Iron is a mineral that is essential in our diet, with numerous functions throughout the body. It has a role in the production of red blood cells, which aid oxygen transportation around the body, in turn giving us energy. Iron is also important for our immune system and brain function. It is important to ensure sufficient dietary intake of iron as it can not be made by the human body!
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
Adult males are recommended to consume 8 mg of iron per day, while females are recommended 14.8 mg. Iron is particularly important for women of reproductive age as they have increased requirements due to iron losses related to their menstrual cycle.
Almost half (48%) of women aged 18-64 years had inadequate intakes of iron, according to the National Adult Nutrition Survey, 2011. Insufficient iron intake can lead to iron deficiency anaemia. This is where the body does not have enough iron to support adequate oxygen transportation around the body, which can lead to fatigue, pale skin, weakness and shortness of breath.
Sources of Iron
Iron is found in many foods, but not all sources of iron are created equal. There are two types of dietary iron: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is found in animal products such as meat, poultry, and fish. It is easier for the body to absorb than non-heme iron. Non-heme iron is found in plant-based foods such as beans, lentils, dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, and fortified cereals.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, or do not consume meat, it is important to consume iron-rich foods regularly. A tip for helping the absorption of non-heme iron (plant sources) is to have a source of vitamin C in the same meal! Vitamin C aids the absorption of non-heme iron in the body. Some examples of vitamin C-rich foods are oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli. Another tip would be choosing fortified foods such as cereals, bread, and other grain products.
How can GourmetFuel Help?
Many of our meals are rich sources of iron, helping you achieve your daily recommended iron intake. You can view the iron content of all our meals by clicking on the image, followed by ‘Micro Nutritional Values (Minerals)’. Here are some of our iron rich meal options to check out; Smoky Black Bean Chilli, Cottage Pie, Hearty Beef Stew, Veggie spaghetti and our Chicken Fajita Bowl.
In conclusion, iron is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in the human body. Eating a variety of iron-rich foods heme and nonheme on a daily basis, is important to ensure you reach your iron requirements.
National Adult Nutrition Survey 2011