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Written by Emily Parks on April 14th, 2016

DID YOU KNOW ONE IN 14 WOMEN ARE LOW IN IRON?

emily image-607How aware are you?
Did you know one in 14 women are low in iron? And over 1/3 of teenage girls don’t achieve their daily iron requirements. This means you, or someone in your household, could very well be at risk of iron deficiency.

Iron deficiency can affect productivity at work or interfere with running a household as symptoms may include feeling weak and tired, struggling to concentrate, and suffering frequent illness or infection – symptoms we often put down to leading a busy lifestyle!

Eating a “mixed-diet” which includes meat alongside plenty of vegetables and fibre-rich wholegrains is an example of a healthy, balanced diet. A mixed-diet is an effective way to prevent iron deficiency as it includes both haem iron from animal foods and non-haem iron from plant foods.

How positive is your iron absorption?
Iron absorption can be positively affected by absorption enhancers or negatively affected by inhibitors.
Haem iron found in beef and lamb is highly bioavailable and easily absorbed by the body. As an added benefit, consuming foods like beef and lamb significantly enhances the absorption of non-haem iron within a meal.

Vitamin C is an absorption enhancer so adding fruits high in vitamin C, like kiwifruit and berries, helps your body absorb non-haem iron. Iron-fortified Weetbix cereal with sliced kiwifruit is an example of using vitamin C as an enhancer.
 
A compound that inhibits iron absorption is tannins, found in tea, and as a rule, limit your daily cuppa to between meals. 
Phytic acid is found in foods such as grains, nuts, lentils and black beans, and inhibits the absorption of non-haem iron. To combat these negative effects on iron absorption, always include a source of vitamin C with legumes and, even better, a portion of lean red meat.   

Take this example…
Our Indian-Spiced Lamb and Chickpea Curry recipe is an excellent source of iron with 6.3mg per serve.

For the women in your household, eating this curry for dinner tonight will provide her with around a third of her daily iron requirements. For your teenage daughter, she’ll get nearly half of her daily iron needs, and the man in your life will nearly reach his daily target of 8mg of iron per day.

For more information on iron visit ironweek.co.nz or email emily@beeflambnz.co.nz
  

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