Top Most Iron Rich Foods to Include in Your Diet
Iron is very important for your body to function normally. Haemoglobin in the blood, which carries oxygen to different parts of the body, is made up of iron. Iron is also a component in many of the enzymes and proteins present in the body. The functioning of the immune system also requires iron. Iron is needed for drug detoxification pathways n the liver as well.
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When the body has less than the required amount of iron, you suffer from iron deficiency. One of the symptoms of iron deficiency is anemia, which shows on the body in various ways like tiredness, low energy, dizziness, lethargy, pale complexion, peeling of the skin and peeling nails. Other symptoms are headache, forceful and rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, fatigue, weakness, brittle hair, breathing problems, pain in the abdomen, lack of sleep or disturbed sleep and vulnerability to infections. Too much of iron is also not good for your body. It may lead to the production of free radicals in the body and may also upset metabolism, leading to damage of the heart and the liver.
Vegetables as well animals are good sources of iron. Heme iron is present in fish, meat and poultry. This form of iron is easily absorbed by the body. Plants contain non-heme iron. While human body absorbs up to 30% of heme iron, only 2 to 10% of non-heme iron is absorbed by the body.
It is estimated that an adult man requires 10 mg of iron, while an adult woman requires 15 mg of iron per day. Pregnant ladies require more iron, about 30 mg per day.
Why Women Need Iron Rich Food During Pregnancy:
During pregnancy the amount of blood in your body increases almost double the amount you had originally. So the body requires more iron to produce more haemoglobin. Extra iron is also essential for the proper growth of the fetus and the placenta, particularly in the second and third trimesters. So, you have take in more iron when you are pregnant, to make sure that the mother as well as the baby get enough oxygen. If the body lacks iron during pregnancy, it may lead to premature delivery, infant mortality and low birth rate. Have a healthy diet which includes foods rich in iron. This way you can make sure that your body gets enough iron throughout the pregnancy.
Some of the Rich Sources of Iron are:
Brown rice is good for your health and is an excellent source of iron as well as fiber.
By consuming half a cup of beans, you will get about 10% of the iron that you require per day. Various types of beans that are rich in iron are kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas and black eyed pea. Black bean is also a rich source of molybdenum, which is a mineral that enables easy absorption of iron by the body and also helps in the functioning of enzymes. Consuming one cup of black eyed peas provides you one fourth of the iron required by the body daily. Kidney beans provide you energy and also reduce the risk of heart attacks.
Clam is one of the best animal sources of iron. By consuming 3 ounces of clam, you will get 24 mg of iron and 126 calories. Potassium and Vitamin B12 are also found in high quantities in clam.
Dark green vegetables:
Dark green vegetables like spinach, collard and arugula are excellent sources of iron. By consuming one cup of cooked spinach you get 3.2 mg of iron and 21 calories. It is also rich in Vitamin C, which makes iron absorption easy. Other minerals, vitamins and nutrients are also found in abundance in this leafy vegetable.
Having 100 gm of dark chocolates provides you 35% of the iron that you require per day. It is also beneficial for lowering blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Egg is a rich source of iron. By having 2 eggs daily, you get 8 % of the daily requirement of iron. Egg has heme iron, which is easily absorbed by the body. It also helps the body in absorbing non-heme iron present in vegetables.
Salmon, cuttle fish, veal and sardines are store houses of iron. Salmon is known as the super food and is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which prevent clotting of blood and reduce the risk of stroke.
Grains like barley, millet, buckwheat and quinoa are rich sources of iron. Grains served with vegetables rich in Vitamin C enhance the absorption of iron by the body.
By taking half cup of lentils, you get 4 mg of iron and 115 calories.
Consuming meat helps in increasing the haemoglobin in the blood. Beef, chicken, lamb, pork, lean sirloin and ham are rich sources of iron.
Nuts like pine nuts, cashew, sesame nuts, macadamia, almonds and hazelnuts are rich sources of iron.
By having 3 ounces of oyster, you get 10.5 mg of iron and 117 calories. It is also a rich source of Vitamin B12.
You get 1 mg of iron from a handful of pumpkin seeds. They are best when eaten raw. Pumpkin seeds also prevent the production of gallstone.
Soybean is full of minerals, protein, fiber and minerals like zinc and iron. One cup of boiled soybeans is enough to give you half the iron that is required by the body per day. Tofu and tempeh, which are soy products, provide you 15% iron per 3 ounce. Vitamin C present in soybean helps in the easy absorption of iron by the body.
Whole wheat pasta:
Whole wheat pasta is a good source of iron as well as other minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium.
Some of the other food products that are rich in iron are sweet potato, molasses, dried fruits, broccoli, peas, strawberries, sunflower seeds, kale, tomatoes and oatmeal.