Monday, December 29, 2008

Iron benefits

Iron is an essential constituent of hemoglobin and myoglobin, two proteins that store and transport oxygen. You find hemoglobin in red blood cells (it’s what makes them red). Myoglobin (myo = muscle) is in muscle tissue. Iron also is part of various enzymes.
Your best food sources of iron are organ meats (liver, heart, kidneys), red meat, egg yolks, wheat germ, and oysters. These foods contain heme (heme = blood) iron, a form of iron that your body can easily absorb. Whole grains, wheat germ, raisins, nuts, seed, prunes and prune juice, and potato skins contain nonheme iron. Because plants contain substances called phytates, which bind this iron into compounds, your body has a hard time getting at the iron. Eating plant foods with meat or with foods that are rich in vitamin C (like tomatoes) increases your ability to split away the phytates and get iron out of plant foods.

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