The Consumption of iron based on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Standard Reference

As one of the most common elements in the world and inside the human body, iron is known for its contributions in the functioning of the human body as well as its importance of warding off diseases in from it.

However, just like in everything else, an excess or deficiency of it can be the precursor to diseases that can become the cause of the demise of one’s ability to do normal physical and mental tasks and activities or worse, it may hasten the death of one person.

It is due to these circumstances that a person must monitor the amount of iron that he or she lets in his or her body so that the possibility of having any illness can be prevented. There is indeed a tool that can help people who need to consider these factors.

This tool, known as the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference for Iron, is fully capable of helping because of the richness of its data, convenience, and reliability. It is a database that has been written and revised for decades already and individuals, as well as public and private organizations, can easily access and scrutinize its contents and use it to develop products.

The United States Department of Agriculture

With so much food and drinks that are available for consumption, there is a need for public and private organizations around the world to keep tabs on their contents, whether or not these are healthy or unhealthy substances.

Consumers need to know what they are buying and putting in their bodies so that they can make informed decisions to push through with these activities or not. This is an important endeavor since there are a lot of illnesses that can be contracted by children and adults alike in the short-term and long-term based on the things they eat or drink.

An example of a government agency that does this is the United States Department of Agriculture, which is commonly known as the Agriculture Department in America. It is the organization formed in 1862 by former President Abraham Lincoln that works for food safety, food security and food research.

As a federal institution, its authority transcends all of the states and other territories of the United States of America. All of its initiatives have far-reaching consequences, where it is helping farmers grow their produce or working on reforestation programs.

A noteworthy initiative of the agency is its disbursement of funds that amounted to a total of $4.7B to American farmers to offset the losses they incurred due to new tariffs placed on their products due to the political climate in 2018.

These payments come in grants and not loans so as not to put additional burdens on farmers as they lose revenue due to retaliatory international laws against the different fruits and vegetables they produce on their lands as well as meat that was exported in different countries around the world.

A variety of laws and mandates have made the Agricultural Department what it is today and it is currently led by Sonny Perdue, who has the title of Secretary of Agriculture. He took office in 2017 as an appointee of President Donald Trump and American senators from the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry approved of his appointment that year.

Its office is called the Jamie L. Whitten Building and it can be located at Independence Avenue in Washington D.C. Stephen Censky is the agency’s deputy secretary and he also took office in 2017.

The National Nutrient Database

One of the Agriculture Department’s projects is the National Nutrient Database. It is a file that is easily accessible to the common man or woman thanks to its availability on the internet due to its promulgation on different websites.

Primarily, though, these files can be found at FoodData Central, the new branding of this initiative, which holds information about these nutrients, minerals and other substances and how much concentration they have in the daily meals and beverages that people take in.

It is a database that the Agricultural Research Service manages while it is hosted by the National Agricultural Library. It contains information about the number of certain substances and minerals in different food and drinks so that consumers can easily know these things before they can purchase and put these contents inside their bodies.

This initiative was brought to life as a means to record changes in agricultural processes, the evolution of nutrients, research, food supply and to help manufacturers, farmers and other agricultural and industrial entities easily scan, examine and data that can help them develop new products and even shorten processes to hasten the production of different food and their ingredients.

The volume of information is so wide that the people behind it have to form different segments to properly organize the data. These classifications are Foundation Foods, Experimental Foods, Standard Reference, Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies and USDA Global Branded Food Products Database.

First of all, the Foundation Foods are the products that consumers can easily find around them such as in convenience stores, mini-marts, groceries, supermarkets, and wet markets. Because of their widespread availability, the Agriculture Department has data about their production, the ingredients, and substances within them, where their samples are from and their amounts and the process behind their making.

Next is the Experimental Foods. If the Foundation Foods are available commercially then the Experimental Foods classification is those meals, ingredients, and nutrients that are currently under analysis and experimentation by different experts and organizations that have a vested interested in the development of certain food and even drinks like research purposes, manufacturing new products and modifying current food.

These are the ones currently under observation and that data about their manufacturing, experimental circumstances and geographical characteristics, which may affect the substances that go inside the human body. There is no word as to when these foods can be available for public consumption but when they are, they become part of the Foundation Foods.

If the first two aforementioned types are those that bridge the present towards the future, these next three segments are those that are widely known and used by different experts and organizations for some time now.

The first of these is the Standard Reference. This is a database of information that has been developed in America for decades. It contains data that has helped public and private organizations develop food because of its completeness in terms of the values it has of nutrients and food components in products that are currently available for consumers in their nearby retailers.

Secondly, the Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies provides data about the number of nutrients and their concentration in food and beverages for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey’s project that is called What We Eat in America.

Thirdly, the USDA Global Branded Food Products Database primarily comes from private organizations to aid in the transparency efforts of letting the public know about nutrients and their concentration in the food industry’s products. These outputs are heavily standardized so that they can cater to the industry’s players for the sake of the consumers, market research initiatives and labeling of products.

Iron in the Standard Reference

For this article, a sample of data from Standard Reference that involves the chemical element of Iron is involved. It is an element that can be found in the human body, which has the primary role of transporting oxygen throughout the different parts of the body.

But then too much of it can lead to health issues that may hamper the body from the fulfillment of certain functions and physical movements like arthritis as well as the proliferation of cancer cells in the body, which may lead to fatal consequences like liver problems, diabetes, and heart failure.

It is due to these considerations that people must first take note of the amount of iron that can be found in different foods and beverages so that they have the capability of monitoring their iron intake to either increase or decrease it depending on their physiological needs.

