GETTING THE IRON IN
No amount of ironing, listening to heavy metal music or watching Ironman movies will contribute to your iron intake! I’m sure there’s probably no disappointment regarding the ironing but you may feel a little sad about the Marvel films, particularly if you’re a Robert Downey Jr fan. Iron must come from the diet, or in some cases, via supplementation where appropriate.
However, not all iron is the same and depending on the source of the iron, absorption can differ. The table below shows the different sources of iron and the factors that can inhibit or support iron absorption:(3,4)
Haem iron (animal based):
- Well absorbed
- Found red meats and offal
- Some iron also comes from fish and poultry
Non-haem iron (plant based):
- Absorbed but optimised when eaten with vitamin C and/or animal protein source
Found in dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and broccoli and also in beans, peas, lentils, nuts and seeds
- Many breakfast cereals are fortified with iron.
- In the UK, all bread (excluding wholemeal) is fortified with iron.
- Infant formula is fortified with iron.