ad info

CNNin
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 ASIANOW
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
 NATURE
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
   recipes
   news
   restaurants
   resources
 HEALTH
 STYLE
 IN-DEPTH

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 TIME INC. SITES:
 MORE SERVICES:
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines
 pointcast
 pagenet

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

 SITE GUIDES:
 help
 contents
 search

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 WEB SERVICES:
Quick Facts

I R O N


What is iron?

Iron is a metal. Trace amounts of it are in your body, usually combined with protein. It is a part of your blood cells, and without it, your body can't make hemoglobin or myoglobin, which carry oxygen in the blood to muscles.


How much do nutritionists recommend that I consume every day?

The current Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for iron are 15 mg/day for women of childbearing years, and 10 mg/day for men and post menopausal women. Children under six months old should have no more than 6 mg daily.


Can I consume too much iron?

Yes. When adults take iron supplements following the directions on the label, the supplements are generally safe. However, small children and toddlers can get iron poisoning from the supplements -- from 1986 through 1992, reports that more than 110,000 children under 6 accidentally swallowed iron tablets were made to Poison Control Centers. They had swallowed as few as five tablets, and as many as 98. Thirty-three of the children died.

Children with iron poisoning may immediately suffer nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and intestinal hemorrhaging, leading to coma and death. If they survive, they may still develop hemorrhaging, liver damage, heart failure and coma up to two days later, and liver damage may appear up to six weeks after the poisoning.

In addition, some people suffer from hemochromatosis, also known as "iron overload disease." Iron overload patients do not process iron properly; instead, excess iron is stored in their organs, where it eventually causes heart and liver disease and other problems. The symptoms of the disease can be alleviated by donating blood periodically.

For more information, see a special series about iron overload from the CNN Medical Unit: Part 1 and Part 2


What foods are high in iron?

People suffering from iron-deficiency anemia may be fatigued, have shortness of breath, get headaches often, and be irritable. However, they can often raise their blood iron levels by eating more high-iron foods. Iron sources that have high iron availability include oysters, liver and other organ meats, lean red meat, tuna, and eggs (especially egg yolks). .

Other foods, including molasses, dried beans, dried fruits and dark leafy green vegetables, also contain iron but it is less easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

Some foods lower iron absorption, including soy protein, bran, and fiber. Commercial black or pekoe teas also contain substances that bind to iron so it cannot be used by the body. Consuming Vitamin C, meanwhile, helps increase the amount of iron your body absorbs.



Some vegetables high in iron

ITEM SERVING CALOR. FAT FIBER PROT. IRON
BEANS, KIDNEY 1 cup
612
1.5
45g
43g
15mg
BEANS, LIMA 1 cup
601
1g
33g
38g
13mg
PEAS, CHICK 1 cup
728
12g
35g
38.5g
12.5mg
SPINACH 1 bunch
75
1
9g
9.5g
9mg
BEANS, SOY 1 cup
376
17g
11g
33g
9mg
BROCCOLI 1 bunch
170
2g
18g
18g
5mg
CABBAGE 1 med. head
227
2.5g
21g
13g
5mg
Source: USDA - Nutrient Data Lab (Sept. 1996)
All Data is based on raw vegetables - rounded to nearest 0.5

SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

  
 

Back to the top
© 2000 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.