Iron

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Iron as a dietary mineral can be found in red meat, lentils, beans, poultry, fish, leaf vegetables, watercress, tofu, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, blackstrap molasses, fortified bread, and fortified breakfast cereals. Iron in low amounts is found in molasses, teff and farina. Iron in meat (heme iron) is more easily absorbed than iron in vegetables. Iron provided by dietary supplements is often found as iron(II) fumarate, although iron sulfate is cheaper and is absorbed equally well. Elemental iron, or reduced iron, despite being absorbed at only one third to two thirds the efficiency (relative to iron sulfate), is often added to foods such as breakfast cereals or enriched wheat flour. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for iron varies considerably based on age, gender, and source of dietary iron. Infants may require iron supplements if they are bottle-fed cow's milk. Blood donors and pregnant women are at special risk of low iron levels and are often advised to supplement their iron intake.

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