Iron is very important for our body because it is included in many processes that happen inside the body. You can find iron in meat, seaweed, spices, and chocolate.
However, many people are still deficient in this mineral because the body can’t always assimilate it. The body isn’t able to easily absorb the iron from the food, transfer it through the body and store it.
An adult man needs a daily dose of 9mg of iron per day, whereas an adult woman and adolescents need 18mg per day.
Women should take around 10mg of iron while on their period, and 2mg while pregnant because the iron supports development of a healthy fetus and is important for breastfeeding.
People who lack iron may feel exhausted, fatigued, have week immunity, pale face, and reduced mental and physical performance. On the other hand, the condition of having too much iron in the blood is known as hemochromatosis.
Iron deficiency can occur due to:
- Diet low in iron, or poorly balanced vegetarian diet.
- Reduced iron absorption due to intestinal disorders such as IBS, or gluten intolerance.
- Increased need for iron in the case of breastfeeding or pregnancy.
- Loss of blood during childbirth or menstruation.
- Reduced bioavailability of iron due to excessive calcium supplement.
Here are the best 10 foods that contain plenty of iron and will help you to optimize the iron levels in the body:
Spinach contains low amount of calories, but plenty of iron, antioxidants, and vitamin A. The iron content increases when the spinach is cooked.
Tofu contains magnesium, calcium, selenium, and thiamine, and only 125g of tofu will give you 3.5mg of iron (20% of the recommended daily intake). Since it also contains isoflavones, it can also relieve menopausal symptoms, insulin sensitivity, and lower the risk of heart disease.
All nuts, as well as figs and dates contain iron. However, they also contain a lot of calories, which is why you should consume them in limited amounts. You can eat them raw, or blend them in your smoothies, salads, or desserts.
- Dark Chocolate
Only one bar of dark chocolate has 3.3mg of iron, which is 18% of the recommended daily intake. It also contains 15% of the recommended magnesium and 25% of the recommended copper intake.
Dark chocolate also contains a lot of prebiotic fibre that acts as a food for good bacteria that is found in the intestines. It can also regulate the levels of cholesterol and lower the risks of having heart issues and strokes.
You should always choose dark chocolate that has more than 70% of cocoa.
- Mung bean
All legumes contain high amounts of fibres, antioxidants, and carbs. However, Mung bean has the highest amount of iron, since you can get 1.8mg per 100g.
These beans also contain copper, zinc, and potassium, which are known to reduce the risks of developing colorectal cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. You should eat them couple of times per week.
Only 1000g of beetroot contain 1.8mg of iron, as well as magnesium, calcium, and betanin. It is excellent in preventing cancer, cleansing the blood, and supporting the function of the liver. It also contains high amount of folic acid that aids in better carb assimilation.
One portion of 100g contains 3.3mg of iron, and plenty of fibres that are excellent for digestion. Lentils also have a lot of magnesium and vitamin B which are great for athletes and pregnant women.
Broccoli has many nutrients and contain 1mg of iron in 100g. It contains vitamin C, which is the most important vitamin for iron absorption. It also contains folates, vitamin K, and other antioxidants that fight cancer.
Kale is full with many vitamins and nutrients, which even exceed the recommended daily amount. One portion of kale (100g) contain 2mg of iron (more than meat). Kale also has a lot of vitamin K that is helpful in the formation of strong bones and treating constipation. Kale also helps digestion, lowers the levels of cholesterol, and supports the health of the heart.
- Pumpkin seeds
The seeds from pumpkin contain plenty of zinc, magnesium, vitamin A, B, E, and F, phosphorus, and only 100g of the seeds have 3mg of iron and 35g of protein. Pumpkin seeds contain fatty acids, and its oil has more linoleic acid than olive oil.
However, you should stop eating foods that can inhibit the assimilation of iron, such as coffee, tea, and dairy. You should eat more foods high in vitamin C such as kiwi, lemons, orange, and tangerine.