Lounge Doctor

Iron rich foods


Nutritional Advisor
Sep 5, 2011
Australia Australia
It is difficult with iron as the body is unable to manufacture it.

Iron depletion is a continuous process that ultimately results in iron deficiency anaemia if untreated. Iron deficiency anaemia is a condition where iron is depleted to such an extent that the manufacture of haemoglobin and red blood cells is limited. It is associated with symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, breathlessness. It is easy to confuse many of these symptoms with conditions such as the flu, or ‘being run-down’.

One-off blood tests are difficult to interpret when it comes to iron status. Correct diagnosis requires an assessment of habitual dietary intake, clinical symptoms and ongoing monitoring of blood levels. A number of factors are usually taken into account when assessing iron status. A skilled practitioner is needed to accurately assess iron status.

It is often extremely difficult to correct iron deficiency anaemia solely with an iron-rich diet. However we can introduce iron rich foods into our diet daily with a little imagination and combining.

Although iron is widely distributed in foods, some sources are better absorbed than others. The best sources of iron are foods with a high *haem iron content (15-18%) which are easily absorbed by the body. That includes the haem iron, such as red meat, seafood and poultry.

Non-haem iron foods are much lower (<5%) and are predominately found in plant foods such as cereals, vegetables, legumes and nuts.

Dried fruit, sweet corn, green leafy vegetables including broccoli, silver beet, spinach and chinese green vegetables are other good sources of iron.

Beetroot is great for boosting stamina and a great food for that energy drain we often refer to during recovery. Beetroots contain potassium, magnesium, iron as well as Vitamins A, B6, C and folic acid, so definitely a good vegetable to include in one's diet. We love buying them fresh and steam them along with other veggies for dinner.

The absorption of non-haem iron can be improved by combining sources of haem iron with non-haem iron.

* Haem is a complex organic red pigment containing iron and other ions to which oxygen binds and is used to make haemoglobin in red blood cells.

Note : A small percentage of the population has a condition called haemochromatosis. In this condition, iron accumulates in tissues causing damage and disease. Haemochromatosis often goes undiagnosed for many years. Iron supplementation is dangerous for people with haemochromatosis.

Research indicates that there is a risk that anaphylactic shock can occur with iron injections. This can be fatal.

Regular, inappropriate use of iron supplements can interfere with zinc and copper absorption and may have negative effects on the immune system.

Cheers, Poppet.

Disclaimer: The information on dietary factors, foods, and beverages contained in this article does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, and interactions. It is not intended as medical advice for individual problems. Liability for individual actions or omissions based upon the contents of this article is expressly disclaimed. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions including the taking of supplements.


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