Rusty thinking about iron solved by lean beef
The World Health Organization (WHO) says iron deficiency affects a third of the world’s population, with those most at risk including infants and toddlers, teenage girls, and pregnant women, who need iron for increased blood levels and to build their baby’s iron stores.
In Australia, the WHO estimates that anaemia caused by iron deficiency (IDA) affects 8% of preschool children, 12% of pregnant women and 15% of women of reproductive age.
Iron carries oxygen around the body, ensures a healthy immune system by providing iron to cells to help fight infections, and assists the body to release energy from the food we eat.
There are two types of iron – haem iron, found in animal foods such as beef, poultry and fish, and non-haem iron, found mostly in plant foods.
Haem iron tends to be more efficiently absorbed by the body (around 25%) and its bioavailability is less affected by other factors. Non-haem iron is found in plant foods but is not absorbed as efficiently as haem iron (only about 5% is absorbed by the body).
An excellent source of bioavailable iron, lean beef is a nutrition powerhouse containing 12 nutrients essential for good health. Australia plays a pivotal role in supplying protein to the world, delivering beef in approximately 32.3 billion meal portions of red meat in 2021.
Symptoms that could indicate you may be low in iron include:
Not consuming enough dietary iron, heavy blood loss, and regular vigorous exercise can all lead to low iron. People who don’t eat much red meat may also find it a challenge to get adequate iron.
To boost your iron intake, include lean beef three to four times a week, combined with a variety of plant-based sources of iron (such as green leafy vegetables and legumes) and a source of vitamin C (such as capsicum, tomatoes, or citrus) to optimise the absorption of non-haem iron.
Enjoying iron-rich beef as part of healthy, balanced meals is also the final link in the pasture-to-plate process the beef industry focuses on to ensure its sustainability, by contributing to a more secure food supply of nutrient-rich food, produced with maximum efficiency, minimal waste, and respect for the environment.
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