Iron content of Cambodian foods when prepared in cooking pots containing an iron ingot

Trop Med Int Health. 2011 Dec;16(12):1518-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2011.02878.x. Epub 2011 Sep 9.


Objectives: To investigate the effect of cooking with an iron ingot on the iron content of several water and Cambodian food preparations.

Methods: Various food and water samples were prepared, in replicate, in glass and aluminium pots with and without an iron ingot. The samples were subjected to iron content analysis using standard ICP-OES procedures.

Results: Prepared with an ingot, the iron content was 76.3 μg iron/g higher in lemon water, 32.6 μg iron/g higher in pork soup and 3.3 μg iron/g higher in fish soup, than in the same foods prepared without an ingot. Acidity of the food samples was positively associated with iron leaching.

Conclusions: Even when taking into account the low bioavailability of contaminant iron, approximately 75% of the daily iron requirement can be met by consuming 1L of lemon water prepared with an iron ingot. Its use may be a cheap and sustainable means of improving iron intake for those with iron-deficient diets.

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum
  • Cambodia
  • Cooking / methods*
  • Cooking and Eating Utensils
  • Food Analysis*
  • Glass
  • Humans
  • Iron / analysis*
  • Trace Elements / analysis*
  • Water / analysis*


  • Trace Elements
  • Water
  • Aluminum
  • Iron