How much do you know about iron? Why is iron so important and how do you know if they’re getting enough?
Iron is an essential mineral for our everyday life, it helps transport oxygen around the body to produce energy, proper muscle function and to create strong immunity.
Our main source of Iron comes from the food we eat every day, for young children however, getting sufficient iron is particularly crucial because their brains and bodies aren’t fully developed yet and they need it to ensure proper growth.
Getting your kid to eat the recommended daily intake of iron can be quite a battle, especially if you have a fussy eater at home. Luckily you can now boost their iron intake with Little Iron, a berry flavoured liquid iron formula that’s gentle on their tummy.
Signs they might be low in iron
If your child is showing the following symptoms, it could mean their iron intake is inadequate and you should see your doctor for a blood test:
- Repeat infections and illnesses
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Behavioural problems or irritability
- Poor appetite
- They appear very pale
- Eating strange things such as dirt or sand
- Below growth expectations
Foods high in iron
There are many different foods which are high in iron, however the most easily absorbed by the body are animal-based. If your child has a strictly vegetarian or vegan diet, you might need to pay closer attention to which plant-based iron-rich foods they’re eating.
Key iron-rich foods are:
- Red meat, poultry and eggs, fish and pork
- Green vegetables
- Lentils, beans and chickpeas
- Nuts and seeds
- Fortified grains and cereals
Vitamin C helps maximise iron absorption, so make sure to also serve Vitamin C foods (such as oranges, tomatoes, berries, kiwi fruit, broccoli and capsicum) alongside iron-rich foods to your kid.
Calcium rich foods may decrease the absorption of iron when eaten at the same time. Of course, calcium is an essential part of a little one’s diet so just try not to eat calcium rich foods at the exact same time as iron rich foods.
If you’re concerned about your child’s iron levels or nutrition in general, please speak to your doctor.