Iron-rich products: for children, babies, during pregnancy [table].

Check out iron-rich products for adults, children and pregnant women.

Ludwig Jelonek - AuthorAuthorLudwig Jelonek
Ludwig Jelonek - Author
AuthorLudwig Jelonek
Natu.Care Editor

Ludwik Jelonek is the author of more than 2,500 texts published on leading portals. His content has found its way into services such as Ostrovit and Kobieta Onet. At Natu.Care, Ludwik educates people in the most important area of life - health.

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Julia Skrajda - Reviewed byReviewed byJulia Skrajda
Verified by an expert
Julia Skrajda - Reviewed by
Reviewed byJulia Skrajda
Clinical nutritionist

A clinical nutritionist, she works in the profession and creates personalised menus and recommendations for disease entities.

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Bartholomew Turczynski - Edited byEdited byBartholomew Turczynski
Bartholomew Turczynski - Edited by
Edited byBartholomew Turczynski
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Bartłomiej Turczyński is the editor-in-chief of Natu.Care. He is responsible for the quality of the content created on Natu.Care, among others, and ensures that all articles are based on sound scientific research and consulted with industry specialists.

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Nina Wawryszuk - Fact-checkingFact-checkingNina Wawryszuk
Nina Wawryszuk - Fact-checking
Fact-checkingNina Wawryszuk
Natu.Care Editor

Nina Wawryszuk specialises in sports supplementation, strength training and psychosomatics. On a daily basis, in addition to writing articles for Natu.Care, as a personal trainer she helps athletes improve their performance through training, diet and supplementation.

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Iron-rich products: for children, babies, during pregnancy [table].
29 April, 2024
12 min
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A deficiency of it affects more than 1.2 billion people (mostly women) worldwide. And it is one of the most important minerals in the human body - involved in the process of delivering oxygen to all corners of the body. It is an iron that is worth taking care of in your diet.

With clinical nutritionist Julia Skrajda, we will show you iron-rich products for adults, children, babies and also pregnant women. You are sure to find something you like, as iron is in many products available at your fingertips.

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From this article you will learn:

  • What products are rich in iron.
  • .
  • What is the difference between haem iron and non-haem iron.
  • .
  • How to increase iron bioavailability.
  • .
  • What limits iron absorption.
  • .
  • How much iron should be taken in each day.
  • .

See also:

Iron-rich products

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Products rich in iron include meat (e.g. poultry), fish (e.g. tuna), beans, peas, lentils, tofu, spinach, beetroot. Seeds (e.g. millet and buckwheat groats), oatmeal, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds will also provide you with iron. Iron-rich foods also include offal (e.g. liver) and legumesand.

Iron-rich foods - table

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Product

.

Iron content per 100 gand

Bitter chocolate 85%

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10.9 mg

Poultry liver

.

8.99 mg

.

Pumpkin seeds

8.82 mg

Beef liver

.

6.54 mg

.

Oatmeal

.

3.90 mg

Lentils

3.33 mg

Halves

2.81 mg

Beef

.

2.74 mg

Spinach

2.71 mg

Dried apricots

2.66 mg

Tofu

2.66 mg

Rodins

2.30 mg

Green peas

1.90 mg

Hen's egg

1.67 mg

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What are the best sources of iron for babies and children?

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Iron deficiency in young children is a common problem faced by many parents. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to enrich the diet of children with products rich in iron. This way, there is no need to reach for supplementation straight away.

The best iron-rich products for babies and children areand:

  • Red meat (beef, pork).
  • .
  • Excrement (beef liver).
  • .
  • Poultry (chicken, turkey).
  • Cereals (chicken, turkey).
  • Cereal or oatmeal.
  • .
  • Pulses (beans, lentils).
  • .
  • Leafy vegetables (kale, broccoli, spinach).
  • .
  • Pumpkin seeds.
  • .
  • Risins.
  • .
  • Eggs.
  • .
  • Green peas.
  • .

