Iron is one of the most important minerals, with its essential function to transport oxygen through the blood and to provide energy for daily life. There are so many foods high in iron that are worth being included in your diet.
Iron-deficiency anemia, as the most common form of anemia, is a decrease in the number of red blood cells caused by too little iron. Without sufficient iron, your body can’t produce enough hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that helps them carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. The end result is strong feeling of weakness, tiredness and irritation.
This is particularly noticeable among children and pregnant women. So, this is really bad thing, since the mineral is involved in a number of important body functions. Besides producing red blood cells, it also helps in keeping our skin, hair, and nails healthy. The solution to this issue is to consume more foods high in iron, or to take supplements along with the food. The recommended daily intake of iron for adult women is 18 milligrams, while men only need 8 milligrams.
There are two types of iron: Heme iron from animal sources and non-heme iron from plant sources. The most important difference between these two types of iron is that heme iron is more easily absorbed into the body. That’s why it is recommended for vegetarians to consume two times more iron each day than non-vegetarians.
In order to absorb the most iron from the food, avoid drinking coffee or tea, or consuming calcium-rich foods or drinks with meals containing iron-rich foods. Instead, eat foods high in iron along with an excellent source of vitamin C (broccoli, strawberries, or orange juice), or combine foods that have both types of iron – nonheme and heme iron (meat, fish or poultry).
Top 10 Foods High in Iron
Here are 10 foods high in iron that can help you provide your body with the sufficient amount of this incredible mineral:
Clams deserve to be on the top of our list because they provide us with the most iron. Three ounces of them provide us with surprisingly 24 mg of iron and only 126 calories, which is really stunning. They are a king of the super foods as they are also a top source of potassium and Vitamin B12.
Both raw and cooked spinach are great sources of iron, but the second one helps your body absorb its nutrients more easily. Just one single cup of cooked spinach gives you more than 6 mg of iron –not to mention the other nutrients like protein, fiber, calcium, and vitamins A and E.
As a non-heme iron source it’s especially beneficial when combined with vitamin C-rich foods, like veggies. This leafy green is not favorite one when it comes to its taste, especially among kids, but it’s definitely worth consuming on a regular basis.
Sesame seeds are one of the best foods high in iron. These oil seeds not only contain 20 mg of iron per cup, but also provide us with other essential nutrients like copper, phosphorus, vitamin E, and zinc.
The easiest way to incorporate sesame seed into your diet is to add them to a salad: a tablespoon sprinkled on the salad will add more than 1 mg of iron to your daily count.
Although two large eggs have only 2 mg iron (which is 10 percent daily value of iron), the iron found in them is a perfect mix of both sources of iron – heme and non-heme.
Eggs may not contain a huge amount of iron, but when it comes to nutrients they provide us with a variety of them, so every little bit adds up over the course of a day.
Did you know that this famous snack is packed with iron? One cup of whole seeds contains about 2 mg iron, while a cup of the kernels alone contains an amazing 10 mg, which is a great and easy way to add an iron boost to a variety of dishes.
Whole Grain Oats
If a bowl of cereal is your breakfast of choice, you’re on the right way of getting your daily dose of iron in less than a cup (precisely ¾ cup).
Whole grain plain oats, combined with fruit, nuts, or nut butter instead of sugar is the best way to start your day.
This amazing pleasure gives our brain a boost in cognitive thinking skills, helps our bodies regulate the level of the stress hormone cortisol, and reduces the risk of heart disease.
We need to consume dark chocolate made from at least 70 percent cacao and also we shouldn’t eat more than 1.5 ounce, because it provides us with almost 20 percent of our daily iron intake.
Cooked lentils offer up over 6 mg of iron per cup, and are also loaded with potassium, folate, antioxidants and fiber that lowers cholesterol, and keeps blood sugar levels stable.
Lentils are also incredibly versatile ingredient in so many recipes, making an amazing addition in salads, soups and many other dishes.
Red meat is the best choice for you – the darker the flesh, the higher the iron content. Beef steak is a really good source of absorbable iron, 5 ounces (or 150 gr) have 5.5 mg iron, which is really valuable, due to the many other benefits it gives us.
All kinds of beans are an incredible source of iron, offering from 3 to 7 mg per cup. They also help with bowel movements thanks to its large amount of fiber.
The best ways to incorporate beans into meals are following: combine them with kale, broccoli, and cauliflower which are rich in vitamin C. Add beans to a salad or eat with raw veggies – there are endless possibilities!
There are many foods high in iron, so you just need to make the perfect combination in order to get the best of them, and to provide your body with the most important nutrients regularly. Share with us your favorite iron-reach food in the comments section bellow.