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Jun 28, 2022 Diet & Nutrition Movement & Exercise Recipes Wellness Tips Hayley Derwent 8,307 views

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.

1-3 years 9mg/day
4-8 years 11mg/day
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 11mg Silverbeet 2.8mg
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.

About The Author - Hayley Derwent

Hayley is a holistic nutritionist whose vision is to inspire and educate patients about food and lifestyle to positively enhance their health and wellbeing. She provides a safe and caring environment by listening, teaching and supporting people and working in partnership with them to strive towards good health and happiness.

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