Iron is a trace (micro) mineral.
    Iron is an essential mineral that carries oxygen and forms part of the haemoglobin in our red blood cells and myoglobin in muscle. Iron is primarily stored in the liver, spleen and bone marrow in the form of ferritin.
    Non-heme iron is the main source of iron in our diet and is absorbed more poorly than heme iron, as found in animal sources.
Why is Iron important?
Heme is an iron-containing compound found in a number of biologically important molecules. Hemoglobin and myoglobin are heme-containing proteins that are involved in the transport and storage of oxygen.
    The iron deficiency leads to anemia and sub-optimal function of iron-dependent enzymes.
    Iron is vital in energy production and in maintaining an optimal immune system.
How much Iron is enough?
The average dietary iron intake is 16-18 mg/day in men, 12 mg/day in premenopausal and postmenopausal women, and about 15 mg/day in pregnant women

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Iron
Babies 0-6 months 0.27 mg/day
Babies 7-12 months 6 mg/day
Children 1 to 3 years 7 mg/day
Children 4 to 8 years 9 mg/day
Children 9 to 13 years 10 mg/day
Teenagers boys 14 to 18 13 mg/day
Teenagers girls 14 to 18 12 mg/day
Adults men 16 mg/day
Adults women ages 13 mg/day
Pregnant women 15-16 mg/day

Hemoglobin is the primary protein found in red blood cells and represents about two thirds of the body's iron. The vital role of hemoglobin in transporting oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body is derived from its unique ability to acquire oxygen rapidly during the short time it spends in contact with the lungs and to release oxygen as needed during its circulation through the tissues. Myoglobin functions in the transport and short-term storage of oxygen in muscle cells, helping to match the supply of oxygen to the demand of working muscles.
    Iron is essential for many enzymes and is important for growth, proper cognitive function.
Heme iron
    Heme iron comes mainly from hemoglobin and myoglobin in meat, poultry, and fish. Although heme iron accounts for only 10-15% of the iron found in the diet, it may provide up to one third of total absorbed dietary iron. The absorption of heme iron is less influenced by other dietary factors than that of nonheme iron.

    Nonheme iron
    Plants, dairy products, meat, and iron salts added to foods and supplements are all sources of nonheme iron. The absorption of nonheme iron is strongly influenced by enhancers. Vitamim C strongly enhances the absorption of nonheme iron.
Food Serving Iron(mg) in serving
Beef 3 ounces, cooked 2.31
Chicken, dark meat 3 ounces, cooked 1.13
Oysters 6 medium 5.04
Shrimp 8 large, cooked 1.36
Tuna, light 3 ounces, canned 1.30
Black-strap molasses 1 tablespoon 3.50
Raisin bran cereal 1 cup, dry 5.00
Raisins, seedless 1 small box (1.5 ounces) 0.89
Prune juice 6 ounces 2.27
Prune, dried 5 prunes (1.5 ounces) 1.06
Potato, with skin 1 medium potato, baked 2.75
Kidney beans 1/2 cup, cooked 2.60
Lentils 1/2 cup, cooked 3.30
Tofu, firm 1/4 block (~1/2 cup) 6.22
Cashew nuts 1 ounce 1.70

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