Iron is an essential nutrient found in our body in trace amounts. It is required by the body to perform various complex processes at molecular and cellular level like production of red blood cell and is a part of hemoglobin and is used for transporting oxygen to all the cells of our body. Iron is also required in enzyme production and absorbing calcium from the food. Iron is lost from the body through sweating, urination and blood loss. Iron deficiency can cause anemia and make one susceptible to infections and illness. Chronic iron deficiency can even lead to organ failure. Iron deficiency is most common form of nutritional deficiency-especially seen among pregnant women, young girls who undergo menstruation and children.
People who suffer blood loss can also become deficient. It is best to get iron from food sources. There are two types of iron; Heme iron from animal sources and non-heme iron from plant sources.The Recommended dose for iron for any adult men is 10 mg and 15 mg for women. Pregnant ladies however require around 30 mg of iron per day. It is extremely important to maintain optimum level of hemoglobin in our body by consuming enough dietary iron in order to avoid suffering from anemia and various other associated conditions.Here are 10 iron-rich foods that can help you to get the recommended dose of iron you need according to your age, sex and condition.
Top 10 Iron Rich Foods To Boost Your Hemoglobin Levels:
Organ meats like liver are best sources of iron with added vitamins, minerals and protein. But liver should be eaten in moderation because it has been linked to high cholesterol. Besides liver, egg yolk and red meat are also good sources of iron.
Seafood like oysters, mussel, clams, squid and fish like salmon and tuna are high in iron and loaded with other important nutrient like zinc and vitamin B12. 3 ounces of oyster contains 117 calories and 10.5 mg of iron.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Spinach, collard, kale and arugula are excellent sources of iron. Incorporating them in your diet will provide a good boost in your iron level. Being loaded with vitamin C, they will also help to readily absorb iron. Spinach also contains several anti-cancer compounds that inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Just a cup of cooked spinach will give you 3.2 gram of iron. Collard greens also contain significant amount of iron, calcium and vitamin A and other cancer fighting elements.
A half-cup serving of beans can provide around 10% of your daily iron need. Add in your diet black beans, pinto beans, white kidney beans and chickpeas which are good sources of iron. Chickpeas and other beans not only provide sufficient iron but are also rich in protein and fiber which boost the energy levels.
Soybean is another iron rich food and is also packed with protein, zinc, unsaturated fats and fibers. A single cup of soybean can provide the recommended daily dose of iron requirement. Soybean products like tofu and tempeh also contain good amount of iron and soybean and soybean produce contain little amount of vitamin C, which makes it easier to absorb iron.
Nuts can also fulfill 10% requirement of your daily dose of iron. Nuts like almond, cashew nuts, Brazil nuts, hazel nuts and pine nuts are good sources of iron. Among all nuts, sesame nut contains highest amount of iron. Snacking on handful of these nuts will boost your energy level and will also fulfill your daily iron need.
Lentils are another nutritious way to get iron as well as insoluble fiber and protein which keeps you full for longer and just ½ cup will provide you 4 mg of iron. Lentils also provide nutrients like vitamin B6, essential amino acids and magnesium.
Grains like barley, millet, buckwheat and quinoa are great source of iron. Combining tem with vegetables which contain vitamin C like tomato, potato, cabbage etc. can help to get rid of iron deficiency.
Along with other nutrients like beta carotene, fiber etc., dried fruits are good sources of iron. Dry fruits like apricot, resins and peaches can be consumed by adding in smoothies, cereal, dessert and salads to get the required daily dose of iron and other healthy nutrients. Just 50 gm of apricot can provide 2mg of iron and similarly dried peaches can provide 2mg iron per 100 gm serving.
Pumpkin seed are good sources of iron. A handful of raw pumpkin seed can fulfill 30% daily requirement of iron. Raw pumpkin seed are more beneficial than roasted seeds.Vegans should also include above mentioned vegetables and foods in their diet so that they do not miss out the recommended dietary dose of iron.