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Last Updated on February 23, 2021

8 Benefits of Iron Supplements (With Sources Recommendations)

8 Benefits of Iron Supplements (With Sources Recommendations)

Iron is a mineral that many people hear a lot and plays a critical role in our bodies. A shortage of iron in our blood can lead to serious health problems including anemia. Iron is essentially the vitamin that is used to move oxygen in the blood and perform other processes in the body.

However, it’s also a vitamin that a lot of Americans lack—roughly 10 million have low iron levels, and 5 million of those have been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia.[1]

Fortunately, with iron being such an essential vitamin, there are plenty of foods out there that contain iron. Furthermore, you can look to iron supplements which can provide you with a significant boost in iron as well.

Good Sources of Iron

According to Medical News Today, men only need 8 mg of iron per day while women need between 8 and 18 mg.[2] It doesn’t sound like a lot, especially when you consider the various foods that are available that are high in iron. Some particular foods can even provide you with excess iron you’ll need for the day in one sitting.

Some food options include:

  • Canned clams – 3 ounces provides 26 mg of iron.
  • Fortified cereal oats – 100 grams provides about 25 mg.
  • White beans – one cup gives 21 mg.
  • Dark chocolate (45-69% percent cacao) – a single bar gives 13 mg.
  • Pacific oysters (cooked) – 3 ounces gives roughly 8 mg.
  • Spinach (cooked) – one cup gives 6.5 mg.
  • Others include beef liver, boiled lentils or chickpeas, firm tofu, stewed tomatoes, lean ground beef, baked potato, and roasted cashews.

But while those are some good options, another big consideration is iron supplements. The benefit of consuming iron supplements is that they still provide you with your daily intake of iron while also covering other vitamins as well. Furthermore, it removes a lot of the guesswork of what you need to get your necessary iron intake for the day.

8 Benefits of Iron Supplements

Iron preserves many of our vital functions in our body, including things like general energy, focus, immune system, and body temperature regulation. And one of the best ways to ensure you enjoy these benefits is through the various supplements available.

Here are 8 key benefits of iron supplements and why you should consider taking them.

1. Energy

As mentioned above, iron is a good source of energy. Furthermore, a lack of energy can lead to you losing focus, becoming more irritable, and lacking stamina. You can avoid all of these things by taking iron supplements to boost the amount of iron in your body and consequently, improve your energy levels.

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2. Boost Hemoglobin

The core function of iron is to carry out oxygen through the blood. It does this by forming what’s called hemoglobin—a red blood cell protein.[3] Hemoglobin is crucial because the loss of blood can happen in many ways beyond mere injury. For example, women lose blood every month during menstrual cycles. It’s for this reason that anemia is more prominent in women as they naturally require more iron in their bodies due to the loss of blood.

3. Boost Athletic Performance

Another key role that iron performs is moving oxygen through your blood and keeping everything functional. A lack of iron will cause your muscles to strain and athletic performance to decline. Even if you’re not planning to run marathons or take on physically demanding tasks, iron does improve your endurance and, therefore, your muscles.

This is important because one of the most common links to anemia is muscle weakness.[4] Furthermore, because your muscles will be stronger, this will reduce the risk of having your tissues inflamed and cause pain through your body during exercising.

4. Reduce Bruising

Along the same lines as muscle weakness, people who bruise easily could also be suffering from low iron. Bruising happens when your internal clotting system isn’t working the way it’s intended. How this system works is thanks to the hemoglobin that affects the production and function of platelets—the cells that control blood-clotting in the first place.

If you’re someone that’s bruising often, an iron supplement can help a lot since it’ll give you the necessary iron intake you’ll need to stop it.[5]

5. Boost Concentration

I also mentioned before that iron can also affect cognitive function. A lack of iron can lead to a lack of focus as there is less oxygen that’s moving through your blood system and, therefore, your brain. You will also find a lack of iron affecting your attentiveness, too.

When taking iron supplements, research shows that our overall cognitive performance improves.[6]

6. Brain/Body Detox

Another angle that you can look at is the fact that iron enzymes—found in iron supplements—will allow the brain and body to neutralize potential toxins that our body creates. Furthermore, it can neutralize pollutants and other toxins that enter from outside, too. By taking an iron supplement, you’re essentially flushing your body of various toxins from your body and prevent them from entering.

7. Healthier Sleep

Research that was published in 2015 showed that there is a link between low iron levels and sleep issues like restless sleep, sleep apnea, and insomnia.[7] Of course, keeping your iron levels at a regular level or higher will aid significantly in your ability to sleep and to prevent those sleep conditions from occurring.

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8. Boost Immunity

The final benefit of iron supplements is that they can easily boost one’s immunity. We know already that they can flush out toxins, but iron can inadvertently fight off viruses and bad bacteria in a way.

The hemoglobin that’s formed by iron supplements also plays the role of sending oxygen to necessary parts of the body to fight diseases and infections. Things like damaged cells, tissues, and organs that are needed to fight off problems get a big boost from iron. This allows them to combat and even prevent diseases and infections long-term.[8]

5 Recommendations For Iron Supplements

Now that you know just how helpful iron supplements can be, we’ve made some suggestions for iron supplements that you should try out.

