Let’s cut to the chase here. I just want to make sure we all (my family and I) get our RDA of iron each day in the easiest way possible with only plant based foods. What my own children decide is an ‘edible food’ however, can change by the second, so it is an endless battle finding things suitable.
Stating the obvious here, the simple facts are that iron is obviously super important making the red blood cells which carry oxygen around your body, and a lack of iron can lead to iron deficiency anaemia. Common symptoms are tiredness and lack of energy. Not ideal for a normal functioning human.
It’s commonly thought that people eating plant based diets are at greater risk of iron deficiency, however it seems they are actually no more likely (due to generally having a more varied diet on average).
Technically there is no doubt that animal based iron (heme) is absorbed better into the body than plant based, but the negatives of heme iron intake are plenty enough to not make it a viable option for me. “The avoidance of heme iron may be one of the key ways to protect against metabolic syndrome and lowering heart disease risk.” It was quantified that there is a “27% increase in coronary heart disease risk for every one milligram of heme iron consumed daily.” Source: ‘The safety of heme vs non heme”
What is the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for Iron?
The NHS (UK) suggests the following for UK Iron RDA
|Women 19 – 50||14.8mg|
|Women 50+||8.7 mg|
|0-3 months||1.7 mg|
|4-6 months||4.3 mg|
|7-12 months||7.8 mg|
|1-3 years||6.9 mg|
|4-6 years||6.1 mg|
|7-10 years||8.7 mg|
|11-18 years male||11.2 mg|
|11-18 years female||14.5 mg|
|Source (NHS Pdf)|
I’m going to try and explain how to interpret Iron RDA you’ve see above into real life food, and real world strategies to get your iron level back up to a proper level and hold it there, in the least amount of hassle, with the least amount of faff.