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Next week is all about iron – the dietary iron we obtain in our diets. So why have a campaign about it?
There are a number of reasons, namely that thousands of New Zealanders are iron deficient despite having access to foods rich in iron. On a global scale, about 30% or 2 billion of the world population are anaemic with many due to iron deficiency.
The signs of low iron are often ignored, so World Iron Awareness Week will also draw attention to what to look for, as many people may attribute feeling tired, grumpy, irritable, lacking focus, feeling the cold and getting sick often to being busy or having a bug, when in fact these are early signs of iron deficiency. As iron has an important role in carrying oxygen around the body and is involved with the immune and energy production systems in our bodies, it’s no wonder this is how one would feel. If you are concerned, the only way of knowing for sure, is to get a blood test through your doctor, but in the meantime, here’s some tips from our recently revised brochure, to get you iron-savvy this World Iron Awareness Week:
And to help us spread the word in our first ever thunderclap, click here to join the noise.
We would also love to see you enjoying your iron-rich meals next week, take a photo, post and tag with #WorldIronWeek
- The redder the meat, the higher the iron content. Include a moderate portion of lean red meat as part of a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables for optimal iron intake.
- Eat a combination of lean red meat with plant foods (eg veges, legumes, pasta). The haem iron from the meat increases the absorption of the non-haem iron from plant foods.
- Include vitamin C-rich fruit and veges such as tomato, capsicum or kumara, with your meals as this boosts iron absorption.
- Keep tea and coffee to between meals as this inhibits iron absorption.
- Don’t rely on supplements for your total iron needs as the body has to work harder to absorb this type of iron compared to real food. Only use supplements if advised by your doctor.