1. Natural Factors Easy Iron

    The first on our list is the Natural Factors Easy Iron. These already provide you with 20 mg of iron per tablet, making it ideal for both men and women to take.

    The selling point of this particular iron though is that it’s manufactured using a unique “Super Dispersion Technology”. What this means is that taking this supplement can mitigate some of the side effects that other iron supplements can cause, such as constipation. Paired up with the fact this is a fruit-flavored chewable tablet, this means you’ll get plenty of nutrient absorption from them.

    Click here to pick up this iron supplement.

    2. Now Foods, Double Strength

      Now Foods is our second option for iron supplements, and they make for a solid option, particularly their double strength iron supplements. There are two selling points for this iron supplement.

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      First, these iron supplements provide 36 mg per capsule which is more than enough for any person. Their regular is 18 mg usually. Second, the iron that’s used is Ferrochel Iron Bisglycinate. According to the company, this means this type of iron is clinically demonstrated as iron that will have superior absorption, and the body will tolerate it better since it’s gentle and non-constipating.

      Pick up Now Food’s Double Strength iron supplements here.

      3. Solgar, Chelated Iron

        Another consideration to get your iron supplements is from Solgar’s Chelated Iron. From the start, the company offers the most tablets at 100 per bottle (Now Foods offers 90 and Natural Factor offers 60). Furthermore, they’ve ensured their supplements are Non-GMO, gluten-free, wheat and dairy-free, and kosher.

        Beyond that, these iron supplements are still easy on the stomach and offer 25 mg per tablet. These are ideal for those looking to have more iron supplements in their medicine cabinet or those who are Vegan.

        Try out Solgar’s Chelated Iron here.

        4. Thorne Research, Iron Bisglycinate

          Thorne Research’s iron supplements are more focused on the athletic types due to the creation of the iron that the company made. Their iron is specifically geared towards athletes as the particular formation of red blood cells allows someone to perform better in sports. It’s for this reason why Thorne Research’s iron supplements are NSF Certified by Sport compared to other iron supplements.

          Beyond that, these supplements provide 25 mg of iron and are made from Iron Bisglycinate, making it easy for absorption, gentler on the stomach, and is non-constipation.

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          Purchase Thorne Research’s iron supplements here.

          5. Nature’s Bounty

            The last recommendation on our list of iron supplements is Nature’s Bounty. Each tablet provides you with 28 mg of iron, and like the others on this list is made of the same gentle iron for great absorption. The unique selling point about these particular tablets goes beyond their slightly higher dosage of iron. They also contain other vitamins such as Folic Acid, Vitamin B-12, and Vitamin C.

            Buy Nature’s Bounty’s iron supplements here.

            Final Thoughts

            Iron is an essential part of our bodies, and while there are many foods out there that provide us with good iron sources, iron supplements can sometimes be the cheaper and better alternative.

            Many iron supplements have various benefits and are a cut above other iron supplements on the market. I hope that you take the recommendations to heart and consider purchasing one of the supplements above as it removes the guesswork of whether you’ve taken in enough iron for the day.

            More About Iron Supplement

            Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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            Last Updated on March 2, 2021

            10 Quick and Healthy Lunch Ideas That Fit Your Busy Schedule

            10 Quick and Healthy Lunch Ideas That Fit Your Busy Schedule

            In today’s society we are all overworked, pressed for time, and stressed. We all want to be healthier, and most people make a concerted effort by eating better, moving more, and getting to bed earlier. But if you’re like me, it’s an uphill battle, especially if you don’t know where to find healthy lunch ideas.

            How often do you find yourself working through lunch? And when you do get a chance to eat, you have to scurry to the nearest market or take-out spot, grab something barely edible, only to scarf it down in front of your computer screen. I know the dilemma—you have to eat to keep your brain functioning, and quick and healthy options during lunch madness are pretty scarce.

            The answer to this dilemma is simple: pack a lunch. It really is the best option for busy people who skip lunch, are crunched for time, and who have “working lunches” frequently.

            Benefits of Making Your Own Lunch

            The benefits of bringing your own lunch from home are numerous. Here are just a few:

            1. You can track and control your nutrients.
            2. You can prevent yourself from over-eating and consuming large, calorie-dense meals.
            3. You save money.
            4. You have more time to actually eat your lunch.

            It’s easy to feel convinced that it’s a good idea to bring your own lunch to work. However, now comes the issue of what to pack. The time saver in you—once you do make it to the grocery store—will try and talk you into buying a bunch of prepackaged, processed mess. You’ll have to fight these instincts to build in the new habit of preparing your own meals.

            If you need help boosting your motivation to start this new habit, check out Lifehack’s Ultimate Worksheet for Instant Motivation Boost. It will help you tap into your reasons for doing what you do and help you find a “why” for making your own healthy lunches.

            To get you started, here are 10 easy, healthy lunch ideas that you can make in a short amount of time.

