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Iron deficiency and your diet

It's National Nutrition Week!

hep treat iron deficiency with your diet
Eat a balanced diet to help your health.

As a medical clinic, we are enthusiastic about encouraging healthy, balanced diets. This National Nutrition Week, try to reset some of your eating habits to include more vegetables in your diet.

The recommended daily intake is five serving of vegetables a day.

According to Try for 5, only 4% of Australians meet their recommended daily intake of vegetables! And it's even less for teenagers and children (only 1%!).

Vegetables, along with getting the right daily amounts of proteins and healthy fats, can really boost our health and help protect us from certain diseases.

Non-nutritional diets may increase your risk of developing certain diseases, such as stroke, heart attack, diabetes, certain cancers and vitamin deficiencies such as iron deficiency anaemia.

Iron deficiency and your diet

Iron deficiency, often seen more in women, occurs when your body doesn't have enough of the mineral iron. Iron is needed to produce healthy, oxygen-carrying red blood cells.

Iron deficiency anaemia is often associated with not getting enough red meat in our diets. Yes, this can be the case, but many foods have iron in them, not just red meat.

Other meats such as chicken, pork, fish, duck and turkey have iron, as well as eggs.

And believe it or not, but you can actually get iron from vegetables!

These vegetables include:

  • spinach

  • broccoli

  • silverbeets

  • mushrooms

  • asparagus

  • potatoes

Vegetarians, vegans and those cutting back on their meat intake can also get iron from legumes, nuts, dried food (e.g. dried apricots), tofu, seeds, quinoa and more.

Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron. The following vegetables and fruits are high in vitamin C:

  • cabbage

  • broccoli

  • spinach

  • capsicum

  • tomatoes

  • strawberries

  • kiwis

  • citrus fruits

Iron deficiency can be caused by non-dietary factors, including the inability to absorb iron, blood loss due to menstruation and more.

Treatments for iron deficiency include enhancing your diet with iron-rich foods and supplementing. However, your doctor may recommend an iron infusion if your iron stores are quite low and need to be replenished quickly. An iron infusion may also be an alternative if iron supplements have been too harsh on your body.

Other vitamin and nutritional deficiencies that can be caused by your diet include:

  • Vitamin B12 - to help/prevent, eat meat, eggs, dairy, shellfish and liver.

  • Vitamin A - to help/prevent, eat beef liver, fish liver oil, carrots, dark leafy greens and sweet potatoes.

  • Vitamin D - to help/prevent, eat eggs, fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, and fish liver oil.

  • Calcium - to help/prevent, eat dairy products, green vegetables and boned fish.

  • Magnesium - to help/prevent, eat nuts, whole grains, dark leafy greens and 30g of dark chocolate.

If you suspect you have a deficiency, we advise seeing your doctor. It is always best to talk to a medical professional before starting to take supplements.


If you'd like to book an appointment for nutritional advice, more information on iron infusions, or to see if you could have a deficiency, please call us on 9741 1200 or book an appointment online.


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