The food we eat gives us the energy and power to move, helps our bodies function and repair, or grow cells that need some replacing, and also provides us with the essential nutrients that our bodies need to continue living. Iron is a nutrient that our bodies cannot manufacture, and the body must absorb it directly from the food we ingest.
Iron is an extremely important mineral for the human body as it serves one of the very crucial functions for the body to work effectively. That of making hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that help blood carry oxygen around your body.
Without sufficient hemoglobin, your body won’t get enough oxygen in your muscles and tissues for them to work effectively.
So, we will have a look at the foods that are rich in iron and foods that help your body absorb iron more effectively.
Why is iron important for the body?
Iron is an essential mineral that the body needs to light the fuse to work. Oxygen is the conduit that gets all the body’s organs working; the brain is able to send signals efficiently when it has sufficient oxygen, the muscles and organs are able to get nourishment and expel toxins with a good and steady supply of oxygen.
The human body needs to absorb about 18 mg of iron for its daily needs. However, your body does store some iron, which will be used up over the course of your day’s activities.
Foods that are high in iron
There are many healthy foods that are high in iron that you can add to your diet and help meet your body’s daily mineral requirements for iron. The human body finds it easier to absorb the heme iron, mostly found in animal foods that we consume than it does to absorb the non-heme iron found in plants. Luckily, nature has provided us other accompanying foods that can be eaten at the same time, that will boost the absorption of the iron nutrients you are serving up in your meal.
Iron supplements are also used to give your body the extra assistance of getting its daily iron requirements. You will find that many pregnant ladies are given iron supplements to prop up their bodies needs for creating their baby while still maintaining their own body’s iron needs.
1. Liver, kidneys and organ meats
The meats from internal organs, liver, kidneys, and heart, are high in iron and are quite nutritious. With 100 grams of liver, you will provide your body with 36% of its daily iron needs.
2. Red meat
With every serving of 100 grams of ground beef, you will provide your body with 15% of its daily iron requirements. Red meat is easily available to most people and is very nutritious in meeting the supply needs for proteins, zinc, and selenium for your body.
3. Spinach, broccoli and dark leafy greens
Spinach is a leafy green that is very high in iron. It is famously eaten by Popeye to energize his biceps and triceps with power and zip! When you do not have enough iron in your body, you may end up feeling weak, short of breath, and constantly exhausted. Eating spinach and other greens, provide you with some iron, but you also get vitamin C, for instance, in broccoli. Vitamin C aids your body to absorb iron. The greens all help with fiber which just makes your body much more efficient in clearing out the wastes and toxins while giving you a more efficient way to absorb iron.
4. Fish and shellfish
A single serving of clams for your supper is so rich in an iron that you are giving your body 155% of its daily iron requirements. Regularly dining on seafood, both fish and shellfish, is super healthy in a swathe of nutrients that can only give you a healthier body. The advantage of this is that seafood is tasty and a considerably healthier alternative to beef meals due to its ability to increase the healthy cholesterol in your blood.
5. Legumes, pumpkin seeds, and nuts
A meal of legumes will provide your body with about 37% of your daily iron requirements. Legumes are sprouts which need a little assistance for you to optimize your iron absorption.
Pumpkin seeds and nuts provide about 23% of your iron needs. The beauty of nuts and pumpkin seeds is how they are such a convenient and delicious handful of nutrition. If you are unable to have a sitdown meal for whatever reason, you will not have to forgo taking your iron for the day.
Cook and eat legumes, nuts, and pumpkin seeds together with the foods that are high in vitamin C, like leafy greens, tomatoes, fruits (especially citrus fruits) and you will reap all the added benefits of a high fiber diet.
This grain is gluten-free and has high anti-oxidant properties, meaning, that your body has some fight against free-radicals and that you will experience reducing inflammation problems. A serving of cooked quinoa will give you 15% of your iron requirements, and, just as suggested with the legumes, if you eat a quinoa meal with a food that has vitamin C, you will improve the absorption of iron.
7. Dark Chocolate
Desserts can be just as delicious as they always have been if you create your masterpieces from dark chocolate. The darker the chocolate you use, the more flavanol it has, the higher the benefits. You will get 19% of your iron requirements with your dark chocolate dessert.
Vegetarians and vegans have another option from the non-heme iron group of plant foods, Tofu. Tofu serves up 19% of your iron needs. Just swing into action with the vitamin C rich food, and hey presto, your body’s ability to absorb more iron will be engaged.
Iron is an essential nutrient that is critical in the formation of the red blood cell proteins hemoglobin and the circulation of oxygen in our body cells. Our bodies cannot make it, so, we have to eat foods that allow us to absorb the mineral.
There are a variety of ways to get the iron we need, so you do not have to ‘force’ yourself to eat a lot of one type of diet. Find the one that suits your needs. Get a doctor’s advice. You can experiment with recipes and dishes, just make sure that you get your daily iron rations to enjoy an energized life.