Iron is an essential mineral naturally found in a variety of foods, and has many important functions in the body including:
- Building red blood cells
- Carrying oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body
- Helping the brain work at its best
There are two types of iron in food – heme and non-heme. Our bodies absorb heme iron best. Heme iron is found in animal foods like beef, while non-heme iron is found in plant foods like tofu, legumes, and enriched grain products. As a heme source of iron, beef is a winner! And did you know that eating a heme source of iron like beef will help increase the absorption of non-heme iron? To get the most out of your meal, try combining foods: add lentils to a beef stew, for example.
Now, let’s talk the numbers. Men ages 19 and over need 9mg of iron/day. Women ages 51 and over require the same amount. However, women ages 19-50 actually require much more – 18mg/day. Requirements for children, teens, and women who are pregnant, or breastfeeding vary.
Without enough iron, you may feel tired and irritable, and you may look pale. You may also be at risk for iron deficiency.
Overall, choosing beef means you’ll be energized and fueled for the day, thanks to its rich dose of oxygen-carrying iron.
How does beef perform in comparison to these requirements? A 100g serving of beef provides 3.34mg of iron, which is equivalent to 19% of your Daily Value (DV). Take a look below to see how other proteins stack up against this: