Iron – The Facts

Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common nutritional deficiency in Australia. Women are most at risk during their reproductive years, as iron is lost in blood during menstruation.

  • Each person needs approximately 2mg of iron in each day.
  • The average western diet contains 10 – 15mg of iron. However, iron is poorly absorbed, somewhere between 5 – 10%. So, this means you need to eat foods containing at least 20mg of iron each day in order to reach the recommended amount.
  • Absorption of iron can be improved by adding vitamin C rich foods, such as squeezing lemon juice over vegetables or adding tomatoes, capsicums to a meal. Berries and most fruit have vitamin C, which makes the ideal dessert.
Sources of iron Amount of iron per 100g of food
Egg 0.9mg
Pork 1.2mg
Veal 1.5mg
Beans/lentils/chickpeas, cooked 2.0mg
Sweetcorn 2.1mg
Nuts 2.5mg
Dried dates 2.6mg
Vegemite 2.7mg
Bread, wholemeal 3.0mg
Lamb 3.0mg
Silverbeet and spinach 3.0mg
Dried apricots 3.1mg
Oysters 3.9mg
Beef 4.0mg
Raisins 4.2mg
Chocolate, dark 4.4mg
Sunflower seeds 4.6mg
Egg yolk 4.8mg
Sesame seeds and tahini 5.2mg
Kidney 5.4mg
Parsley 9.4mg
Liver 9.5mg