Iron: we often hear about it and it is present in most food supplements. But what is it for? Is it really essential? Or find it easily? And above all, what are the benefits of iron on our hair? Like every week, Madam President zooms in and gives you all the information on this essential nutrient. Let's start!
Iron: our best friend
We are told everywhere: iron is essential to our body. But what is it really? We will find out!
Iron ... or irons?
There are actually two main types of irons: iron heme, found in meat, fish and seafood, and iron non-heme, mainly present in plants, eggs and dairy products (but you will also find it in foods of animal origin). Far from being opposites, they are complementary and the ideal is to consume both, but they are not assimilated in the same way (we tell you about them just below, patience!).
But what exactly is iron? Because no, no metal in your blood! The iron is a trace element, that is to say that it is present in the organism in a trace state, up to approximately 0.005 %. Clearly not enough to trigger a metal detector! In addition, it is not synthesized by the body, that is to say that we are obliged to consume it to provide the necessary quantity to our body.
If anemia is quite rare in men, nearly half of adult women are iron deficient ... That is a good number of people! This anemia is common from the onset of menstruation and until menopause, because it is often linked to regular menstrual bleeding (the more bleeding, the greater the risk of anemia). But other factors exist! Thus, pregnancy and breastfeeding are times when women need a very large amount of iron.
Likewise, the vegetarian diet sometimes promotes anemia. You understood it, but it has been said again: non-heme iron, present in foods of plant origin, is less easily assimilated than heme iron present in meat and fish. 5 % absorption rate for the first against 20 to 25 % for the second! In addition, the amounts present in vegetables and other plants are less important than in meat, which again explains that iron supplementation is sometimes necessary for vegetarians.
How to take advantage of the benefits of iron?
In case of supplementation, the best of the best is to consume the iron a quarter of an hour before the meal, with a large glass of water. It will thus be better absorbed and you will benefit from all its benefits. But this nutrient is sometimes poorly tolerated and can in particular create stomach aches. It must then be taken during the meal: it will still be very effective!
Bonus: vitamin C greatly promotes iron absorption. Abuse therefore citrus fruits, which are full of them, but also vegetables and salads. Be careful, however, consume them during the meal following your supplement intake to benefit from this vitamin boost!
Other small tips : Do not drink tea or coffee in the hour before or after taking your supplement. The tannin they contain reduces assimilation, and therefore the benefits of iron. But after this hour of vigilance, you can give yourself to your heart's content! * Similarly, some studies indicate that the calcium in yogurt reduces iron absorption. In case of deficiency, we are therefore careful not to include yogurt in the meal following the iron intake!
Finally, because things are done right, the heme iron in a meal increases the uptake of non-heme iron ingested at the same meal. The latter being less well absorbed than the first, it is quite beneficial: we had told you that they were complementary! So don't hesitate to combine foods rich in different irons in the same dish: long live lentils and sausages!
* If you have an iron deficiency, however, seek medical advice before drinking tea or coffee: it would be a shame to ruin a cure for this little moment of pleasure (easily replaced by chocolate).
The benefits of iron on hair and body
We tell you often: iron is vital. Yes but why ? Because the benefits of iron don't stop with the hair! Let's do a quick inventory.
Iron: our body's superhero
Iron is essential for the functioning of our body. Yes, our whole body! All our cells need it because it is involved in the transport of oxygen in the blood and in the formation of the latter in the body. To be more precise, iron is used in the constitution of hemoglobin (which is responsible for the red color of the blood), and it is the latter which diffuses oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body (organs and tissues). . Likewise, iron has an essential role in the formation of myoglobin, which participates in the oxygen reserves in the muscles. In summary :
Thus, a person with anemia will be tired, pale… and will have cold feet and hands more quickly! This essential role in oxygenation also explains the shortness of breath that sometimes accompanies iron deficiency.
Iron is also essential for the synthesis of certain neurotransmitters (notably adrenaline: “the hormone of happiness”!) And of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body's primary source of energy. In short, we have said it before: no iron, no energy!
Finally, as you can imagine, given its importance, the presence of iron is associated with an effective immune system and the good progress of the pregnancy.
What about the benefits of iron on hair?
In addition to all these benefits, iron also strengthens skin, hair and nails (and this is what interests us today, we have not forgotten!) ... By participating in their good oxygenation and their nutrition. Yes, everything is linked!
Thus, a deficiency can be the reason for fine and brittle hair, and a more important fall. Iron therefore gives the hair strength, shine, vitality. It also strengthens the hair bulb, which limits hair loss… In short, a new essential nutrient for beautiful hair (yes, there are a lot of them).
As we have said, the body cannot create iron and we must therefore provide it with food. Our body is intelligent and adapts the rate of iron absorption to its available reserves: iron will thus be better absorbed when reserves are low and, conversely, less absorbed when they are high. Thus, the risk of deficiency is limited ... And the risk ofexcess also, because the latter can be toxic. But don't panic, unless you combine several iron cures with a classic diet, you will run no risk!
And because we like to simplify your life, top 10 foods rich in iron : clams, pork, the lamb, the soy beans, oysters, white beans, tofu, whole sesame seeds, unrefined whole grains, spinach… And as a bonus, lentils, of course!
Consume iron: our recipe idea
We know that your ministerial schedule leaves you neither time to think, nor time to cook. We have therefore prepared for you a great recipe rich in iron, ready in less than 30 minutes!
Iron-rich spaghetti bolognese
Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 15 minutes. For 2 people :
- 75 g baby spinach
- 140 g of tomato sauce
- 150 g of minced meat (or tofu, for vegetarians and vegans!)
- 150 g of spaghetti
- 1 red onion
- salt, pepper, sugar
How to do it :
- Cook your pasta in salted boiling water and drain them. Be careful, they must not be overcooked, because cooking will continue thereafter.
- Brown the chopped onion.
- Add the meat (or tofu) to it and let it cook until it has browned and returned its water (of course, the tofu does not release water).
- Add the tomato sauce.
- Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the spinach leaves, salt, pepper… And a pinch of sugar for flavor!
- Mix with your spaghetti, and enjoy!
Of course, you can decorate your bolognese with the spices and aromatics that make you want, the combinations are endless!
In summary: iron is the superhero of our body since it participates in particular in its oxygenation. Of course, we were not able to develop here all the benefits of iron on the hair and its essential role for the body ... This health passport file tells you everything !
If food is essential, food supplements can also help maintain a good level of iron in the body: so do not hesitate! Enhance your hair (and your skin, and your nails) with Hair boost, our gummies fortified with iron! And for the special needs of pregnant women, we have created Mama ! In short, there is something for everyone!
Small disclamer all the same, anemia requires medical monitoring: do not play with your health 🙏
So, did you know that iron is so important?