Iron Deficiency

Iron is a vital nutrient. It plays an important role in the production of hemoglobin an myoglobin, as well as other enzymes. Its primary function is transporting the oxygen from the lungs to various tissues. An iron deficiency can lead to anemia (leaving a person feeling weak and tired).

Recommended Iron:

  • men: 10 mg.
  • women: 15 mg.
  • menopausal women: 10 mg.
  • pregnant or breastfeeding women: 30 mg.
  • children: 10 mg.
  • teenage boys: 12 mg.
  • teenage girls: 15 mg.

Iron Tips

  • Make sure to eat poultry and meats (not too much - these products are also high in cholesterol)
  • Legumes are also a good source of iron, especially for vegetarians
  • Vitamin C helps the body absorb the iron, particularly iron from a vegetal source: lemon juice, citrus fruits, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, kiwis, guava
  • If you're taking vitamin C supplements, divide them into several servings and take one for each meal
  • Dairy products inhibit iron absorption, so does caffeine - avoid dairy and caffeine when eating an iron-rich meal

Iron Tips for Anemics

If you are taking iron supplements:

  • Take the supplement on an empty stomach, together with a food/drink containing vitamin C, like orange juice
  • Avoid taking these supplements with dairy products, caffeine products and fibers
  • Iron supplements will most likely change the color of your stool and may cause diarrhea or constipation

Iron Content in Food

Food Serving Size Iron Content
Chicken Liver 3 8.5 mg
Beef Liver 1 slice 6.8 mg
Turkey: red meat 100 g 2.6 mg
Turkey: white meat 100 g 1.5 mg
Tuna in oil 100 g 1.4 mg
Sardines 100 g 2.9 mg
Nile Perch 100 g 3 mg
Tahini paste 2 T. 1.3 mg
Halva 15 g 1 mg
Tahini salad 2 T. 1 mg
Almonds 20 1 mg
Dried figs 5 1 mg
Hummus salad 3 T. 1/2 mg
Cooked chickpeas 2/3 c. 2 mg
Dried dates 3 1/2 mg
Cooked peas 2/3 c. 1 mg
Lentils 2/3 c. 2.3 mg
Apricots 3 1 mg
Raisins 3 T. 1/2 mg
Remember: poultry or meat are better sources of iron than legumes, fruits or vegetables.