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In developed countries, due to high content and bioavailability, red and processed meats are the main sources of iron in the diet. Adequate intake of this nutrient is essential for the proper development and functioning of the human body, and its deficiencies are associated mainly with the occurrence of anemia, which is one of the most widespread nutritional problems in the world. However, excessive intake of iron can be detrimental to health. Studies have shown that high consumption of red meat and its products, and thereby iron, particularly in the form of heme, increases the risk of non-communicable diseases, including cancers, type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Due to the high nutritional value, the presence of red meat in the diet is preferable, but according to World Cancer Research Fund International its consumption should not exceed 500g per week. Furthermore, there are several potential ways to suppress the toxic effects of heme iron in the diet. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Małgorzata Czerwonka, Andrzej Tokarz. Iron in red meat-friend or foe. Meat science. 2017 Jan;123:157-165

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PMID: 27744145

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