How much Iron do I need?
Males aged 19+ years require 8mg of iron per day, while females aged 19-50 years require 18mg/day. These needs increase during pregnancy to 27mg/day. Some high risk groups for iron deficiency include; vegetarians or vegans, athletes in training, regular blood donors and menstruating women.
Types of Iron:
There are two types of iron. Haem iron (which is more easily absorbed) is found in animal foods such as beef, chicken and fish. Non-haem iron is found in plant foods such as beans, nuts, lentils and leafy green vegetables. Vegetarian sources include iron-fortified breakfast cereals, flours and grains. Eating a source of Vitamin C (i.e., berries, orange, sweet potato, broccoli, capsicum) will increase its absorption
Good sources of iron include:
- Meat such as beef (3.5mg of iron per 100g), kangaroo (3.2mg of iron per 100g), lamb (2.5mg of iron per 100g), salmon (1.3mg of iron per 100g), tinned tuna (1.07mg of iron per 100g) and chicken (0.4mg of iron per 100g).
- Grain and cereals such as weetbix (4.2mg of iron per 30g), All bran (3.2mg of iron per 30g), wholemeal pasta (2.3mg of iron per 140g) wholegrain bread (0.4mg of iron per slice) and rolled oats (1.1mg of iron per 30g)
- Nuts such as almonds (1.1mg of iron per 30g) and cashew nuts (1.5mg of iron per 30g)
- Leafy green vegetables such as broccoli (0.86mg of iron per 1 cup) and spinach (1.2mg of iron per 1 cup)
- Beans and lentils such as kidney beans (3.1mg of iron per 1 cup) and green lentils (3.0mg of iron per 1 cup)
- Tofu (2.96mg of iron per 100g)
Why do I need iron?
Iron is an important dietary mineral that is involved in various bodily functions, including the transport of oxygen in the blood, optimal immune function and producing energy.