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Iron: A Necessary Nutrient
All human beings need the mineral iron in their diets, but teenagers need even more iron than adults. Iron is one of the ingredients the body uses to make red blood cells. Teenagers need additional iron because as they grow their bodies need to produce more blood, and that means more red blood cells, along with the other elements that comprise blood.
When a person doesn’t get sufficient iron in his or her diet, a condition called iron-deficiency anemia results. Anemia is a medical term that means “not enough red blood cells.” Anemia also can be caused by a shortage of vitamin B12, because it, too, is needed to make red blood cells. But iron-deficiency anemia is much more common than the anemia caused by B12 deficiency, which is called pernicious anemia.
The two kinds of anemia have the same symptoms: feeling fatigued much of the time; getting “out of breath” easily; a pale appearance; a fast, irregular heartbeat; and a lack of appetite. These symptoms may show up very soon when a person stops getting enough iron, because the body makes red blood cells every day.
Among the foods that deliver a healthy dose of iron are kidney beans and lima beans, beef, ham, turkey (dark meat), oysters and clams, sunflower seeds, and almonds.
Iron is something everybody needs, especially teenagers. Iron makes red blood cells. If you don’t get enough iron in your diet you can get iron deficiency anemia. Anemia also can be cause by not enough B12. It can make you tired and you lose your breath. You can also lose your appetite. Symptoms will show up soon when a persn’s body isn’t making enough red blood cells.
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