Iron is needed to prevent anaemia.

It is also required for the formation of haemoglobin. This is present in red blood cells and helps them transport oxygen around the body.


There are two types of iron – haem and non-haem.


Haem iron comes from animal sources, which are more easily absorbed by the body. These include:

  • red meat
  • liver
  • eggs
  • fish

Non-haem iron comes from plant sources, and is more difficult for the body to absorb. In fact, it needs vitamin C to help absorption. Sources of non-haem iron include:

  • green leafy vegetables – such as broccoli and cabbage
  • fortified breakfast cereals
  • wholegrains
Green, leafy vegetables including cabbage


Iron deficiency is called anaemia. This is common in teenage girls as they begin menstruation.