Meat and Iron
The mineral iron is vital for red blood cell formation and is therefore essential at all stages of life. Too little iron in the diet can lead to the development of iron deficiency anaemia, which can make people tired, irritable and less able to concentrate. Average iron intakes in the UK have fallen over the last twenty years, due in part to lower consumption of red meat, which is the richest source of easily absorbed iron.
Offering responsible choices
A healthy balanced diet contains a variety of types of food, including lots of fruit, vegetables and starchy foods such as wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals; some protein rich foods such as meat, fish, eggs and lentils; and some dairy foods. It is widely accepted that there is a need to reduce the total fat content of the diet. Switching to lean meat, rather than reducing the number of red meat dishes on offer, can significantly reduce the contribution made by red meat.
How much iron?
On average, adult men need 8.7mg of iron a day, and women need 14.8mg. Here are some examples of how much iron various foods deliver:
|Food||Serving Size||Iron Supplied Per 100g|
|thick slices of lean roast beef||90g||2.3mg|
|a boiled egg||50g||1.0mg|
|wholemeal bread (1 average slice)||36g||1.0mg|
|dark roast turkey meat (average serving)||120g||1.7mg|
|a portion of lamb’s liver, fried||100g||10.0mg|
|canned sardines in oil||50g||1.5mg|
|spring greens, boiled||90g||1.3mg|
|an average bowl of fortified breakfast cereal||45g||3.0mg|
|beef, average, trimmed lean, raw||1.8mg|
|lamb, average, trimmed lean, raw||1.4mg|