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Eye on Iron: Cast Iron Skillet

Due to our complex biology and Aunt Ruby's monthly visit, women need more iron than men. Adult women should aim for 18 milligrams of iron a day, and an easy way to boost your iron intake is to cook with a cast iron skillet.


Acidic and watery foods cooked in a cast iron skillet will absorb iron molecules from the pan, and this a safe way to meet your recommended daily allowance of the important mineral. There are a couple of caveats, though. The more you use your skillet the less iron your food will absorb, because a well-seasoned pan will have a thin layer of fat coating the pan. This seasoning will interfere with some of the iron absorption. The other is taste. The longer food cooks in a iron skillet, the more likely it is to take on a metallic taste from the pan. That being said, see how much you can increase your iron when you read more.

Researchers found that the iron in one serving of tomato sauce increased from under one milligram to almost 6 mg when cooked in an iron pan. The iron in scrambled eggs increased from 1.5 mg to 5 mg. Most surprising is applesauce. A 100-gram serving (about a quarter of a pound) went from .35 mg of iron to over 7 mg when cooked in cast iron. Do you use a cast iron skillet?

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