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Ask the expert – Q&A with our BlueIron expert - Debunking Iron

Debunking Iron
In a Q&A our expert Dietitian, Laura Clark, shares everything you need to know about iron and its role within our bodies


Iron – a micro mineral with a mighty role in our bodies. Here at BlueIron this topic is the heart and soul of what we communicate and do. But we wanted to get down to the nitty gritty of iron, its role in our bodies and how we can ensure optimum levels. We sat down with our expert Dietitian, Laura Clark, to delve into this.

Why Do You Need Iron?
Iron plays numerous critical roles in the body. Most notably, it acts as the carrier of oxygen, ensuring every cell receives the life-giving molecule. But its duties don't stop there. Iron is essential for normal energy-yielding metabolism, immune function, and cognitive function.

How Much Iron Do You Need Daily?
The recommended daily intake varies by age and gender. For females aged 11-50, the
recommendation is 14.8mg, while for males over 19, it's 8.7mg. These numbers underscore the importance of incorporating iron-rich foods into our diets.


Checking Your Iron Levels
Feeling tired, pale, or experiencing heart palpitations can be signs of low iron levels. If your symptoms are extreme, then you should consult your GP.

Special Considerations
It’s important to remember that certain groups, such as pregnant women and individuals with heavy periods, may require more iron to support increased blood volume or replace lost blood. Similarly, infants, children, and teenage girls in periods of rapid growth have heightened iron needs.


Iron in Diet and Supplements
While meat and fish provide haem iron, which is more readily absorbed, vegetarian sources like lentils, leafy greens and beans are a non-haem iron, and slightly harder to absorb. Combining non-haem iron with vitamin C-rich foods, like oranges or broccoli can enhance absorption. However, be wary of substances like phytates in cereals that can inhibit iron absorption. You can also help bolster your iron levels by incorporating an iron supplement into your balanced diet. Food supplements are not a substitute for a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.


Dispelling Myths
Despite its critical role, iron often flies under the radar until deficiencies arise. Common myths about how to manage your iron levels, often revolve around misconceptions on restrictive diets and the unpleasantness of iron supplements. However, awareness and proper supplementation that works for your body can truly mitigate these concerns.


Balanced Diet, Healthy Life
Maintaining a balanced diet is key to overall well-being. Planning meals ensures we prioritise nutrient-rich foods over convenient but less nutritious options. For fussy eaters, introducing new foods alongside familiar ones can gradually expand their palate and nutritional intake. So, iron may not always steal the spotlight, but its contribution to our health is undeniable. By understanding its importance and incorporating iron-rich foods into our diet we can empower our bodies to function at their best.


10th April 2024

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