There are two types of iron in food: haem and non-haem iron. Haem iron is only found in meat, chicken and fish, and is easily absorbed. Non-haem iron is also found in plant foods, such as vegetables, cereals , beans and lentils, but is not absorbed as well by the body.
ow can I get enough iron?
Iron and blood levels
Low levels of blood haemoglobin are relatively common, particularly among those needing the most iron. Too little iron in the blood can lead to paleness, tiredness and lethargy, making it harder to concentrate, and affecting our performance at school or work. Resistance to illness, such as infections, coughs and colds, is also weaker.
Low blood levels can be caused by:
Having too much iron in the blood is also possible, but much less common. It can be caused by taking iron supplements when not needed, a high alcohol intake, hepatitis or haemochromatosis.
If you are concerned about your blood levels of iron e.g. have heavy periods, are tired, weak, lightheaded or look pale, talk to your doctor about having a blood test. Iron supplements should only be taken under medical supervision, as unsupervised use of iron supplements can reduce absorption of other essential nutrients, such as zinc and calcium