Inadequate dietary iron intake can lead to depleted iron stores, or may lead to iron deficiency, anaemia. Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin within red blood cells which carries oxygen from the lungs around the body.  Low iron can lead to low hemoglobin levels, making it difficult to move oxygen to the muscles and brain to support endurance activity.

Non-haem iron from plant sources, fortified cereals and supplements should be consumed with foods that are high in vitamin C, or at the same time as foods containing haem iron (animal sources) to increase the amount of iron that the body absorbs. Foods high in vitamin C include; orange juice, capsicum, kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, tomatoes.

Tea, coffee, unprocessed bran, some soy proteins and some supplements and medications can block the absorption of non-heam iron.  Avoid having these when consuming a source of non-haem iron.

Avoid low iron by incorporating some of the foods below into you daily diet.

Source Serving Size Iron (mg)
Animal Sources (Haem Iron)
Kangaroo 100g 4.4
Lean beef 100g 3.1
Lean lamb 100g 2.5
Lean pork 100g 1.4
Tuna 100g 1
Sardines 120g 3.24
Egg 1 egg 1.1
Plant Sources (Non-Haem Iron)
3 bean mix ½ cup 2
Tofu 100g 5.2
Chickpeas 100g 6.2
Iron fortified breakfast cereal 30g 3
Cooked spinach ½ cup 2.2
Asparagus 5 spears 1
Beetroot 3 slices 1.2
Green beans ½ cup 1
Dried apricots 8-10 halves 1.5
Cashews 50g 2.5
Pine nuts 50g 2
Pistachios 50g 1.95
Almonds 50g 1.8
Milo 4 heaped tsp 6