The mineral iron is essential to health. Iron is found in every cell in the body and assists with the flow of oxygen to your tissue and muscle.
About two-thirds of the body's supply of iron is embedded in hemoglobin - a protein found in red blood cells. Hemoglobin transports oxygen to tissues. Iron is also found in myoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen to the muscles. Your body is capable of storing reserves of iron for future use.
How much you should have: Females between 19 and 50 years old require slightly higher amounts of iron in their diets than their male counterparts. This may be attributed to the natural loss of blood during menstruation.
The FDA encourages women to consume about 18 milligrams of iron daily. Men of the same age need just 8 mg. After 50, both men and women need 8 mg per day.
Women who are pregnant should increase their iron intake to 27 milligrams a day. Post-birth, this number should decrease to about 9 mg.