Next up in our micronutrient series is iron.
Learn here the importance of iron, how much you should be consuming, and where you can find the best sources.
Why is it important?
Iron is an important component of haemoglobin (which carries oxygen in the blood) and energy metabolism.
Iron deficiency can result in muscle weakness, fatigue, reduced cognitive performance, and can impair the body's temperature control.
There is an increased risk of deficiency in distance runners (loss from feet hitting the ground), women (menstrual losses and pregnancy) and those with low dietary intake.
How much do I need?
The current North American RDA is 8 mg for men and 18 mg for women.
The current UK RDA is 8.7 mg for men and 14.8 mg for women.
What affects iron absorption?
Iron sources can be categorised as 'haem iron' (animal sources) and 'non-haem iron' (plant sources).
Haem iron is better absorbed than non-haem iron; particular care may need to be taken to prevent deficiency in vegan athletes.
Combining iron sources with vitamin C rich foods (such as citrus fruit and peppers) can enhance absorption.
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