Your child is at the challenging stage? You can encourage them to eat these iron-rich foods by making sure the plate is colourful and various, as well as rich in different flavours (e.g. lightly spiced chicken with sauerkraut for a breakthrough) and structures, e.g. cream of pod soup with whole-grain croutons and roasted seeds.

See also:

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Note

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For infants, the above foods should be introduced into the diet very carefully. For example, red meat is best started between 6 and 8 months of age, when the infant's need for iron increases. To be safe, meat should be cooked and cut into small pieces or blended. Similar rules apply to other foods, so it is worth consulting with a dietician or paediatrician.

What are the iron-rich foods for pregnant women?

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To avoid iron deficiency during pregnancy, eat a variety of foods that are rich in iron, such as red meat (e.g. beef tenderloin), poultry, offal, legumes, leafy vegetables, mussels or tofu. It is also worth making sure to eat eggs, fish, as well as groats - millet or buckwheat.

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Before starting iron supplementation during pregnancy, you should take a blood test. And the decision to add the supplement to your diet can only be made by your doctor.
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Dr Witold Tomaszewski.

Witold Tomaszewskidoctor of medical sciences

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What is the difference between non-haem iron and haem iron?

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Iron exists in two main forms: heme iron and non-heme iron, which differ in their origin and bioavailability to the body.

heme iron is the form of iron that you find mainly in animal products, especially meat, poultry and fish. It is characterised by its high bioavailability, as the human body is able to absorb up to 40% of this type of iron. Furthermore, the bioavailability of haem iron is not much affected by other dietary componentsand.

Non-heme iron on the other hand, is the form of iron found in plant foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grain cereal products.

The bioavailability of this type of iron is lower compared to haem iron. Furthermore, certain dietary components such as proteins may hinder its absorption. On average, the absorption of non-haem iron is around 10%. However, it is aided by eating foods that are rich in vitamin Cand.

What foods increase the bioavailability of non-haem iron?

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You can increase the bioavailability of non-haem iron by eating the right products. Most of these are foods rich in vitamin C and those that naturally provide haem iron. What is worth eating?

  • Oranges,
  • .
  • Strawberries,
  • .
  • kiwi,
  • .
  • grapefruit,
  • .
  • apricot,
  • .
  • broccoli,
  • .
  • red meat,
  • .
  • poultry,
  • .
  • fishes (mainly tuna),
  • .
  • pickled vegetables,
  • .
  • tofu,
  • .
  • spinach,
  • .

You can increase your overall iron absorption with clever combinations of foods, such as liver served with sauerkraut; salad with spinach, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and chicken; sourdough bread with sausage, parsley and pickled cucumber. These are natural sources of iron and vitamin C, which will increase its bioavailability.

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Note

Lactoferrin (a glycoprotein) is a popular dietary supplement that promotes iron absorption and increases serum iron, ferritin and haemoglobin concentrations.

What interferes with iron absorption?

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To ensure the best possible absorption of iron from food, you should avoid combining it with certain ingredients. Certain substances reduce the bioavailability of non-haem iron from meals, that is, they cause it not to be absorbed into the bloodstream in a sufficiently large amountand.

Do not eat iron-rich foods at the same time as foods high in calcium, magnesium and fibre. Also avoid drinking coffee and tea with meals, as they contain polyphenols and tannins that inhibit iron absorption.

Also watch out for foods that have so-called  antinutritional compounds such as phytic acid (e.g. legumes, cereals, nuts and seeds) and tannins (black tea, cacao, whole-grain cereals, nuts).

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Tip

Phytates form complexes with iron that hinder the digestion and absorption of this mineraland. To get rid of excess phytates, for example, phytic acid-containing foods (legumes) should be cooked or soaked. That is why night oatmeals are a great idea, and soaked pods are easier to blend afterwards.

What is the daily requirement for iron?

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The daily requirement for iron depends on age and gender. What's more, it also changes during pregnancy and lactation, so you should scrupulously watch your standards. What are the recommendations for the Polish population?

