Nutrient Spotlight: Iron

steakToday’s post focuses on iron, a nutrient that has many different roles in the body. About 65 to 75 percent of the body’s iron is in the blood in the form of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen to tissues in the body (1). Iron also helps our muscles store and use oxygen. A lack of iron affects many parts of the body.

Iron deficiency can lead to anemia when the iron stores in the body become depleted causing the hemoglobin synthesis to be inhibited. According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world (2). Iron deficiency has many causes – most of which fall into one of two categories:

  • Increased iron needs – due to rapid growth, pregnancy in women, blood loss
  • Decreased iron intake or absorption – lack of heme iron sources in the diet

Signs of anemia include: feeling tired and weak, a noticeable lack of stamina, headaches, insomnia and a loss of appetite. All of these symptoms are associated with a decreased oxygen supply to tissues and organs. Iron also plays a role in the immune system – people with lower iron levels have a lower resistance to infection.  Women lose twice as much iron as men and are more likely to be deficient, particularly during child-bearing years. Male endurance athletes and vegetarian athletes may also be at an increased risk for iron deficiency.

To meet the recommendations for dietary iron, it is important to eat a variety of foods. One large egg contains 0.9 mg of iron, which is found entirely in the yolk. Other sources of iron include red meat, dark and leafy greens, dried fruit and poultry. Eating iron-rich foods in combination with foods that provide plenty of vitamin C can increase absorption (3). When possible, combine multiple sources of iron to ensure proper intake. The below recipe combines eggs, beef and romaine for a quick and easy meal that provides 3.5 mg, 19% of the daily value, of iron.

Zesty Summer Steak Salad

Makes 4 servings


  • 1 beef top sirloin steak, cut 3/4-inch thick (about 1 lb.)3 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 tbsp. Mrs. Dash® Garlic & Herb Seasoning Blend
  • 1 medium sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 6 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
  • New York Style® Sea Salt Bagel Crisps®
  • Dressing:
    • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
    • 2 tbsp. honey
    • 1 tbsp. olive oil
    • 2 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 tsp. Mrs. Dash® Garlic & Herb Seasoning Blend


  • COMBINE dressing ingredients in small bowl. RESERVE 1/3 cup dressing for salad. BRUSH remaining dressing on onion slices. Line four greased 10-ounce ramekins or custard cups with ham, pressing against bottoms and sides. Divide egg mixture among ramekins; place in baking pan.
  • PRESS 1 tablespoon seasoning blend evenly onto beef steak. Place steak in center of grid over medium, ash covered coals; arrange onion slices around steak. GRILL steak, covered, 7 to 11 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, covered, 8 to 13 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally. GRILL onion 10 to 12 minutes (gas grill times remain the same) or until tender, turning occasionally.
  • CARVE beef into slices. Arrange lettuce on serving platter. TOP with steak slices, tomatoes, onions and eggs. DRIZZLE with reserved 1/3 cup dressing. Serve with Bagel Crisps® as desired.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 321, Total Fat: 13g, Saturated fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated fat: 0g, Monounsaturated fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 235mg, Sodium: 136mg, Carbohydrates: 15g, Dietary Fiber: 2.3g, Protein: 34g, Vitamin A: 0IU, Vitamin D: 0IU, Folate: 0mcg, Calcium: 0mg, Iron: 3.5mg, Choline: 235.4mg


(1) Iron and Iron Deficiency. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Retrieved from

(2) Micronutrient deficiencies. Iron deficiency anaemia. Retrieved from

(3) Top 10 Iron-Rich Foods. WebMd. Retrieved from