Iron is essential to our overall well-being. Iron helps in the transport of oxygen to all the cells in our body. It is what gives our blood its dark red color. Yet many people in the world are iron deficient. Women in particular are more prone to anemia. In most cases, an iron supplement can help remove the deficiency. But iron is quite difficult for the body to absorb. In fact, most of the iron found in the food we eat ends up being excreted out of our system. When taking an iron supplement in the form of ferrous sulphate, the body only absorbs three to ten percent of the mineral. The excess is what may cause sid effects; too much iron in your system may result in constipation, abdominal pain, severe nausea, or diarrhea with blood. Regularly overdosing on iron may also increase the risk of certain cancers and Parkinson's disease.
Natural iron supplements are easier on the stomach since they contain a low dose of iron, meaning less of the excess to worry about. There are several natural ways of increasing your daily intake of iron by using natural iron supplements.
- Blackstrap molasses. Blackstrap molasses has a high iron content. This makes it the perfect medium to overcome anemia in a holistic manner. Besides getting the iron benefits, blackstrap molasses are also high in magnesium, calcium, potassium and other trace elements that help stabilize blood sugar levels. A safe preventive dose for adults is to take a teaspoon of blackstrap molasses per day. Children ages 7 to 13 years old will need only a teaspoon of blackstrap molasses three times a week.
- Minerals that increase iron absorption. There are many minerals that help the body absorb more iron. Such absorption helpers include fructose, lactic acid, malic acid and Vitamin C. Fructose is fruit sugar. You can get this from eating lots of fruits. Fruits are also a good source of malic acid. Lactic acid can be found in milk and yogurt products. In fact, Vitamin C is the most essential body supplement when it comes to getting the best out of an iron diet. Foods that are rich in Vitamin C include guavas, blackcurrants, bell peppers, parsley and brussel sprouts.
- Iron-rich food. The best way to get your natural iron supplement is to eat food that is rich in the said mineral. Kelp is rich in dietary iron, containing 100mg per 100 grams. Other iron-rich food includes curry powder, cooked cockles, brewers yeast, pumpkin seeds and fortified breakfast cereals.
- Other iron supplements. It was said earlier that the body only absorbs three to ten person of the iron in ferrous sulphate. Ferrous sulphate is said to be a non-haem supplement. Haem iron supplements are better since the iron absorbed by the body can be up to 35%. A well known haem supplement is the Flordix Iron Supplement, an herbal tincture that is high in natural iron.
When using any iron supplement, always follow the directions for the suggested dosage. Consult with your doctor if you feel that you need more that what is prescribed on the bottle. Children are very susceptible to iron poisoning - never give a child iron supplements without contacting your doctor first.