Iron Deficiency and What is it? 




Dietary iron is a major contributor to our day-to-day bodily functions, it aids in the control and management of our immune system, transports oxygen throughout the body and provides us with energy.

Iron comes in two forms, haem iron which can only be sourced from animal meats, such as turkey, shellfish, red meat or chicken liver, and non-haem iron which can be found in both animal and plant based sources, for example spinach, lentils and beans. Other sources may include soybeans, dark chocolate, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, broccoli and tofu.

If your body does not receive enough of this essential nutrient, red blood cells cannot be produced at an appropriate rate causing iron deficiency throughout the body. Symptoms of this include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches, feeling of light-headedness or feeling faint
  • Pale skin, inclusive of fingernail beds, gums, lips, lower eyes and face
  • Hair damage or brittle nails
  • Weakness, cold hands and/or feet
  • Chest pain, heart palpitations

Those who are most at risk include premenopausal women, pregnant women, infants, those with chronic diseases and persons practicing a vegan or vegetarian diet.

In order to ensure adequate absorption of dietary iron consider consuming higher amounts of vitamin C at the same time as an iron food source. Vitamin C will improve iron absorption throughout the body. Examples of vitamin C foods include citrus, chilies, tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli and rockmelon.

Vitamin A also works to improve iron absorption and can be found in red capsicum, fish oils, poultry, tomatoes and dark green leafy vegetables such as kale. Mixing iron sources and keeping you diet diverse is also a great way to make sure you are not only gaining adequate intake of iron but other nutrients as well.

If you have any questions about dietary iron levels or would like to talk to one of our dietitians for some advice please call us on 08 9494 3790 or book online today at