Foods that are High in Iron: Excellent Source for Iron Deficiency
Foods that are high in iron, we need to eat to have an extraordinary amount of oxygen in our blood cells. And also at the same time to remove the carbon dioxide in our body. Iron is one of the critical nutrients in our body. As you will read along, you will know the significance of this nutrient to our health!
Foods that are high in iron serve its purpose by helping our cells produce energy. In this way, our body can function full time without feeling fatigued, weak, and low. These are the negative results if we have an iron deficiency. Iron deficiency is a health condition that happens when the iron stored in our body becomes so low to the point that our red blood cells cannot carry enough oxygen.
Many of us can be a victim of iron deficiency. Even at a young age, you can experience a lack of iron in your body. Iron deficiency is reversible and preventable. To prevent the defect, you will need to consume foods that are high in iron content. However, if your iron deficiency needs treatment, you will need to consult your doctor for proper medical recommendation.
Importance of Iron
Also, iron has a significant role in the brain development and growth of the baby. If born premature, iron supplements can be given to a baby after six months. Most infant formulas are made with fortified iron. But the need for our body for iron nutrients increases as we grow older.
How can we know the amount of iron that our body needs? There is what we call the recommended allowance of iron for our collection. It varies according to our age and sex (female or male). For instance, children from ages 1 to 3 years old, 7 mg of iron should be consumed daily. Then for children from ages 4 to 8 years old, more iron is needed, about 10 mg, to support growth. But when they reached between 9 to 13 years old, they will need 8 mg. For teenagers of 14 to 18 years old, give them 11 mg. of iron for male and 15 mg. for female. Then males above 19 years old can have 8 mg, but females between 19-50 years old will need 18 mg. And females above 51 years old need to reduce their intake of iron to only 8 mg.
To supply our body with enough iron nutrients, some foods are high in iron. Iron nutrients are the primary component of protein—hemoglobin and myoglobin. It is a trace mineral found in every living cell that carries and holds oxygen. Hemoglobin is the part of the red blood cell which carries oxygen to the body’s tissue while myoglobin is the part of the muscle cells that hold oxygen.
Other than that, iron has two types – heme and non-heme. Foods that are high in iron, which includes meat seafood, chicken, turkey, meat and fish, are covered under heme types while non-heme contains plant-based iron like vegetables, tofu, nuts, and some grains.
Health benefits of Iron in our body
Keeping adequate amounts of iron has many health benefits that are fundamental to our body’s daily activities. We will provide here the primary health benefits that we can get from iron.
Keeping our body energize all the time.
Our body needs the energy to do and think about things each day. If we have a sufficient amount of iron in our body, we can produce the right amount of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. So our body will not struggle to transport oxygen to our brain, tissues, muscles, and cells. With enough oxygen in our body, we can have the energy we need.
Also, iron promotes the metabolic enzyme processes that our body carries out to digest proteins and absorb nutrients from food. Unable to do this can result in iron deficiency, which causes exhaustion, trouble being active and many symptoms.
Promotes Muscles Functions
Iron can be found in blood and muscles. Other than energy, iron helps our muscles to have strength, which enables our body muscles to move in various ways we want. As part of the protein that we mentioned earlier in this article, the iron in our muscles is called myoglobin. Myoglobin is the primary cells that hold oxygen in our muscles. With adequate amounts of iron in our tissues, we can efficiently perform our daily tasks.
Improves Brain Functions
Since iron delivers oxygen to our body, it can give enough oxygen to our brain. And what our brains primarily need is oxygen, which iron can provide. Enough oxygen in our brains can improve memory, increase productivity and make us more attentive. Inadequate oxygen levels in the brain, especially to children, can result in irritability and restlessness. It also affects their class performance and social behavior. Children’s poor learning and memory deficits should be addressed immediately with iron. There is no particular age where iron deficiency can be experienced. But if we want to improve brain functions, let’s consume the recommended daily allowance of iron.
Support Healthy Pregnancy
But for pregnant women, the daily recommended iron is 27 mg. This amount of iron can be found in prenatal multivitamin which supports the fetus and placenta. Other than iron, pregnant women should consume healthy fats and folic acid. Foods with high iron can prevent the risk of maternal and infant mortality in pregnant women during pregnancy. Premature birth and low birth weight can also be avoided if we have adequate amounts of iron.
Source of Iron
Foods high in iron are the safest source which we can enjoy the health benefits of iron. Taking the daily recommendations of iron intake can provide us with the nutrients that our body need for optimal results.
So, what food are high in iron? Below you can find our top iron food list for plant-based iron food sources and other foods high in iron.
