Iron is a very important nutrient for growing children. It is used to make haemoglobim which is necessary for the transport, storage and use of oxygen throughout the body. All babies are born with a supply of iron, which takes them through the first 6 months of life. After that, iron must be obtained through the diet.

Children may develop iron-defiency anaemia if they do not obtain an adequate supply of iron in their diet (This could happen when infants make the transition from formula to cow’s milk or solids). A child with this condition is typically pale, tires easily and has a lower tolerance for exercise.

Iron can come from both animal foods and plants in the diet. Iron from meat sources is better absorbed than that from plant sources. The absorption of iron is affected by the following factors:

  • intake of phytates, exalates or tannins (from tea and coffee)
  • intake of calcium, which will can bind with iron in plant sources.

Foods that are rich in vitamin C aid iron absorption. If possible iron-rich food should be taken with vitamin C rich food. Women need to make sure their diet is high enough in iron because iron is lost in the blood through menstruation. Excess of Iron can cause stomach upsets, constipation and kidney damage.

Sources of Iron:

Food / 100g Amount (mg)
Curry powder 58.3
Ground ginger 46.3
Nori seeweed, dried 19.6
Black pudding 112.3
Lentils, green or brown, dried weight 11.1
Cocoa powder 10.5
Sesame seeds 10.4
Pumpkin seeds 10.0
Soya beans, dry weight 9.7
Chicken liver 9.2
Lentils, red, dried weight 7.6
Lamb’s liver 7.5
Liver pate 7.4
Peaches, dried 6.8
Haricot beans, dry weight 6.7
Red kidney beans, dry weight 6.4
Cashew nuts, plain 6.2
Pot barley, dry weight 6.0
Couscous, dry weight 5.0
Apricot, dried 3.4
Lean beef 2.1
Kale, lightly boiled 2.0
Eggs 1.9
Lean lamb 1.6
Grilled Lean Bacon 1.6
Brown rice, dry weight 1.4
Baked beans in tomato sauce 1.4
Spring green, lightly boiled 1.4
Broccoli, lightly boiled 1.0

m = 0.001

How Much Mineral You Need?

Dietary reference intake (DRIs): recommended intakes for infants, children, pregnant women and breastfeeding moms.

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