By Becca Bresemann, Texas A&M Dietetic Intern
Reviewed by Katy Bowen, MS, RDN, LD
Iron is an important nutrient in our bodies that keeps our blood healthy. This mineral helps give you energy, is important for growth and brain development, and helps keep you from getting sick. If you’re not getting enough iron in your diet, you may feel especially tired or weak, get headaches often, or have a poor appetite. Eating enough iron can help you stay healthy and energized to live an active lifestyle.
How much do I need?
Recommendations for daily iron intake vary depending on age and gender, but it’s generally recommended that children 1 to 13 years old get between 7 to 10 milligrams (mg) of iron each day. Male teenagers and adults need 8-11mg of iron daily and female teenagers and adults should get 15-18mg each day. Pregnant women need almost double that amount at 27mg per day! For more detailed recommendations for iron intake based on age, visit: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/
Many kinds of foods contain iron and most people can meet their daily recommendations by including these foods in their diet. Here’s a list of some of the best dietary sources of iron:
Some types of iron, especially those found in plants, are harder for the body to use. Eating an iron-rich food combined with a food high in vitamin C can help your body absorb the iron you’re eating. Fruits, such as oranges and strawberries, and vegetables, such as bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, are great sources of vitamin C.
Looking for a meal that has enough iron to fuel your family? Our Steak and Blue Cheese Wrap recipe is full of both iron and vitamin C for maximum iron absorption.