Iron- A Snapshot!


This is by no means the ‘be all and end all encyclopaedia of iron’ but it will help those of you who want to just get a little insight into improving your iron uptake.

Maybe you feel tired and lack concentration or you have been told by your doctor you have an iron deficiency.

Role in the body- helps to make up the red blood cells, important for the transport of oxygen to our cells. It also helps enzymes function in the body allowing us to digest foods and carry out daily tasks.

Who needs it most- generally those who are very young and growing. Those who are training hard and those who have lost blood.

Vitamin C – it is too frequently forgotten that the minerals that we need are are only optimally absorbed with the correct vitamin combination. For example magnesium is optimally absorbed with the vitamin B groups. Iron needs vitamin C to help the absorption into the blood. It is recommended to combine the sources of iron with vitamin C at meal times. These foods tend to be bright in colour, some examples include, peppers, orange (if you get the juice be careful they haven’t fortified with calcium, I have seen it somewhere , strawberries, broccoli, sweet potato, kale and tomatoes. That’s just a few, but combine them with your iron rich foods and you are on the right track.

Heme- Non-heme – The difference between the two is like the essential and non essential amino acids. The difference here is that meat sources contain the heme iron and the non meat sources (beans, spinach and other plants).

Food sources- spinach, chicken, turkey, fish, liver (not a personal favourite of mine, but unrivalled in its density of iron). Meat sources are particularly available to the body. This makes it more difficult for vegetarians, but not impossible by any means. Lentils, green veggies, some dried fruit , apricots , dates and raisins.

How you can help avoid an iron deficiency- you have heard it before but vary you nutritional intake (notice its not a diet), eggs, lean meats, fish, green veggies, good fats (nuts, seeds, avocado’s, coconut oil) and fresh fruits, ideally the citrus ones in this case.

Things to avoid- calcium, phytates and polyphenols all have a negative effect on the uptake of iron into our bodies. Coffee and tea both contain tannins that obstruct the uptake of iron.


I hope you enjoyed this little insight….


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