Nutrition Watch

Blood is a vital bodily fluid and is the carrier of substances around the body.

Various nutrients are required for the production of healthy blood, and red meat can provide many of these, including protein, iron, and vitamins B12 and B6.

Folate is also required, and liver is a source of this important B vitamin.

One of the key components of blood is the red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body for other cells to use. Red blood cells contain the red substance haemoglobin. They are produced in the bone marrow and consist mainly of proteins and iron.

Key nutrients for their production are:

Iron - there are two forms of iron in the diet, with iron in the haem form being well absorbed, while non-haem iron is poorly absorbed. Red meat contains iron in the haem form while that in cereals and vegetables is in the non-haem form.

B12, B6 and folate - are needed for the formation of red blood cells in the bone marrow. Vitamin B12 is only found in foods of animal origin and meat, particularly liver, is considered to be a concentrated source. About 34% of the B12 in the average diet comes from meat and meat products. Vitamin B6 is also found in red meat, contributing about 21% of intake. Folate or folic acid is also important in the formation of red blood cells and liver is again considered a concentrated source.

Protein - is well-known to be found in red meat.

A lack of nutrients can result in various forms of anaemia and red meat and liver can play an important role in providing these important nutrients for maintaining healthy blood.

Mabel Blade, nutritionist

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