Iron binds oxygen to the haemoglobin in your body's red cells and promotes the transport of oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. Iron also works as an enzyme component in different parts of the body.
The recommended intake of iron is based on calculations of the balance between absorbed and excreted iron. An average of 15% of the iron in our food is absorbed in the body. The recommended iron intake for men, young girls and post-menopausal women is 9 mg/day. Because of menstruation, the iron requirement of women between puberty and menopause is higher than this, or 15 mg/day.
The best dietary sources of iron are liver, meat and whole grain products, especially rye bread.