Here at AAHQ we are an office predominately of women, and we were recently surprised to find out that the majority of us are iron deficient! Although this isn't that surprising after all, given that it is estimated that 15% of women of reproductive age in Australia are iron deficient according to the World Health Organisation. So in typical fashion we looked to food to remedy the situation, however were surprised by what we found!
Animal foods highest in iron:
We thought beef would be number 1, however it contains significantly less iron per serving than the liver and seafood options! While the body absorbs the most iron from animal foods, what about the vegetarians and vegans among us? Luckily there are plenty of significant non-animal sources of iron:
Non-animal foods highest in iron:
- Blackstrap molasses (try our Balls of Steel)
- Nuts (try our Spiced Nuts from MLC)
- Seeds (try our Fibre Rich Seed Rolls from RFOCS)
- Beans (try our Vegetable Chilli from QFITT)
- Dark leafy greens (try a green smoothie - read our guide here)
- Dark chocolate and cocoa (try our Chocolate 'Milkshake')
- Dried fruit (try our Tropical Muesli)
We were surprised to find that blackstrap molasses contains more iron per gram than red meat! Talk about an unsung hero.
To boost iron absorption, pair iron rich foods with vitamin C (think oranges, capsicums, green leafy veggies and broccoli) and avoid tannins from tea, coffee and wine.
So, taking all of the above into account, we created our 'Balls of Steel' - our afternoon snack filled with a hefty dose of iron! Also included is a dose of vitamin C to assist absorption. Eaten in the afternoon long after our morning coffee also helps, as does the fact that these snacks are moreish and convenient enough to eat every day (perhaps unlike an oyster!).