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Age and gender

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Daily iron requirementsand

Infants 0-6 months

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0.3 mg

Infants 7-11 months

.
11 mg

Children 1-3 years

7 mg

Children 4-9 years

10 mg

Boys 10-12 years

10 mg

Girls 10-12 years

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10 (15) mg*

Boys 13-18 years

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12 mg

Girls 13-18 years

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15 mg

Males > 19 years

10 mg

Females 19-50 years

18 mg

Females > 50 years

10 mg

* Before or after the onset of menstruation

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Pregnant women should take 27 mg of iron daily regardless of age. Breastfeeding mothers, on the other hand, require 10 mg regardless of age.

Maximum safe daily dose of iron

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While an overdose of iron from the diet is very unlikely (except in cases where you genetically assimilate too much of the ingredient), supplementation can lead to this. Therefore, along with the recommended values, it is also worth knowing these upper limits.

Age

Upper limit of iron non-toxicityand

0-13 years

40 mg

> 14 years

45 mg

Symptoms of iron deficiency

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The symptoms of iron deficiency may be harmless at first, but will steadily worsen over time. What symptoms may suggest this conditionand?

  • Fatigue and weakness. These are often the first signs of iron deficiency. The ingredient is essential for the production of haemoglobin, which supplies oxygen to all cells in the body. If cells do not have access to enough oxygen, you may experience general weakness and fatigue.
  • Deficiency of the skin. It is haemoglobin that provides the blood with its red colour, so low levels of this protein -resulting from iron deficiency - can make the skin fade.
  • Pnea. Iron deficiency can lead to shortness of breath, as the body tries to compensate for the lack of oxygen in the cells by speeding up breathing.
  • Muscle weakness. Lack of iron in the diet can also result in muscle weakness and an inability to maintain standard physical activity.
  • Deficiencies in concentration. If your brain does not get enough oxygen, you may experience problems with concentration and memory.
  • Hair loss. Iron is involved in many important physiological processes in the hair follicle, and a deficiency can disrupt hair strand synthesis and cause hair loss.

Who is at particular risk of iron deficiency?

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Iron deficiency is a common health problem that can affect people of all ages and lifestyles. However, there are certain groups that are particularly vulnerable to this condition. Which ones?

Senior citizens are also at risk of iron deficiency.

Risk group

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Why is at risk of iron deficiency?and

Pregnant women

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Because of the increased need for iron due to the progressive development of the foetus and the body's preparation for childbirth, pregnant women are at risk of iron deficiency.

Pregnant women are at risk of iron deficiency.

People on a vegan or vegetarian diet

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Iron of plant origin is less well absorbed by the body, which is associated with an increased likelihood of iron deficiency in the body in people who do not eat meat.

People who do not eat meat.

Menstruating women

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Regular blood loss during menstruation can lead to iron deficiency, especially if a woman's diet is deficient in this component.

Persons with gastrointestinal diseases

Diseases such as Crohn's disease or celiac disease can be managed.

Disorders such as Crohn's disease and coeliac disease can lead to impaired iron absorption in the gastrointestinal tract.

Disorders such as Crohn's disease and coeliac disease can lead to impaired iron absorption in the gastrointestinal tract.

Athletes

Intensive physical activity may increase the need for this mineral due to faster metabolism and increased iron excretion in sweat and urine.

Intensive exercise may increase the need for this mineral due to faster metabolism and increased iron excretion in sweat and urine.

Seniors

Because of age-related metabolic changes, seniors are also a risk group for iron deficiency. Difficulties in absorbing this nutrient may also result from the use of certain medications, which is often the case in the elderly.

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It is worth paying attention to the hygiene of your food intake - too little caloric supply, drinking coffee and tea with meals or not eating vegetables and fruits - are additional factors affecting iron absorption.
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Julia Skrajda.

