Healthy Foods That Are Very High In Iron, Iron is a mineral that serves numerous integral functions in the body, with the primary function being a supply of oxygen throughout the body and making red blood cells.
Being an essential nutrient, iron must be obtained from food, with the recommended daily intake (RDI) being 18mg. A deficiency can occur if your iron intake is too low compared to what you use up every day.
Iron deficiency is associated with anemia and is manifested by symptoms like fatigue. Menstruating women who do not take iron-rich foods are more prone to iron deficiency.
Here’s a look into 11 iron-rich foods:
While all shellfish are rich in iron, oysters, mussels, and clams are excellent sources.
For example, a 100-gram serving of clams will give you 28 mg of iron, translating to 155% of the RDI. Moreover, most of this iron is heme iron, which is absorbed more easily by the body than non-heme iron in plants.
Likewise, a serving of clams provides 26 grams of protein, 37% of vitamin C’s RDI, as well as a staggering 1648% of the vitamin B12 RDI. Shellfish have also been shown to raise HDL cholesterol levels in your blood.
There may be genuine concerns about toxins and mercury in particular types of fish and shellfish, but the benefits of seafood consumption far outweigh the risks.
With its very few calories, spinach delivers a plethora of health benefits. From 100 grams of cooked spinach, you’ll derive 3.6 mg of iron, translating to 20% of the RDI. Spinach is also abundant in vitamin C, which substantially boosts iron absorption.
It’s also rich in carotenoids, which are antioxidants that minimize the risk of cancer, alleviate inflammation, and protect your eyes from disease. Eating spinach and other leafy greens with fat improves your body’s ability to absorb the antioxidants, and therefore it’s advisable to eat healthy fat, like olive oil, with your spinach.
Liver and Other Organ Meats
Organ meats are very nutritious and high in iron. They include:
For instance, a 100-gram serving of beef liver provides 6.5 mg of the liver (36% of the RDI). These meats are also rich in protein, B-vitamins, selenium, and copper. The liver is especially rich in vitamin A, delivering a whopping 634% of the RDI per serving.
Moreover, organ meats are among the leading sources of choline, a vital nutrient for liver and brain health that many individuals don’t get enough of.
The most common types of legumes include lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas, soybeans, all of which are loaded with nutrients. They’re an excellent source of iron, particularly for vegetarians. A cup of cooked lentils contains 6.6 mg of iron or 36% of the RDI.
Legumes are also abundant in magnesium, potassium, and folate. Studies have also revealed that beans and other legumes can alleviate inflammation in diabetes patients. Likewise, legumes can lower the risk of heart disease for individuals with metabolic syndrome.
Moreover, legumes can help you lose weight, thanks to their high soluble fiber content. This increases feelings of fullness and minimizes calorie intake.
To maximize iron absorption, you are advised to consume legumes with vitamin C-rich foods like greens, tomatoes, or citrus fruits.
Red meat is gratifying and nutritious. A 100-gram serving of ground beef delivers 27 mg of iron, translating to 15% of the RDI.
Meat is also packed with protein, selenium, zinc, and several B-vitamins. Researchers claim that people who regularly consume meat, fish, and poultry are less likely to suffer iron deficiency.
Red meat is perhaps the single most readily available source of heme iron, making it an essential food for individuals at higher risk of anemia.
These are delicious, portable snacks. A 28-gram serving of pumpkin seeds will give you 4.2 mg of iron, or 23% of the RDI. They are also a rich source of zinc, manganese, and vitamin K.
Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of magnesium, which many individuals are deficient in. You’ll get 37% of the magnesium RDI from a single serving of pumpkin seeds. This helps minimize the risk of insulin resistance, depression, and diabetes.
A cup of cooked quinoa provides 2.8 mg of iron, translating to 15% of the RDI. Moreover, quinoa doesn’t contain gluten, making it an ideal choice for individuals with celiac disease or other kinds of gluten intolerance.
It’s also higher in protein compared to numerous other grains. Likewise, it’s rich in magnesium, folate, manganese, copper, and several other nutrients.
Furthermore, quinoa has more antioxidant effects than any other grain. The antioxidants help protect your cells from free-radical damage.
Turkey meat is a portion of healthy and tasty food. It is also an excellent source of iron. A 100-gram piece of dark turkey meat carries 2.3 mg of iron, translating to 13% of the RDI. Conversely, you’ll get 1.3 mg of iron from the same quantity of white turkey meat.
Moreover, turkey contains several B-vitamins and minerals, including 58% of the selenium RDI and 30% zinc RDI.
Additionally, turkey contains a whopping 29 grams of protein per serving. Consumption of protein-rich foods like turkey may help with weight loss since protein makes you feel full and raises your metabolic rate after having a meal.
Likewise, high protein intake can help limit the muscles that come about during weight loss and part of the aging process.
A 1-cup serving of cooked broccoli provides 1 mg of iron (6% of the RDI), making it a reasonably good source. It also contains 168% of the vitamin C RDI, which increases iron absorption in your body.
Additionally, a single serving of broccoli is rich in folate and delivers 6 grams of fiber. Also, it contains vitamin K.
Broccoli belongs to cruciferous vegetables, together with kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. These vegetables contain sulforaphane, glucosinolates, and indole, which are plant compounds known to be protective against cancer.
This is soy-based food, which is popular among vegetarians, as well as in some Asian countries.
A 126-gram serving gives you 3.6 mg of iron or 19% of the RDI. It also delivers 20 grams of protein per serving. Tofu is also a rich source of thiamin, calcium, selenium, and magnesium.
It also contains isoflavones, which are compounds associated with increased insulin sensitivity, a lower risk of heart disease, and relief from menopausal symptoms.
Besides being nutritious, dark chocolate is exceptionally delicious. A 28-gram serving provides 3.3 mg of iron, translating to 19% of the RDI. The serving also provides 16% of the RDI for magnesium and 25% of the RDI for copper.
Moreover, it contains prebiotic fiber that nourishes the good bacteria in your gut. Studies have also revealed that it has excellent effects on cholesterol and may minimize heart attack and stroke risks.
The beneficial effects of chocolate have been attributed to compounds known as flavanols, whose content is higher in dark chocolate than milk chocolate.
Hence, it’s advisable to eat chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa to derive the maximum benefits.
Iron is an essential mineral that should be consumed regularly. However, it’s important to note that some individuals need to limit their consumption of red meat and other foods rich in heme iron. Furthermore, if you don’t eat fish or meat, you can boost iron absorption by adding a source of vitamin C when consuming plant sources of iron.