insufficient dietary intake, a problem in iron absorption in the intestine or abnormally high iron loss.

The symptoms of this deficiency are:
– feeling tired
– pallor
– palpitations
– breathing difficulties
– dizziness

To remedy this deficiency, it will be necessary to eat foods high in iron, especially heme iron (found in meat, poultry, fish and crustaceans).

Article written by Amélie Vincent, dietitian.

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