Iron deficiency is a problem for many and can result in anaemia. Make sure you’re getting enough of this important mineral in your diet with our pointers.

Who’s missing out?

Intakes of this mineral are a problem for many groups, especially children and menstruating women – 8% of 18-month to three-year-olds, 5% of teenage boys, 44% of teenage girls and 22% of women have exceptionally low intakes.

Important for

Making red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. Insufficient amounts can result in anaemia.

Find it in

Liver, lean red meat, shellfish, eggs, fortified cereals, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and dark green leafy veg.

Boost your intake

  • Enjoy small portions of lean red meat – the darker the meat, the more iron it has (eat beef or lamb).
  • Go for the dark meat of chicken – it has double the amount of iron.
  • Enjoy liver occasionally if you’re not pregnant or planning a pregnancy (see vitamin A).
  • Swap cheese sandwiches for eggs or mash egg with light mayo to top a jacket potato.
  • Snack on a hard-boiled egg.
  • Choose fortified cereals, – look for those with the most iron.
  • Have baked beans on toast for lunch – choose tins that are lower in sugar and salt.
  • Eating out? Order mussels, cockles, clams, crayfish or brown crabmeat – all contain iron.
  • Add a handful of cashew nuts to stir-fries – they contain the most iron of all nuts. Or sprinkle with iron-rich sesame seeds.
  • Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron from non-meat foods, so team foods rich in this vitamin with iron-rich foods. Good choices include citrus fruits and juices, berries and tomatoes.