Iron is a vital mineral contained in your blood which is essential for providing oxygen to all the tissues and organs. If your body lacks iron it might have an affect on your overall health and result in:
- Chronic fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Brittle nails and hair
- Cold hands and feet
- Pale skin
If you experience at least three of these symptoms, you can turn to your primary care physician and perform certain blood tests in order to check your iron levels.
Iron plays a key role in a lot of reactions, which are involved in metabolism. This mineral is responsible for physical condition, brain function as well as the immune system. To stay healthy, you need to get 10–20 mg of iron every day. Pregnant women and those who regularly donate blood need to get 28 mg per day.
You need to know that the human body cannot synthesize iron on its own. You can only get it with food. That is why we have compiled a list of ingredients that are high in iron. Try to consume at least some of them daily to reduce the risk of iron deficiency anemia and other health problems.
Spinach is one of the most popular iron-rich foods. The favorite leafy vegetable of Popeye the sailor contains 3.6 mg of iron per 100 g. Moreover, spinach contains a lot of magnesium and calcium. It’s essential for bone and skin health and may be used as a prevention of cancer, asthma, and heart diseases. In order to improve iron absorption, combine spinach with vitamin-C-rich food.
2. Oysters, mussels and other seafood
100 grams of mollusks contain about 28 mg of iron, which is even more than recommended for daily intake. Moreover, the iron contained in mollusks is heme which means that this mineral is of animal origin. It’s digested 15-30% better than the non-heme iron which you get from plant foods. In addition, mussels contain a lot of protein (up to 26 g per 100 grams), a huge amount of vitamin B12, vitamin C, and other essential nutrients.
Legumes are considered as a perfect source of iron for vegetarians and vegans. Boiled beans, chickpeas, peas, soybeans and, lentils contain about 3.3 mg of iron per 100 grams on average. This is non-heme iron but in order to improve its absorption, you can consume legumes with food high in vitamin C.
4. Liver and other meat by-products
100 g of beef or chicken liver contains approximately 6.5 mg of iron. In addition to iron, meat by-products are rich in protein, vitamin A, B vitamins and choline (the most important nutrient for liver and brain health).
5. Pumpkin Seeds
100 g of pumpkin seeds contains 13 mg of iron. This iron is non-heme, therefore eat pumpkin seeds along with foods high in vitamin C.
Pumpkin seeds are also one of the best sources of magnesium which is an essential mineral that helps fight depression, lowers blood pressure, has anti-inflammatory benefits, reduces insulin resistance, and helps prevent migraines.
6. Dark Chocolate
50 g of dark chocolate will provide you with about 6.5 mg of iron. Actually, dark chocolate is a powerful source of antioxidants that may reduce the risk of heart diseases, protect your skin from UV-rays, improve brain function and blood flow, and decrease blood pressure. It is also advised to choose dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content.
7. Red Meat
100 g of red meat contains 2.7 mg of iron. Moreover, iron in red meat is heme which means that, our body absorbs it readily. On top of that, red meat is a very nutritious food that may provide you with bone strength, retention of muscle mass, and increased metabolic rate.
Tofu soy is quite popular in Asia and among vegetarians and is a great source of iron. 100 grams of tofu contains about 3 mg of a micronutrient. In addition, tofu has a lot of protein, thiamine (vitamin B1), as well as calcium, magnesium, and selenium. This superfood increases “good” cholesterol levels, decreases the risk of high blood pressure and heart diseases and prevents liver damage, osteoporosis, and age-related brain diseases.