Are you feeling fatigued? You could be iron deficient. Iron is an important mineral involved in various bodily functions including the transportation of oxygen in the blood. The body cannot make iron, meaning it must be provided through the diet. A lack of iron can cause fatigue, tiredness, decreased immunity and can even lead to iron-deficiency anaemia.
To keep yourself energised in your daily life, you need sufficient amounts of iron in your diet. For vegetarians and vegans, you may need up to twice as much dietary iron a day as non-vegetarians. We examine the best iron-rich foods to make sure you are always at your vital best.
Egg yolks: an egg is full of many nutrients, including iron. Eggs are best consumed in their entirety as the yolk contains both forms of iron, haem and non-haem. Start the day with a boiled egg for an instant iron boost.
Legumes: from soybeans to lentils and black beans, legumes are a valuable source of iron. Combine vegetables rich in vitamin C such as capsicum, with a whole grain and a legume to make a complete meal.
Prunes: these nutrient-rich fruits are a great source of iron, while also containing good levels of vitamin C. Prunes make an excellent choice when treating low iron levels. Enjoy with breakfast or during the day as a naturally sweet treat.
Silverbeet: a vegetarian’s friend when it comes to iron supplies. To ensure maximum iron absorption, either boil or saute and add a squeeze of lemon juice for vitamin C. To increase iron levels of the meal, combine with whole grains and enjoy.
Oysters and mussels: these are both great sources of iron, with mussels also providing valuable amounts of B12 and selenium, and oysters providing good levels of zinc as well. Swap your poultry dish for a delicious seafood alternative.
Lean red meat: probably the most common source of iron, red meat provides haem iron that is easily absorbed by the body. It is important to choose good-quality meat and only eat a portion the size of your palm.