Iron is a very important mineral found in every cell in the body. Iron is an essential mineral as it needs to be consumed through the diet. It is found in many food sources including dried beans and fruits, red meat, liver and iron-fortified foods. Iron plays many important roles in the body, most notably it is needed to make haemoglobin, a part of blood cells. Haemoglobin is important as it helps carry oxygen around the body. Although iron can be stored in the body, low levels of iron over a long period can lead to a deficiency in iron. Iron deficiency causes anemia, which can cause a lack in energy, weight loss and headaches. Women, long distance runners and those who frequently donate blood are most at risk of an iron deficiency. Babies and young children are also at risk for iron deficiency if they do get the right foods. Too much iron can also cause problems for the body, including hemochromatosis, an inherited disease which causes a build-up of iron.
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