The amount of iron in a baby’s body depletes from around 4-6 months. Therefore it is vital that iron rich food is introduced in baby’s first foods. Your body needs iron for the production of red blood cell and to transport oxygen through the blood to all the cells in the body. Iron plays an important part of normal brain development and a healthy immune system.
According to the Nutrient Reference Values for ANZ the recommended iron intake by life stage are:
|Age||Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)|
|7-12 months||11 mg/day|
|1-3 years||9 mg/day|
|4-8 years||10 mg/day|
|9-13 years||8 mg/day|
|14-18 years||11 mg/day (for boys), 15 mg/day (for girls)|
Iron consists two groups heme and nonheme:
Heme iron: animal-based, is the most readily absorbed form of iron.
Nonheme iron: plant-based, is less easily absorb by the body. It often contains phytic acid molecules (Figure 1),which has strong binding affinity towards minerals such as calcium, iron and zinc (the results of this compound referred to as phytate). As such the iron is bind to phytic acid and carry through the digestive tract without being absorbed in the body.
Iron Absorption Enhancers
Vitamin C, such as, broccoli, tomatoes, capsicum, oranges, berries,
Iron Absorption Inhibitors
Phytic acid, e.g, legumes, cereals, nuts, soy protein, cocoa
Polyphenols, eg, red wine, coffee, tea, cocoa
Calcium e.g, dairy and soy products such as milk and cheese
How Stuff Works
Iron Physiology (Figure 2) and Iron absorption in the intestine (Figure 3)