Iron is vital to health, and too little in your diet might lead to heart disease, European researchers report. They said about 1 in 10 new cases of heart disease in middle-aged people might be prevented if they had sufficient levels of iron in their diets.
“Our findings are based on an observational study and can therefore only report on associations, not on causality,” said lead researcher Dr. Benedikt Schrage.
“This being said, our findings indicate that iron deficiency might be a suitable target for preventive measures in the general population and support the conduction of trials which explore the efficacy of iron supplementation in individuals with functional iron deficiency,” said Schrage, of the general and interventional cardiology department at University Medical Center in Hamburg, Germany.
The connection between iron deficiency and heart disease isn’t clear. But iron is essential for equilibrium in the body and energy metabolism, which might be a potential link, Schrage said. People who are deficient in iron usually don’t consume enough of the mineral in their diet or can’t process the iron they do get, he said. Iron-rich foods include meat; poultry; eggs; seafood, including tuna, scallops and shrimp; vegetables such as spinach and sweet potatoes, and beans, according to the American Red Cross. Other good dietary sources include enriched breads and pasta, and fruits like strawberries and watermelon.
Excerpted from U.S. News