Julia SkrajdaDietitian

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See also:

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Summary

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.
  • Products rich in iron include meat, fish, legumes, seeds, leafy vegetables and offal.
  • Iron is present in all foods.
  • Iron is found in heme form (in animal products) and non-heme form (in plant products).
  • Iron deficiency is a common problem.
  • Iron deficiency in children and infants is a common problem, which can be combated by introducing iron-rich foods into the diet.
  • Pregnant women should consume good quality sources of iron, such as red meat, poultry, offal, legumes, leafy vegetables, mussels or tofu.
  • Daily iron requirements depend on age and gender, and are further increased during pregnancy.
  • .
  • Iron overdose from diet is unlikely, but inappropriate supplementation can lead to this.
  • .
  • Symptoms of iron deficiency include fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath, muscle weakness and concentration problems.

FAQ

. Can a vegan or vegetarian diet provide adequate iron? .

Yes, people following a vegan or vegetarian diet can provide the body with adequate amounts of iron by consuming plant foods rich in this mineral, such as lentils, legumes, pumpkin seeds and spinach.

It is important to remember, however, that iron from plants (so-called non-haem iron) is less well absorbed by the body. However, you can compensate for this by eating foods rich in vitamin C, which increases the absorption of this form of iron.

. Can drinking coffee or tea affect iron absorption?.

Yes, drinking coffee and tea can adversely affect the bioavailability of iron. This has to do with the polyphenol content of these drinks, which inhibits the body's absorption of iron. It is therefore recommended to avoid drinking coffee or tea immediately before, during or after a meal so as not to interfere with iron absorption. Maintain an interval of at least two hours.

. What are the effects of excessive iron intake?.

Overconsumption of iron in diet is rare, but can lead to toxicity that manifests as diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, weakness or abdominal pain. Chronic iron excess, on the other hand, can result in organ damage, especially to the liver and serious diseases like diabetes.

Overconsumption of iron from dietary supplements can cause very dark coloured stools and constipation.

. Do athletes have a greater need for iron?.

Athletes, especially those who do endurance training (e.g. running, triathlon, cycling), may have an increased need for iron because exercise speeds up the metabolic rate, increases its excretion and thus the need for iron increases.

Do athletes have an increased need for iron?
. Does drinking alcohol affect body iron levels?.

Drinking alcohol can negatively affect the levels of iron in the body. Alcohol increases the bioavailability of this mineral, so regular consumption of large amounts of alcoholic beverages, can lead to an excess of it. This, in turn, is a health risk, especially to the liver.

. Can I use iron supplements without consulting my doctor?.

Although iron deficiency is a common problem, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor before starting supplements. Excess iron can be detrimental to health, and some people, such as those with a genetic tendency to accumulate too much of the mineral, may be at particular risk.

. What tests can confirm iron deficiency?.

The basic tests that can diagnose iron deficiency are a blood iron and ferritin test and haemoglobin levels. If the results are below normal, this may suggest iron deficiency, but you should always consult your doctor.

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Meet the team
Ludwig Jelonek - Author

Natu.Care Editor

Ludwik Jelonek is the author of more than 2,500 texts published on leading portals. His content has found its way into services such as Ostrovit and Kobieta Onet. At Natu.Care, Ludwik educates people in the most important area of life - health.

Julia Skrajda - Reviewed by

Clinical nutritionist

Verified by an expert

A clinical nutritionist, she works in the profession and creates personalised menus and recommendations for disease entities.

Bartholomew Turczynski - Edited by

Editor-in-Chief

Bartłomiej Turczyński is the editor-in-chief of Natu.Care. He is responsible for the quality of the content created on Natu.Care, among others, and ensures that all articles are based on sound scientific research and consulted with industry specialists.

Nina Wawryszuk - Fact-checking

Natu.Care Editor

Nina Wawryszuk specialises in sports supplementation, strength training and psychosomatics. On a daily basis, in addition to writing articles for Natu.Care, as a personal trainer she helps athletes improve their performance through training, diet and supplementation.

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