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            10 Quick and Healthy Lunch Ideas

            1. Quinoa Veggie Bowl

            Mexican-Quinoa-Bowl

               

              Toss together your choice of fresh or cooked vegetables with cooked quinoa, fresh herbs, and a dressing such as tahini, apple cider vinegar, cashew, cheese, or mashed avocado. Quinoa is an amazing grain that is full of protein, fiber, and antioxidants, so it’s a great addition to any meal.

              The quinoa and veggies can be cooked the night before, making this the perfect lunch for when you know you’ll have to get up and go the next morning.

              Get the recipe here!

              2. Buddha Bowls

              Protein-Packed Buddha Bowl Recipe by Tasty
                Buddha bowls are one of the most versatile lunches you can make and top the list of many easy recipes. They can be altered depending on your favorite sources of protein and the tastiest vegetables sitting in your fridge. If you’re looking for health lunch ideas, look no further!They often consist of a base of rice, quinoa, or another healthy grain. The next layer is built with two to three vegetables and a protein. You can even add hard boiled eggs! If you like mixing and matching depending on what’s available, this is the perfect healthy lunch recipe for you. For extra flavor, many choose to make a healthy sauce to top it all off, which usually uses soy sauce or olive oil as its base.Get the recipe here!

                3. Grilled Chicken Veggie Bowls

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                Veggie-bowls
                  This recipe is quick, simple, and to the point. If you’re a chicken fan, you use this as your base and build around it using your favorite vegetables. If you’re not sure where to start, you can try using sweet potatoes and green beans, or even adding rice. Using different spices for each day, you can have different variations of this meal all week without boring your taste buds to death.Get the recipe here!

                  4. Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup

                  Best Slow-Cooker Split Pea Soup Recipe - How To Make Slow-Cooker Split Pea Soup
                    If you know you’ve got a busy week ahead of you and are looking for quick and healthy lunch ideas, put this soup at the top of your list of healthy meals. Let it cook in the slow cooker Sunday evening, and you have a week’s worth of healthy lunches to keep you going.

                    Full of protein-packed peas and healthy vegetables, this soup is filling and delicious at the same time.

                    Get the recipe here!

                    5. Chickpea Salad Sandwich

                    UltimateChickpeaSaladSandwich1

                      Meatless Mondays aren’t just for Mondays anymore! Go meatless for a week by prepping the chickpea filling for this sandwich and bringing a little to work each day. Have some bread waiting at your desk, and you have a quick and healthy lunch that won’t take time away from your break.

                      Get the recipe here!

                      6. Steak Fajita Salad

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                      Fajita salad

                        This salad is full of vitamin-filled vegetables and contains all the amazing flavors of a fajita, making it one of the best healthy lunch ideas. It’s topped off with a creamy cilantro-lime dressing that will feel new and fresh each time you eat it.

                        Get the recipe here!

                        7. Pesto Pasta

                        Pesto Pasta

                          This is a delightfully light, yet filling meal that will definitely add a twist to the working lunch. It’s packed with roasted tomatoes and asparagus, adding another dimension to an already delicious pesto pasta. Make it for dinner the night before and use the leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

                          Get the recipe here!

                          8. Spinach Artichoke Turkey Panini

                          If you’re a fan of spinach artichoke dip, you’ll love this easy panini. It includes Greek yogurt, which will offer an extra dose of protein and combine well with the flavors of the turkey and spinach. Everything combines to create filling sandwich that’s the perfect alternative to the traditional ham sandwich that you often find strewn on your coworkers’ desks.

                          Get the recipe here!

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                          9. Chicken Lettuce Wraps

                          This Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe is easy to make and has incredible flavor!

                            These are favorites at Chinese restaurants, and now you can make them as a quick and healthy lunch ideas in your own home! Use large leafy green lettuce leaves as a nutrient-rich alternative to a regular wrap. This recipe calls for ground chicken, but you can use ground turkey, lentils, black beans, or any other protein to fill your lettuce.

                            Prepare the filling on a Sunday evening, and you’ll have your lunch ready to go for several days.

                            Get the recipe here!

                            10. Mason Jar Ramen

                            This Mason Jar Ramen Recipe Will Forever Change Your Lunch Game

                              Forget boring, sodium-packed, store-bought ramen. This homemade ramen is stored in mason jars, making it amazingly easy to just pull out of the fridge before you head off to work. It also includes kimchi, Korean fermented vegetables, which is full of probiotics that will help you digestion[1]. This is truly one of the best quick and healthy lunch ideas for a busy lifestyle.

                              Get the recipe here!

                              The Bottom Line

                              Don’t let your busy lifestyle impede your progress towards gaining optimal health. Healthy lunch ideas can help keep you focused, prevent the 3 PM energy slump, boost your mood, and save you time and money in the long run. Learning how to meal prep is a process as it’s a new habit you’ll have to form, but once you’ve learned it, life will be a great deal easier.

                              More Healthy Lunch Ideas

                              Featured photo credit: Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis via unsplash.com

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