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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:47 pm
Iron (EYE-urn) is one of the most abundant materials in nature, and it's a substance essential to normal body structure and function. Iron is one of the major components of hemoglobin (HEE-muh-globe-un), the oxygen-carrying component in the blood. Iron strengthens the immunesystem and increases resistance to colds, infections, and disease. Some food sources that are high in iron are meat, fish, eggs, dried fruits, nuts, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, and dried fruits. Although meat and eggs are high in saturated fat, the form of iron found in meats is more easily absorbed than that in plants. Cooking in pots made of iron adds iron to foods prepared in them. Iron deficiency can result in anemia (uh-NEE-me-uh), which can cause weakness, fatigue, and headache, as well as learning problems in schoolchildren. People who bleed from ulcers, nosebleeds, or heavy menstruation also may develop anemia. For more information about your need for iron, contact a healthcare professional.

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