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Improving Your Iron Intake
Iron is needed to make healthy red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body.
The levels of iron in your body will fall if you don’t eat sufficient iron containing food.
This can lead to tiredness, lack of energy, poor appetite and a pale complexion. These are all
symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia.
Dietary iron is present in two forms:•
•
Haem-Iron - derived from animal sources and is easily used by the body.
Non-Haem Iron - found in plant foods but the body finds this harder to use.
Eating foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruit, fruit juices, blackcurrant and green leafy
vegetables helps the body to use the non haem iron in plant foods. Try to include at least one of
these foods at each meal.
Absorption of non-haem iron can be reduced by high intakes of fibre and tea. Try to avoid drinking
tea with meals.
Daily Requirements
Male 11-18 years
Male 19+ years
Female 11-50 years
Female 50+ years
11.3mg
8.7mg
14.8mg
8.7mg
Liver is a rich source of iron, but contains much higher amounts of vitamin A than other foods. For
this reason it should be avoided in pregnant women.
Women post-menopause and men aged over 65 should not eat liver or liver products more than
once a week as too much vitamin A can be harmful to bone health.
Animal Sources of Iron
mg
Plant Sources of Iron
mg
4 (100g) sardines tinned in tomato sauce
100g cooked lambs’ liver
100g cooked kidney
1 small can (100g) tuna
75g (3ozs) cooked beef mince
75g (3oz) roast leg of lamb
75g (3oz) roast leg of pork
75g (3oz) roast chicken
1 medium egg
1 burger (100% beef)
2.9
7.7
6.4
1.0
2.0
1.4
0.8
0.5
1.1
1.5
50g (2oz) liquorice allsorts
25g (1oz) cashew nuts
3 tbsp cooked lentils
2 dried figs
3 tbsp baked beans
Large (140g/5½oz) portion spring greens
50g (2oz) dark/plain chocolate
Small bowl of porridge oats
1 slice wholemeal bread
100g ready to eat apricots
1 slice white bread
Small portion of courgettes
Boiled potatoes (medium)
1 tsp curry powder
Watercress - average serving
Small glass red wine
3.7
1.6
4.2
1.7
1.9
2.0
1.2
0.7
0.9
3.4
0.6
0.4
0.5
1.8
0.4
1.1
Page 1 of 2 How to Eat More Iron
Have a fortified breakfast cereal which has iron added to it. Check the label, each brand varies.
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•
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Baked beans or sardines on wholemeal toast makes an excellent snack meal.
Add beans and lentils to soups and stews - as well as being a good source of iron, they are low in fat
and high in protein.
Try a double egg omelette served with spring greens.
Have dried fruit as a snack.
Try a corned beef hash
Go Mexican with a chilli con carne - red meat, kidney beans and vegetables together.
Stay traditional with steak & kidney pie, served with vegetables.
Have a glass of fruit juice with meals.
Sample Daily Meal Plan
Breakfast
2 Weetabix with milk
1 slice wholemeal toast with
spread and jam.
Glass of orange juice
Mid-morning
Cup of tea & handful dried fruit
Lunch
Egg & salad sandwiches with 3 slices of
wholemeal bread
Yoghurt
Blackcurrant squash
Mid-afternoon
Cup of tea
Evening meal
Chilli con carne, rice & green salad
Nutty fruit crumble
Glass of Water
Before bed
Milky drink & Oatcake
Improving your Iron Intake (03.11)
Produced by Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust Dietitians
Chichester Dietitians, The Lodge, St Richard’s Hospital, Spitalfield Lane, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 6SE
Tel:
01243 831498
Fax:
01243 831497
E-Mail:
[email protected]
Disclaimer: The information given in this diet sheet is accurate at the time of going to press. The mentioning of a particular support group, website or product does
not constitute an endorsement by the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust. The Trust is keen to know if this document/leaflet gives you the information you need
in a way that is easy to understand. Please tell us if you think we can improve it, by calling the numbers above or e-mailing.
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