Red meat - Fitness Foods for women - Women's Health & Fitness

1. Lean red meat

Lean red meat is an excellent source of iron, zinc, protein and vitamin B12. Iron deficiency is a very common problem for women and may lead to anaemia. Symptoms include tiredness and fatigue due to a lack of oxygen in the blood and other body tissues including muscles. It is very difficult to keep active or perform optimally if you are anaemic.

Female athletes are at a particularly high risk of iron deficiency irrespective of the type or intensity of exercise. While there are many physiological factors involved in female athletes’ vulnerability to iron deficiency, low dietary intake of iron is a major factor.

The Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) of iron for menstruating women aged 19-50 years is 18mg per day. Iron from animal foods like red meat is more easily absorbed than iron from plant foods, with 100g of red meat containing about 3-4g of iron.

Generally, the redder the meat, the higher the iron. For example, 100g of liver contains about 10g of iron, whereas 100g of pork has only 1g of iron. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend red meat to be eaten three to four times per week, especially for women and athletes, to maximise iron absorption.
Diet tip: Combine red meat meals with dark green leafy vegetables to enhance plant iron absorption.