- Diet helps to remedy an iron deficiency.
- Iron deficiency is the most common in the world with 50 to 80% of the world’s population affected.
Iron is an atom essential to life whose role is in particular the binding of oxygen and its transport to cells. An adult human body contains between 2.5 and 4 g of iron and we lose about 1 mg per day.
The recommended intakes for a young woman are 25 mg of iron per day on average, 12 mg for men and 6 to 10 mg for a child. This is all the more difficult to achieve as iron is in low concentration in the diet and is not 100% assimilable but rather between 1 and 40% only. However, certain foods can be good allies to avoid iron deficiency and so-called “iron deficiency” anemia, which is defined by a deficit of red blood cells in the blood.
In the first place, meat products, since animal iron is more assimilable than vegetable iron with six times higher absorption of iron of animal origin. Animal products (beef, poultry, fish, seafood) promote the absorption of iron, but this is also the case with fresh fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C (peppers, cabbage, kiwi, orange) and vegetables rich in vitamin A (sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, pumpkin).
It is also wise to make associations: in the same meal, meat products accompanied by a fresh fruit or a fresh vegetable rich in vitamin C. Other associations are precisely to be avoided: eating dairy products with legumes , hummus, meats. According to one study, the consumption of dairy products in a meal reduces the bioavailability of iron. Indeed, we now know that calcium greatly reduces the absorption of iron.
Iron absorption repressors
Other iron absorption repressors include tannins from tea or coffee, phytates (inositol phosphates) from cereals and legumes, polyphenols from red or blue fruits, wine and cocoa. , fruit pectin, apples, quinces…
“For the body to assimilate iron well, it is therefore necessary to avoid tea as a drink during the meal, wine or fruit juices rich in polyphenols (grape, blackcurrant, blueberry juice) and to postpone taking dairy products or milk on meals other than the one where meat is eaten” says Stéphane Ingrand, deputy head of the “Animal physiology and livestock systems” research department at the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE) in The Conversation.