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Iron is an essential mineral for a healthy diet and is vital in the formation and function of red blood cells, which deliver oxygen to every part of the body. Adult males require about 8 mg of iron each day, while women require about 18. Lack of iron can cause fatigue, sluggishness, and impaired cognitive function. People who are chronically deficient in iron can develop anemia. The most common sources of iron are animal proteins, especially beef, but even people who do not eat meat can get enough iron from their diet without resorting to supplements.

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1. Red Meat

Just 3.5 ounces of ground beef delivers about 2.7 mg of iron. Red meat is also rich in B vitamins, zinc, and other trace minerals essential for good health. Various studies indicate regular meat eaters are much less likely to develop iron deficiency than vegetarians. Liver, especially beef liver, is the most iron-rich meat, and lean cuts are always better for cardiovascular health than fattier choices.

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