Iron Rich Foods

 

Iron is an essential mineral, with several important roles in the body. It is part of haemoglobin which is the oxygen carrying molecule within red blood cells that carries oxygen.

People can become anaemic if they have inadequate iron intake in their diet or alternatively if they loose blood e.g. with heavy periods or from the bowel. e.g. if they have blood loss through ulcers in the stomach or upper bowel (often this will lead to black stool) or from the lower bowel.

 

Most people should be able to get all the iron they need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you take iron supplements, don’t take too much, because this could be harmful.

 

Iron is found in animal foods that originally contained hemoglobin, such as red meats, fish, and poultry (meat, poultry, and seafood contain both haem and non-haem iron). Plant sources contain non-haem sources of iron.

Good sources of iron

Good sources of iron include:

  • liver
  • meat
  • nuts
  • dried fruit – such as dried apricots
  • wholegrains – such as brown rice
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • beans e.g. red beans, chick peas, lima
  • soybean flour
  • tofu
  • pumpkin, sesame or squash seeds
  • most dark-green leafy vegetables – such as watercress and curly kale

Although liver is a good source of iron, don’t eat it if you are pregnant. This is because it is also rich in vitamin A which, in large amounts, can harm your unborn baby. 

How much iron do I need?

The amount of iron you need is:

  • 8.7mg a day for men
  • 14.8mg a day for women

You should be able to get all the iron you need from your daily diet.

 

What happens if I take too much iron?

The side effects of taking high doses (over 20mg) of iron include:

 

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