Nutrient Food Sources
The mineral iron plays a vital role in the transport of oxygen in blood. It is also important for energy production and metabolism. An iron deficiency leads to anaemia, low energy and restless leg syndrome. Iron deficiency can occur in menstruating women, pregnancy and in the elderly (especially as hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach is important for iron absorption and with age levels of this acid decrease).
There are two forms of dietary iron: haem iron (from animal sources), which is easily absorbed and non-haem iron (from plant sources), which is less easily absorbed. Non-haem iron absorption is easily affected by other dietary factors. Vitamin C enhances iron absorption, whereas tannin in tea, phytate and calcium decrease the absorption. Where bodily iron levels are low, non-haem iron is even more difficult to absorb.
|Food Sources of iron||Amount (mg per 100g)|
|Green peas (raw)||2.8|
|Kelp (sea vegetable)||100|
|Spring onions (raw)||1.9|
|Thyme, dried, ground||123.6|
(n/a = figures not yet available)
Source: McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods (6th Edition)