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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.

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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

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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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