Health Advice



Environmental Nutrition: Cast iron cooking helps provide additional iron to diet

UHN staff, Environmental Nutrition on

Published in Health & Fitness

Q: Does cooking in cast iron help with iron deficiency?

A: Iron is an essential nutrient and is needed to form proteins called hemoglobin (which carries oxygen to the body in red blood cells) and myoglobin (which carries and stores oxygen in your muscles). Iron deficiency causes symptoms like fatigue, weakness, lightheadedness, and confusion. Iron deficiency anemia affects 4 to 5 million Americans, most commonly occurring in women and children.

In third-world countries, where iron deficiency is even more common, there has been an increased interest in encouraging the use of iron cookware as a way to help offset this nutrient deficiency, as some of the mineral may enter the foods cooked within each vessel.

Researchers have determined that cooking with cast iron may actually help to increase the iron levels in your blood, but this varies greatly based on the age of the person, the size of the pot or pan, the type of food cooked, how long the food is cooked, and the age of the cookware itself. In short, although cast iron cookware may help provide additional iron, it is not a reliable substitute for diet or medically recommended supplements.


(Reprinted with permission from Environmental Nutrition, a monthly publication of Belvoir Media Group, LLC. 800-829-5384.

©2023 Belvoir Media Group. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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