...
Skip to content Skip to footer

What is Iron?

Iron is an essential nutrient that transports oxygen around the body and is needed for energy.

Deficiency symptoms may include, fatigue, pale skin and fingernails, weakness, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, increased risk of infection. 

Iron deficiency is very common, presenting mostly in females. Adult males require 8mg of iron a day, whereas women need 18mg! If you are pregnant or experience heavy periods your requirement for iron is much higher than average.

RDI

Age

Male

Recommended intake

Female

Recommended intake

Pregnancy (P) + Lactation (L)

0-6m

0.2mg (AI)

0.2mg (AI)

 

7-12m

11mg

11mg

 

1-3yr

9mg

9mg

 

4-8yr

10mg

10mg

 

9-13yr

8mg

8mg

 

14-18yr

11mg

15mg

27mg (P)

10mg (L)

19-50yr

8mg

18mg

27mg (P)

9mg (L)

>51yr

8mg

8mg

 

Sources of Iron (vegetarian)

If you are vegetarian or vegan your need for iron may be a lot higher. This is because the iron found in meat sources (haem iron) is much easier to digest and absorb than the iron found in plants (non-haem iron). See below information on absorption, to see how you can get the most iron out of your food!

  • Molasses, 100g = 4.7m
  • Kidney beans, 1 cup = 3.1mg
  • Green lentils, 1 cup = 3mg
  • Tofu, 100g = 2.96mg
  • Chickpeas, 1 cup = 2.7mg
  • Cooked wholemeal pasta, 1 cup = 2.3mg
  • Cashews, 30g/20 nuts = 1.5mg
  • Raw spinach, 1 cup = 1.2mg
  • Almonds, 30g = 1.1mg
  • Dried apricot, 30g/5 apricots = 0.93mg

Sources of Iron (animal)

  • Chicken liver, 100g = 11mg
  • Beef, 100g = 3.5mg
  • Kangaroo, 100g = 3.2mg
  • Lamb, 100g = 2.5mg
  • Salmon, 100g = 1.28mg
  • Tinned tuna, 100g = 1.07mg
  • Pork, 100g = 0.8mg
  • Chicken, 100g = 0.4mg

Absorption

Good gut health and digestion is essential for iron absorption. Addressing gut health may assist in long term solutions for iron deficiency. There are some tips to remember to make sure you are benefitting as much as you can from your iron supplements.

  • Take vitamin C with your iron supplement/foods
  • Squeeze apple cider vinegar and/or lemon juice on iron source foods
  • Cooking plant-based foods, will help improve the amount of available iron 
  • Take your iron tablet away from tea and coffee – best just before bed
  • Take your iron tablet while eating an iron source meal
  • Take your iron tablet away from other tablets such as Calcium, Zinc etc.

Meal options 

Please see attached “Thatcleanlife” Document