Wellbeing Tips - Iron

Iron is a constituent of hemoglobin (oxygen carrier in the blood) and myoglobin (oxygen holding reservoir in muscles). The normal blood hemoglobin levels are:Male - 13.8 to 17.2 g/dLFemaie - 12.1 to 15.1 g/dL

An individual who has adequate iron is more productive, does not fatigue easily, has good resistance to infection and has better cognitive function due to less distractibility and increased learning ability. The daily iron requirement for children is 8 to 11mg, male (adult) is 12mg and female (adult) is 27mg.

Who needs and when is iron most needed? - Infants 3 to 6 months due to marked increase in growth - Pregnant women due to increase in blood volume needed for fetal growth and the placenta - Lactating women since a certain amount of iron is transferred to the mother’s milk from the maternal diet - Teen and adult women for losses in menstruation

Across population group, more than 70% still lack iron in the diet. The daily iron requirement of people are as follows:

Population Group Iron (mg)
Infants (6-12 mo) 10
Children 8 to 11
Males (Teens) 13 to 20
Males (Adults) 12
Females (Teens) 19 to 27
Females (Adults, Pregnant 1st Trimester, Lactating 1st 6 Months) 27
Female (Pregnant - 2nd Trimester) 34
Female (Pregnant - 3rd Trimester) 38
Female (Lactating - 2nd 6 Months) 30

Iron helps in various nutrient conversions for us to have the energy we need. The lack of iron in the body leads to Iron Deficiency Anemia or IDA which causes us to feel extra tired or down. Blood hemoglobin levels lower than normal, <13.8 g/dL for males, and <12.1 g/dL for females, may be a sign of IDA. 

The prevalence of IDA among infants, school children, pregnant and lactating women remain a significant health problem. - More than half of infants, 6 months to <1 year, - 1 out of 5 children, 6 to 12 years old, - More than a third of pregnant and lactating women are iron deficient

Good iron sources are generally good protein sources, except for milk. SMPFC products like Magnolia chicken, Monterey meats and selected processed meats from Purefoods are good sources of iron. Other rich sources are kidney, liver, heart, eggs yolk, dark green leafy vegetables, shellfish, legumes, soy products, grains and seaweeds.

Iron food equivalents:

1 c ckd rice (186 g) 2.77 mg
1 c ckd spaghetti noodles (140 g) 1.79 mg
1 pack instant oatmeal (41 g) 1.72 mg
3 pc pandesal (40 g) 1.20 mg
1 pc chicken liver (44 g) 3.96 mg
1 beef tapa (30 g) 0.42 mg
1 pc chicken drumstick (133 g) 0.84 mg
1 pc porkchop (100 g) 0.62 mg
1 pc large egg (50 g) 0.95 mg
1 T boiled red kidney beans (11 g) 0.32 mg
1 c spinach (30 g) 0.81 mg
1 c kangkong (56 g) 0.94 mg

It is essential to complete your daily iron requirements. For an adult male (12 mg/ day), a sample meal plan would be:

Food Item Iron (mg)
Breakfast 1 cup rice 2.77
2 pc Tender Juicy Hotdog 0.84
1 pc egg 0.88
Lunch 1 cup rice 2.77
2 pc (60g) Beef Tapa 0.84
1 c kangkong 0.94
Dinner 1 cup rice 2.77
1 sv (100g) Magnolia Chicken Thigh Fillet 0.80
1 c spinach 0.81

When complemented with vitamin C-rich foods, iron is better absorbed in the body, particularly for non-animal based sources of iron. For example, paring papaya with a kangkong dish or drinking orange juice with your favorite tapa enables you to get the greatest amount of iron you can absorb.