Importance of Dietary iron - Pink of Health
Importance of Dietary iron
Importance of Dietary iron

Iron is an important dietary mineral; as it is involved in many body functions like oxygen transportation, energy formation and our body need iron for its overall growth and development.

Our body absorbs a certain amount of dietary iron in a day which comes from food. Iron from food has two forms known as heme and non heme (to know more on heme and non heme food sources continue to read our next blog).

Once iron is absorbed, there is no physiologic mechanism for excretion of excess iron from the body other than blood loss due to pregnancy, menstruation, or other bleeding. Thus, Iron is recycled and conserved by the body. Iron is bound and transported in the body via transferrin (a blood plasma glycoprotein captures iron released into the plasma) and stored in ferritin (a protein that stores iron) molecules. Doctors sometime may check these levels to check if a person has Iron deficiency anemia.

Age group Iron (mg/day)
Adults Men 19
  Women 29
Infants 6 – 12 months 3
Children 1 – 3 years 8
4 – 6 years 11
7 – 9 years 15
Boys 10 – 12 years 16
Girls 28
Boys 13 – 15 years 22
Girls 30
Boys 16 – 18 years 26
Girls 32

Foods like green leafy vegetables, cereals, pulses, nuts like cashew, almonds, animal meat, particularly liver and spleen, boiled egg yolk are rich in iron.

Foods like citrus fruits, their juices, sprouts these may increase iron absorption.

Thus, it is important that one should know the various dietary iron sources and means of enhancing iron absorption.

Dietary deficiency may lead to IDA. Please consult your doctors.

Keep reading for more content on types and sources of Dietary Iron!


1. Firdose K, Firdose N. Dietary Iron. Iron Metabolism – A Double-Edged Sword. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( Taken from IntechOpen; 2022. Available from:

2. FSSAI summary of RDA for Indians – ICMR- NIN, 2020. Available from