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Seafood like oysters and clams are a good source of iron for men.
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The average American male is most likely consuming enough iron regularly, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A man's body needs adequate iron in order for the hemoglobin contained in red blood cells to carry oxygen, for proper immune system function and to produce enzymes, including ones that assist with DNA synthesis and others that act as antioxidants. Men who don't get enough iron may be more likely to develop anemia and recurrent infections, though it's also dangerous for a man to consume too much iron regularly.
Recommended Daily Intake
The Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board says that adult men who are 19 years old or more need at least 8 milligrams of iron each day. This amount is less than half of the iron required by women between 19 and 50 years old, and three times less than the amount of iron needed daily by a pregnant woman. The tolerable upper intake level of iron for men over 19 years old is 45 milligrams per day. This means that a man can consume up to 45 milligrams of iron regularly each day without experiencing adverse side effects.
A man can easily reach his recommended daily allowance of iron by including iron-rich foods in his daily diet. A 1-cup serving of iron-fortified, ready-to-eat breakfast cereal contains nearly 19 grams of iron, well over a male's RDA. A 3-ounce serving of clams or oysters also provides a man with at least 100 percent of his iron needs. Other foods that provide 20 percent or more of a man's daily iron requirement per serving include 1 cup of cooked white beans or lentils and 1 cup of cooked spinach.
Increasing Your Iron Absorption
Your iron levels aren't just about how much iron you get - it's also about how much you can absorb. Some forms of iron, like the type found in plant-derived foods, aren't as easily absorbed as the iron in meat, and you should take advantage of food pairings to maximize absorption. Serve plant-derived sources of iron with foods rich in vitamin C -- like red peppers, strawberries or watermelon -- to boost iron absorption. Or try eating iron-rich foods along with a bit of meat, since the present of animal-derived iron boosts all iron absorption.
While women are more likely to not get enough iron regularly since they lose the mineral during menstruation, men are more likely to suffer from excess iron. When you consume more iron than you need -- such as by overconsuming supplements -- it is stored by the body in organs like your heart, pancreas and liver. That's why you should see your doctor before taking supplemental iron to get the proper recommended dose.