Iron is a mineral found in a range of foods. It is used to transport oxygen around the body. It is also important for energy production, immune function and storing oxygen in our muscles.
How much Iron do I need?
The Recommended Daily Intakes are different for different ages.
|Boys 9-13 years||8mg/day|
|Boys 14-18 years||11mg/day|
|Girls 9-13 years||8mg/day|
|Girls 14-18 years||15mg/day|
|Men 19+ years||8mg/day|
|Women 19-50 years||18mg/day|
|Women 51+ years||8mg/day|
|All pregnant women||27mg/day|
|Lactating women, 14-18 years||10mg/day|
|Lactating women, 19-50 years||9mg/day|
How can I improve my iron intake?
There are things that can help your body absorb iron:
- Vitamin C helps us to absorb iron – eating foods rich in vitamin C at the same meal is recommended. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, kiwifruit, strawberries, capsicums, dark leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes.
Some things stop or hinder our body from absorbing iron:
- Tannins in black tea can stop absorption of iron
- Phytates (found in wheat and some cereals) can inhibit iron absorption
- Calcium can hinder absorption of iron
What foods are good sources of iron?
|Food||Iron Content (per 100g)||Food||Iron Content (per 100g)|
|Wholegrain bread*||2.36mg||Pumpkin seeds||10mg|
|Untoasted/natural muesli||7.75mg||Sunflower seeds||4.6mg|
|Rolled oats, raw||3.73mg||Tahini||5.1mg|
|Red kidney beans, canned||2.1mg||Mussels, steamed/boiled||10.9mg|
|Beef (fillet steak)||2.2mg||Popcorn, air popped||3.2mg|
|Beef (round steak)||3.28mg||Green beans, boiled||2.19mg|
|Beef (rump steak)||3.16mg||Cabbage||2.08mg|
|Kangaroo (loin fillet)||4.1mg||Parsley (curly)||11.54mg|
|Lamb, leg, roasted||2.33mg||Parsley (continental)||2.7mg|
|Chicken liver pate||8.57mg||English spinach, boiled||3.91mg|
|Almonds, raw||3.9mg||English spinach, raw||3.5mg|
|Cashews, raw||5mg||Black strap mollasses||4.7mg|
*Higher if toasted
Haemochromatosis is a hereditary condition that causes too much iron absorption and storage. If too much iron is stored in the body, it can cause damage to the liver and other organs.
People with haemochromotosis should:
- Avoid iron supplements and other vitamin and mineral supplements that contain iron.
- Check with your health care practitioner before taking any vitamin C supplements as it increases iron absorption from food.
- Check with your healthcare practitioner about drinking alcohol as it can put extra strain on your liver.
- Read food labels and be aware of foods that are commonly fortified with iron, such as certain breads and breakfast cereals, Milo, fortified ‘energy’ or sports bars and many meal replacement drinks or shakes.