One of the plant-based iron-rich foods that we have is spirulina. It is a blue-green algae with intense flavor but has a robust nutrition profile. One ounce of spirulina has 8 mg of iron. Along with it are essential amino acids and vitamins.
In addition to foods with high iron are chickpeas, which you can get 5.4 mg from the one-half cup in canned form. Also known as garbanzo beans, you can enjoy it with food recipes like hummus, salads, soups and pasta dishes. You can also roast chickpeas for a crispy snack.
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Also, getting iron from dark green vegetables can provide iron that your body needs. For example, Swiss chard can provide 4 mg of iron from a single cup. Though there has been an assumption that green leafy vegetables contain a high amount of oxalates, which prevent iron absorption. Researches show that it can still provide iron. According to a study, by discarding the water content from it will reduce the oxalates by up to 90%. In this way, you will consider Swiss chard, beet greens, collards, and kale as foods with high in iron.
You can also choose spinach which can provide you with 3.2 mg of iron for a half cup cooked. So wonder no more if Popeye got stronger whenever he ate spinach. You can eat spinach raw. But you can have more iron if you eat it cooked.
One choice for rich iron foods is legumes. Legumes like lentils can provide as much as 3.3 mg of iron from a half cup of it. Another nutrient we can get from lentils is protein.
Dark chocolate comes from cocoa, which gives 3.3 mg of iron from an ounce of serving. So, the chocolate lover can have one good excuse for eating it. You will not only satisfy your cravings, but you can have your iron source daily.
Then you can try tofu or soybean curd. You can get 2 mg of iron from 2 ounces of extra firm tofu. The process of making tofu is coagulating soy milk and pressing it into cubes. It has no flavor so you can add it to any recipes you like. Bake it; crumble it with egg for breakfast, or even tossing some of it into soups and pasta dishes.
Aside from plant-based iron food source, rich iron foods come in the form of meat. When you opt for beef as a source of iron, make sure you go for organic.
For instance, you can have beef liver and get 4 mg of iron from 3 ounces of serving. Foods with high in iron for heme type, the liver can be the best solution to have iron sufficiency in our body. It also has folate and vitamin B12. When combined to iron, you can overcome the iron deficiency in the most natural way.
Not a fan of the beef liver? Then your option will be a lean strip steak, about 214 grams. You can have 4 mg of iron from it. Make sure the steak you are going to purchase is grass-fed, not grain-fed. The advantage of taking in grass-fed steak is having a higher amount of nutrients and vitamins. Grass-fed can provide vitamins A and E with cancer-fighting antioxidants. So, no wonder many chose grass-fed beef.
Too much iron, Too risky?
What will you do if your iron levels exceed normal? One simple way to counter this is through blood donation.
You can donate blood if you are cleared from most diseases. Only then you can give 8 ounces of your blood. Before blood donation, make sure you have enough sleep. During the donation, wear comfortable clothes.
Tips on Getting the Right Amount of Iron
If you have iron-related diseases like anemia and hemophilia, you should check out our tips on what to avoid and the right food to consume.
On the other hand, hemophilia is a rare disorder. You can develop it, or you have genetically acquired it. Either way, this condition is when your blood does not get clot usually because it lacks sufficient blood-clotting proteins. It is the clotting factors that you need, and without it, you can develop hemophilia over time.
Another health condition related to iron deficiency is anemia. Symptoms of anemia are similar to common diseases like dizziness, coldness in hands and feet and headache. But if you have observed that you have pale skin, shortness of breath, chest pain and weakness—then maybe it’s time to know if you have anemia.
To avoid these iron deficiency disorders, you will need foods with high in iron. So here are the tips that we can share with you.
Eating foods high in vitamin C will help the absorption of iron in our body. Vitamin C foods are citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Then you can eat the combination of heme and non-heme source of iron to boost your iron consumption daily. But you are not exceeding the recommended.
When it comes to supplements, taking iron supplements will help support your daily recommended allowance. But avoid taking it with your calcium supplements. Give your body some times to absorb each supplement, not at the same time.
If you really want to boost your iron levels, you have to avoid caffeine products like soda, coffee and black tea. Though black tea and coffee can be a source of some nutrients, choose low caffeine content so that it will not interfere with your iron absorption.
The art of consuming foods with high iron
Indeed, foods with high iron are essential for our body to have an extraordinary amount of oxygen. Like other nutrients, we need to consume an adequate amount of iron, and it should be within the range of the daily recommended for more promising results.
To remind you that prevention at a young age and to eat nutritious foods over time lead us to be fit and healthy. We can avoid serious health problems and learning some ways to improve your eating lifestyle.
Many have great desires to be physically fit and healthy. To be in good shape while indulging mindlessly with junk foods can harm your health eventually. So eat foods high in iron.