Minerals

Iron

Iron is a very important element in biology, forming complexes with oxygen in haemoglobin and myoglobin. These two complexes are crucial for oxygen transportation around the body. In addition, many enzymes vital to life contain iron (for example catalase, lipoxygenase).

A little background information

Iron is a minor mineral, a transition element, qualified in nutrition as a trace element due to its low quantitative importance, although it is vital for
the body.

Its role in the body

Iron is the essential constituent in haemoglobin, the pigment that transports oxygen in the red blood cells, and of myoglobin, which does the same job
in the muscles (explaining the red colour of blood and muscle). It also has many enzymatic functions, especially with respect to cellular respiration.

Natural sources

Particularly rich sources of dietary iron include meat, lentils, beans, poultry, fish, leafy vegetables, water cress, tofu, chickpeas, black eyed peas and black strap molasses.