An essential mineral which plays a vital role in forming haemoglobin, which transports oxygen around the body, assists in energy-producing chemical reactions and maintaining a healthy immune system.
Low iron levels lead to anaemia.


There are two types of iron in food - haem iron is found in animal foods while non-haem iron is found in eggs and plant foods such as legumes, cereal grains, nuts, seeds and dark green leafy vegetables.


Non-haem iron isn’t as well absorbed by the body but including foods high in vitamin C at the same meal can improve absorption. Tea and coffee can inhibit the absorption of iron.


Women 19-50 years - 32mg

Women over 51 years - 14mg

Pregnancy - 48mg

Breastfeeding - 16-18mg

Men - 14mg

Tips for meeting your iron needs:

  • Eat legumes, tofu, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrains regularly

  • Include a vitamin C-rich fruit or vegetable at each meal (such as berries, kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, tomatoes, capsicum, spinach and broccoli)

  • Limit your intake of tea and coffee to between meals rather than with meals

Source: Dr Kate Marsh BSc, MNutrDiet, PhD, Grad Cert Diab Edn & Mgt Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian