How do i increase iron in my diet ?

How much iron do I need in my diet?

Iron is important for good health and helps to make haemoglobin, the protein in blood, which carries oxygen around the blood. The body cannot make its own iron, which means we need to get all our iron from the food we eat. A low intake of iron can cause anaemia, which may cause tiredness, weakness or breathlessness. Therefore, it is important to regularly eat iron-rich foods to help prevent low iron levels

, which may cause tiredness, weakness or breathlessness. Therefore, it is important to regularly eat iron-rich foods to help prevent low iron levels

 Age (years)     Males     Females     Iron stars  
11-18 11.3mg   14.8mg   11 (males) 15 (females)  
19-50 8.7mg 14.8mg 9 (males) 15 (females)
50+ 8.7mg 8.7mg   9

How can I improve my iron intake?

citrus fruit ironIron is found in animal and non-animal sources, however iron from animal sources is better absorbed. Vitamin C can help improve the absorption of iron when included with an iron- containing meal. Foods which are good sources of vitamin C include:

• fruit, especially citrus fruit, such as oranges, pineapple, grapefruit

• fruit juices (limit to one small glass per day) and squash drinks with added vitamin C

• salad vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers

• lightly cooked vegetables, such as peas, carrots, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower

• potatoes.

Coffee and tea contain tannins, which can reduce the amount of iron you absorb from food, so avoid drinking these at meal times. Raw wheat bran also inhibits iron absorption and should be avoided.

meat ironAnimal sources of iron

• lean beef, pork, lamb

• liver and kidney, liver sausage (pregnant women should avoid liver and liver sausage because of their high vitamin A content)

• corned beef

• chicken and turkey, especially the dark meat like drumsticks

• tuna, sardines, mackerel, pilchards and salmon

• fish paste, meat paste ; well-cooked eggs (avoid raw or lightly-cooked eggs).

Non-animal sources of iron:

• red kidney beans, haricot, pinto, black-eye beans, boiled or canned

• dahI, lentils, chickpeas, baked beans and peas

• nuts and peanut butter

• breakfast cereals with added iron, eg cornflakes, Rice Krispies, Weetabix, Ready Brek

• dried fruit, such as apricots, figs, prunes, raisins and sultanas

• bread, chapatti, pitta bread made with wholemeal flour

• cauliflower, spring greens, broccoli, canned mixed vegetables

• tofu.

Breakfast ideas Cereal and milk, eg Weetabix/porridge/Wholemeal toast Fruit juice or a portion of fruit
Snack ideas Baked beans on toast Sardines on toast Sandwiches – whole meal bread with peanut butter, corned beef, or egg and tomato salad Portion of fruit Liquorice all sorts
Main meal ideas Lentil stew, nut roast or bean stew Potatoes – jacket/boiled Green vegetables or salad
Puddings ideas Stewed apricots Bread and butter pudding

The tables below show how much iron is found in different foods.

Lean roast beef 1 thick slice 1.0
Roast lamb 2 thick slices (100g) 1.1
Pork chop 1 average chop (120g) 0.85
Dark roast turkey/chicken 2 slices (60g) 0.8
Black pudding 1 slice (30g) 3.7 ✰✰✰½
Sardines or pilchards canned in oil Average sandwich filling (50g) 1.25
Tuna in brine ½ tin (100g) 1.5 ✰½
Mussels Boiled, meat only (100g) 3.3 ✰✰✰½
*Note: Pregnant women should avoid liver and liver sausages due to their high content of vitamin A content

Lentils, beans, nuts and seeds – these sources are better absorbed with vitamin C-containing foods

Chickpeas (canned) 4 tablespoons cooked (100g) 2.1 ✰✰
Lentils – green & brown ½ cup cooked (75g) 2.5 ✰✰½
Lentils – red ½ cup cooked (75g) 1.8 ✰✰
Baked beans Small tin (150g) 2.1 ✰✰
Beans – butter beans ½ cup cooked (75g) 1.5 ✰½
Beans – red kidney 3 tablespoons (100g) 2.6 ✰✰½
Quinoa 3 tablespoons (50g) 3.9 ✰✰✰✰
Hummus 2 tablespoons (50g) 1.2
Eggs 1 egg (60g) 1.3
Tofu (fried) 50g (1/5 of packet) 1.8 ✰✰
Almonds 20g 0.8
Cashews 25g 1.5 ✰ ½
Sesame seeds 1 tablespoon (12g) 1.2
Sunflower seeds ¼ cup (30g) 1.9 ✰✰

frui cereal ironBreakfast cereals and breads – these sources are better absorbed with vitamin C-containing foods

Ready Brek (dry) 1 small portion (30g) 3.6 ✰✰✰✰½
Bran flakes 4 tablespoons (30g) 3.5 ✰✰✰½
Special K 4 tablespoons (30g) 3.5 ✰✰✰½
Weetabix 2 biscuits (40g) 3.5 ✰✰✰½

Fruit and vegetables

Apricots 8 apricots (65g) 2.1 ✰✰
Fig (dried) 4 figs (80g) 3.4 ✰✰✰½
Raisins 1 tablespoon (35g) 1.1
Prunes 5 prunes (40g) 1.0
Blackcurrants (tinned) 60g (2 handfuls) 2.8 ✰✰✰
Spinach 3 tablespoons boiled (120g) 1.9 ✰✰
Avocado pear ½ avocado (130g) 1.4 ✰ ½
Peas 2½ tablespoons (75g) 1.3
Broccoli 2 spears – steamed (90g) 0.7 ½
Brussels sprouts 9 sprouts (average portion 90g) 0.6 ½


Chocolate – milk 1 average bar (50g) 0.8
Chocolate – plain 1 average bar (50g) 1.2
Ovaltine made with water 4 tablespoons (25g serving) 3.6 ✰✰✰ ½
Milo (chocolate malt) 6 teaspoon (30g serving) 4.0 ✰✰✰✰
Liquorice Allsorts Small packet (56g) 4.0 ✰✰✰✰
Yeast extract Heaped tablespoon (18g) 0.5 ½

If you have any further questions or concerns about your cholesterol level , please call or send an email to: .Madelena Tapliga ( nutrition and weight management, lymphatic massage therapist) ; 07947887043 ;

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Madelena Tapliga
Madelena Tapliga

MSc Clinical Nutritionist, accredited Nutritionist of UK from Association for Nutrition (AfN)
Clinical Lead
Herbal Medicine
MLD therapy My specialities: Malnutrition (diet advice weight gain), Weight management (weight loss, fat loss nutrition, difficulty losing weight, high cholesterol), bariatric surgery recovery and lifestyle advices, recovery post surgery, gastrointestinal and colorectal health, cardiac disease, diabetes type 2, food sensitivities, food intolerances, food intolerance testing, healthy skin, family and meal planning, nutrient deficiencies, thyroid disorders, digestive health SIBO, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), Hypochlorhydria (low acid gastric), Immune system, Arthritis, relationship with food, nutritional support, vegetarian and vegan diets, mindfulness eating, stress management, dietary advice, recipe developer, personalised nutrition. Intermittent Fasting, evidence based nutrition, sounds therapy, manual lymphatic drainage .

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