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Iron

Ever since Popeye started shilling for spinach, iron has been synonymous with health and strength. This has some medical foundation; iron allows the red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. A deficiency results in anemia, which is characterized by pallid skin and fatigue.

These days, though, iron is everywhere. Pregnant mothers take supplements. Formulas are reinforced with iron. Babies are fed iron-rich cereals. I think this iron overkill is silly. A balanced diet provides plenty of iron, not only from red meat but also from broccoli, chicken, chocolate, potato skins, beans, peas, and of course spinach. Doctors generally screen babies for iron deficiency around the first birthday.

Still not sure Jimmy’s getting enough iron? Here’s a simple test. Take a look at his cheeks and fingertips. If they’re pink and he has normal energy, his iron levels are almost certainly fine.