|IronIron is useful throughout the body but it is mainly present in our blood where it is attached to a molecule known as haemoglobin. It is the presence of these haemoglobin molecules that gives us red blood cells making our blood red. People with not enough iron in their diet will suffer from a condition known as anaemia due to lack of these red blood cells. Someone who suffers from anaemia, or an anaemic, will have a pale complexion and often lack in energy. Anaemia is more common in women than men due to menstrual blood loss so women need a higher amount of iron in their diet.
Iron is found not only in meat and organ meats such as liver and kidneys but also in eggs, vegetables, cereals, pulses and fruit. Iron is especially high in Liver pate, sardines, watercress, dried apricots and surprisingly curry powder.
Iron is better absorbed when eaten with vitamin C so it is worth having a glass of orange juice with your meal. Calcium on the other hand stops out bodies absorbing iron so effectively, so avoid drinking milk with meals high in iron.
There is more calcium in the body than any other mineral, 99% of which is in our bones and teeth. The other 1% is used for clotting blood, to aid muscle movement and in the function of nerves and some enzymes.
Sodium and Chloride (Salt)
Salt is an essential part of our diet as it is present in all body fluids. However in the modern diet there is far too much salt as it is added to a lot of convenience food. The average intake of salt in the UK is 9g per day and the recommended amount is far less at only 6g a day. This may seem like a low amount but this 3g drop could help prevent heart disease, stroke and other diseases associated with high blood pressure.
Ways of Reducing Salt intake
Unfortunately if you are used to a lot of salt it can be difficult to cut down. It may help to cut down a little at a time, adding extra herbs or spices instead. Also be careful of hidden salt in products such as stock cubes and gravy. You can make your own vegetable, meat or fish stock by boiling your vegetable/meat/fish scraps and passing the liquid through a sieve. Fish heads are often used to make fish stock and for vegetable stock you can use pea pods and leek tops. This stock can then be used straight away or frozen you can also add a little corn flour to thicken it up to make gravy.