Iron is a mineral that is necessary for growth, development, normal cellular functioning. Heme and non heme are two dietary forms of iron. Heme iron is found in red meats, poultry and seafood. Non-heme iron is found in plant sources such as vegetables, fruits and nuts. Heme iron means that iron is attached to the heme protein. Meat sources of iron contain heme and nonheme iron.
Overall, heme iron is better absorbed in the body than the non-heme iron. There are many dietary factors that affect the absorption of the non heme iron. This includes pairing the non heme iron food sources with vitamin C rich foods. This includes fruits such as oranges, red peppers, broccoli etc.
While heme iron is a good thing, people with abnormal iron metabolism have a higher chance of developing hemochromatosis which is iron overload and that can have negative health effects.
Pregnant women, infants and young children and women with heavy menstrual periods are more likely to be iron deficient than other groups.
To learn about iron and how to cook with iron rich foods please view our post below