Boosting up on iron during COVID-19

From mandatory masks to social distancing, COVID-19 has introduced a new-normal to our lives. It has also taught us the importance of staying healthy, both mentally and physically. Having a strong immune system is of paramount importance in this day and age, and boosting up on your iron intake is a good way to achieve this.

Practical tips1-3

1. Buy iron-fortified foods in quantities you need.
Food fortification or enrichment of foods can play an important role in helping to increase the intake of shortfall nutrients in both children and adults. A good way to achieve optimal health levels is to focus on iron fortified foods, which contain higher levels of iron. These include cereals, wholemeal bread, dark green vegetables and lean protein. Always take into account what you have in your kitchen to avoid food wastage.

2. Think frozen. Think fresh.
In most cases, frozen produce is nutritionally similar to fresh produce. If there is a difference in nutritional value, it is small. Which is good news, as this enables you to have a freezer stocked with healthy, iron-rich foods without feeling guilty about eating or preparing food low in nutritional value. Of course, food with a shorter shelf-life such as fruits, vegetables and dairy should be eaten first. Freezing left-overs from an iron-rich meal for another day is also a good idea.

3. Remember your fibre.
If possible, include vegetables, fruit and pulses in all meals. This will help you have a healthy intake of iron as well as fibre, which in turn, contributes towards a healthy digestive system and keeps you feeling fuller for longer.

  1. World Health Organization. Food and nutrition tips during self-quarantine. Available at: https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-emergencies/coronavirus-covid-19/technical-guidance/food-and-nutrition-tips-during-self-quarantine#. Accessed: June 2020
  2. Healthline. Fresh vs Frozen fruit and vegetables – Which are healthier? June 2017. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fresh-vs-frozen-fruit-and-vegetables#section4. Accessed: June 2020
  3. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Your Guide to Anemia. September 2011. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/blood/anemia-yg.pdf. Accessed: June 2020.