Five nutrients every woman needs
5. Iron for energy
Studies suggest that one in four women in the UK has low iron stores. Iron is essential for the manufacture of haemoglobin, which carries oxygen from your lungs and transports it around the body. An iron deficiency can make you feel washed out and constantly tired.
How much do you need?
The RDA from 11-50 years is 14.8mg. Most women's need for iron drops after the menopause, but until then it's important to ensure you get enough.
- 100g lamb's liver = 7.7mg iron/ 50g liver pâté = 2.95mg iron
- 1 bowl bran flakes = 7mg iron
- 125g steak = 4.5mg iron
- 25g sunflower seeds = 1.6mg iron/ 15g pine nuts = 0.8mg iron
- 1 portion baked beans = 1.9mg iron
- 8 dried apricots = 1.7mg iron
- 1 slice wholemeal bread = 1mg iron
- 125g roast chicken = 1mg iron
- 1 portion steamed broccoli = 0.8mg iron
- 2 Weetabix = 4.4mg iron/ 60g hummus = 1.14mg iron
If you don't eat red meat and/or have heavy periods, you are at risk of iron deficiency.
Should you take a supplement?
If you don't eat red meat and/or have heavy periods, you are at risk of iron deficiency. Iron supplements are available, but some forms can cause stomach upsets. Iron is toxic in excess and, although there is little risk of getting too much from food, you should always follow the manufacturer's instructions for supplements.