Importance of iron in diet

I just thought I’d right a little about iron – as its a question many people are confused about.

There are two types of iron – heme and non heme iron – which often depends on where the iron comes from.

  • In animal foods, iron is often attached to proteins called heme proteins, and referred to as heme iron.
  • In plant foods, iron is not attached to heme proteins and is classified as non-heme iron.

The absorption rates for non heme iron is  less than heme iron:

  • Non-heme iron is typically absorbed at a rate of 2-20%.
  • Heme iron is typically absorbed at a rate of 7-35%.

However, just making the assumption that increasing your iron intake involves eating more animal foods maybe shortsighted. Absorption of iron depends on many factors, such as level of iron already in the body, amount of fibre being consumed and what other nutrients are being absorbed at the same time.

Some iron rich foods include:

Most of your greens veggies including spinach, swiss chard, green beans, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts

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