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HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES IRON
MICHELLE COOPER: Next, we're going to talk about iron. Iron is a very important mineral in our body that transports oxygen through our red blood cells. The recommended daily allowance is about 18 milligrams a day. When you think of iron, a lot of times you think of liver. But if you don't like liver, there are other good sources of iron as well, especially beef. Beef can be low in fat - it depends on the way you prepare it - and high in iron. Certain fishes are also high in iron. You don't have to have meat or fish or poultry to get your iron, though, you can get it from things like spinach, dried fruit like raisins and other vegetables can have small amounts of iron. However, the iron that is found in red meat or other meats like poultry is called heme iron and it is better absorbed by the body. One way to increase your absorption of iron - even iron in cereals or spinach or other foods - is to have vitamin C along with that iron. So next time you're eating your cereal-like breakfast, have a glass of orange juice. If you're having an egg sandwich, put a slice of tomato on that. It has vitamin C. So number one, make sure that you're choosing a good source of iron that's also low in fat like beef and you're preparing that without any added fat. Number two, if you choose to have a non-heme source of iron from vegetables like spinach or cereal, add vitamin C to increase the absorption. And number three, try to obtain your recommended daily allowance from foods, but if you can't, it's okay to have an iron supplement to go along with that.