Iron – are you getting enough?
Drinking red wine with a meal, going for a run before you eat or eating cheese afterwards are some of the ways people mistakenly think they can boost the iron in their diet, according to a new survey by online health resource, meatandhealth.com.
The survey also found that more than half of women believe that spinach is the best source of iron. In fact, you would need to eat a large amount of spinach to get the same amount of iron as there is in a 4oz sirloin steak.
Three quarters of the women surveyed did not know that the recommended daily amount of iron is 14mg and 90 per cent did not know the difference between haem and non-haem iron.
Leading nutritionist Juliette Kellow said the results were alarming, given the high number of women who are likely to be iron deficient.
"Currently around 40 per cent of women aged 19 to 34 years have iron intakes below the minimum amount needed to stay healthy and so are at risk of iron-deficiency anaemia. Meanwhile, 93 per cent of 16 to 18 year olds consume less than the recommended intake of iron.
"Teenage girls and pre-menopausal women are at a greater risk of suffering with iron deficiency anaemia as they have higher nutritional needs for iron. Fortunately, this condition can easily be prevented in most people through eating a healthy, balanced diet that contains plenty of iron-rich foods.
"It is encouraging that young women aged 16-24 are best informed about the risk of iron deficiency. Surprisingly, one in five knew iron is essential for healthy hair and nails," Juliette said.
"It's a pity though that women don't know the difference between haem and non haem iron. Haem iron, found in red meat, fish and poultry is more easily absorbed by the body, than non-haem iron, found in fruit, vegetables and cereals. A simple way to boost iron intake from plant foods is to include a vitamin C-rich food at the same meal, such as a glass of orange juice."
Juliette Kellow's top tips for boosting your iron intake:
For more tips to boost your iron intake visit www.meatandhealth.com