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Why do we need iron in our diet?














Iron is important in our diet as it helps make the protein that that is found in red blood cells that carries oxygen around our body.

If your iron levels fall you may not notice any change initially . However if it continues to fall you may start to feel tired, unusually weak or breathless.

This is called anaemia and is suffered particularly by women due to heavy periods.

Iron can be found easily in a balanced diet. The main sources of  iron come from cereal, meat and vegetables. We need a regular supply of iron in our diet as it is not easily absorbed by the body.

If you do not eat enough food containing iron, your iron levels may be low.  Vegans and vegetarians need to pay attention to their diet as they will not be consuming meat which is a rich source of iron.

So what should we be eating on a regular basis to get a good source of iron? The following foods are particularly good sources of iron:

  • Lean red meat
  • Turkey and chicken
  • Liver is rich in iron
  • Fish, particularly oily fish such as mackerel, sardines and pilchards
  • Eggs
  • Breakfast cereals especially ones which are advertised to be fortified with iron
  • Pulses and beans especially baked bean, chick peas and lentils
  • Nuts including peanut butter and seeds
  • Brown rice
  • Tofu
  • Bread in particular brown bread and wholemeal
  • Leafy green vegetables such as watercress, spinach and broccoli
  • Dried fruit such as apricots raisins and prunes


The body struggles to absorb iron but if taken in conjunction with Vitamin C this can help the body to absorb the iron so try and eat iron rich food with fresh vegetables and fruit or with an orange juice drink.

Tea has a counter productive effect and actually reduces the iron absorption.  So if you are iron deficient then avoid drinking tea!

What is the best way to boost your iron levels?

  • Try and eat a well balanced diet especially if you are pregnant.
  • If you think you may have iron deficiency then get your blood levels checked with your doctor. If the level of your iron is very low you will be prescribed iron tablets .


Iron deficiency can be extremely debilitating and can really effect other aspects of your life due to the complete lack of energy.  Make sure your diet includes plenty of iron to keep up your energy levels.


I am  currentlyfollowing some interesting research at Nottingham Trent University which will make iron more bio available so that your body can more readily access iron supplements (as we have discussed iron is very difficult to absorb).  This research could be the answer to help people who suffer from iron deficiency.


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