This is where the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, particularly the Release 24 edition, comes in. It contains in comprehensive detail the amount of iron that can be consumed in different foods and drinks as well as their numerous variations. The measurements entailed of iron are in grams, ounces and per common measure.

The 27-page list, which has its contents listed in alphabetical order, is so comprehensively detailed that a wide range of fast food meals is included in the tally.

Meals such as seven different types of cheeseburgers, breaded and fried chicken, chicken fillet sandwiches, chili con carne, chimichanga, clams, coleslaw, croissant, danish pastries, enchilada, English muffins, fish sandwiches, french toasts with sticks or butter, frijoles with cheese, double or single hamburgers with regular or large patties and condiments, hotdogs, nachos, onion rings, pancakes, potatoes, roast beef sandwiches, salads, submarine sandwiches, hot fudge sundaes, tacos with beef, tostadas and vanilla cones.

For instance, alcoholic beverages have so many variations that are available for public consumption that these products have their amount of iron in them. Light beer has 354 grams of iron in it while the regular version as 355 grams. Daiquiri, a cocktail, has 60 grams while distilled drinks such as gin, rum, vodka, and whiskey have 42 grams.

Wine, regardless if it is dry, sweet, red or white, consistently has 103 grams. When it comes to non-alcoholic drinks, apple juice, specifically a variant that is canned or bottled, unsweetened and with no ascorbic acid, has 248 grams worth of iron in it.

Apple, it seems, consistently has high amounts of iron in it. One of the products that come out of the fruit, applesauce, contains 255 and 244 grams of the element for the sweetened and without salt and unsweetened and without ascorbic acid variants respectively.

When it comes to food, then one of the physical products that people can consume to gradually and tremendously increase their iron content in their bodies is beans. In the Standard Reference for Iron, 17 variants of these deliver at least 100 grams of the said element in the body and a few of them and their characteristics are to be stated in this article.

Plain or vegetarian beans that are canned and baked have 254 grams of iron; canned beans, backed and with franks have 259 grams; beans that have pork and sweet sauce and are canned and baked have 253 grams, which is the same amount for beans that are baked, canned, with pork and tomato sauce.

Beans that consist of black, mature seeds that are cooked and boiled and without salt have 172 grams of iron; great northern beans that are mature seeds, cooked, boiled and without salt have 177 grams; red kidney beans, mature seeds, canned solids, and liquids have 256 grams.

Red kidney beans, mature seeds, cooked, boiled and without salt have 177 grams of iron; navy beans that have mature seeds, cooked and boiled without salt have 182 grams of iron; pinto beans that have mature seeds are cooked and boiled without salt has 171 grams.

Snap beans that are green, canned or frozen, regularly packed, cooked and boiled and have drained solids without salt have 135 grams of iron each. In between them in the list, snap beans that have a yellow color that is cooked, boiled and drained without salt have 125 grams of iron.

Aside from beans, food that contains high levels of iron in them are yogurts. Fruit yogurts that are low fat contain 227 grams of iron; plain low-fat yogurts have the same amount of the said element as the first one stated just like other plain yogurts that are of skim or whole milk varieties.

On its own, water itself is a beverage that contains huge amounts of iron for every 8 fluid ounces as each serving in this amoung has 237 grams of iron.

Surprisingly, beef, regardless if it is cured, ground, blade roasted, lean, dried, braised, steak, roasted, sirloin, canned, pan-friend, cooked, whatever grade it is, stewed have iron amounts that range from 28.35 to 85 grams. This is surprising because of the assumed high amounts of iron beef has since it is the primary red meat available.

Other categories in the list include pineapples, pork, plums, potatoes, puddings, raisins, rice, salad dressings, different sauces such as cheese, hoisin, homemade, pasta, teriyaki and salsa, seaweed, a variety of snacks like granola bars, popcorn, potato chips, tortilla chips, rice cakes, sherbet, soups such as cream of mushroom, clam chowder, onion, tomato, vegetable, chicken noodle and beef noodle.

Milk, milkshakes, margarine, mollusks, noodles, nuts, oil, onions, orange juice, peaches, peanut butter, peppers, pies, tea, turkeys, waffles, wheat flour, wild rice, asparagus, avocados, bagels, bananas, and beets also comprise other products in the document.

The tool and its use in other countries

What these valuable pieces of information can tell consumers is that they can properly choose when to eat these foods and drink these beverages so that they can ensure that they have the proper levels of iron inside their bodies. Regular visits to the doctors can greatly help in this endeavor.

It is for purposes such as these that the United States Department of Agriculture has produced this National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference for Iron. With the use of their computers, people can easily access these vital pieces of information so that they can regulate the consumption of iron.

Other countries’ agricultural and even health agencies should ideally be able to come up with initiatives such as this to help their citizens take care of their health by knowing what food or drink to consume at any given time.

For the betterment of consumers, even those from different nations, reading the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference for Iron can help them achieve their goals of having a healthier lifestyle and cure or prevent any illness they can gain from courtesy of excessive or insufficient amounts of iron in their bodies as well as their close friends and relatives..

The knowledge that is gained from credible scientific research and not tainted by personal or institutional biases can go a long way in helping lower international borders for the sake of healthcare and other important endeavors in this field.

Ultimately speaking, the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference for Iron is a tool that transcends national borders, can be used by individuals or organizations to monitor iron in their bodies, products and research and advance the welfare of citizens that try to fulfil certain conditions to extend their lives by being healthier amidst the temptations to do and be so otherwise.