The recommended daily value of iron for men between 18 and 50 years old is 8 mg, while the recommended daily value for women of the same age is 18 mg. This is why women tend to be more iron deficient than men—they simply require more of it all around, and even more so when pregnant.
Aside from avoiding anemia, eating plenty of iron (or iron and vitamin C) helps the kidneys function properly, maintains healthy pregnancies, and plays an essential role in red blood cell functioning. More specifically, iron makes up about 70% of hemoglobin, a red blood cell that helps oxygen transfer throughout the body.
For meat-eaters, getting enough lean proteins and seafood in the diet is important. For plant-based eaters, getting enough beans, nuts, seeds, and grains in the diet—while also adding a vitamin C source—can help prevent these unwanted health issues related to iron deficiency.
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