Iron is an essential nutrient, which plays an important role in your physical functioning (body function). Lack of iron in diet reduces your energy levels. Apart from this, iron deficiency in your body can cause diseases like breathing problems, headaches, irritability, dizziness and anemia.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF IRON?
There are mainly two types of iron —
- Heme Iron
- Non-Heme Iron
Heme iron is the kind of iron that is found from animal products such as, meat. Whereas, non-heme iron is the type of iron that is found from plants. You should also be aware that your body absorbs heme iron more easily as compared to non-heme iron.
HOW MUCH IRON DO YOU NEED PER DAY?
Doctors recommend that you should consume an average of 18 mg of iron daily. However, it also depends on gender, age and stage of life. For example, men and women who have attained menopausal condition require 8 mg of iron daily.
But women who have periods, they should eat 18 mg of iron daily. At the same time, pregnant women require 27 mg of iron daily.
WHAT FOODS ARE HIGHEST IN IRON?
Some of the best iron food source may include —
The iron present in this green leafy vegetable serves to transport oxygen in the blood. One cup (approx 30g) raw spinach contains about 0.8 mg of iron. In addition, it is also rich in calcium (29.7 mg), magnesium (23.7 mg), phosphorous (14.7 mg), potassium (167 mg) and sodium (23.7 mg). [Trusted Source 1]
Lentils are the pulses, containing protein, fiber, vitamin A. One cup of boiled or cooked lentils serving has around 230 calories, 4 mg sodium, 18 grams protein, 40 gram carbs and 7 mg iron. [Trusted Source 2]
3. White Rice:
Its outer layer is loaded with iron. One cup (approx 158 g) of long grain white rice provides 205 calories, 4.2 gram protein, 44 g carbs, 1.6 mg sodium and 1.9 mg iron.
Same serving size also contains 15.8 mg calcium, 68.0 mg phosphorous, 55.3 mg potassium and 91.6 mcg folate. [Trusted Source 3]
Beef is the meat of cattle. It is categorized as red meat, which contains higher amounts of iron than fish or chicken. Beef protein is highly nutritious and may promote muscle growth and maintenance. It is rich in iron and high quality protein. It’s 100 gram cooked serving contains 214 calories, 61 mg sodium, 26 g protein and 2.9 mg iron. [Trusted Source 4]
Same serving provides 13 mg calcium, 21 mg magnesium, 193 mg phosphorous, 300 mg potassium, 61 mg sodium and 6.6 mg zinc. [Trusted Source 4]
5. Chia Seeds:
Chia seeds are easy available at any grocery store. They have a mild, nutty flavor and black in color. Chia Seeds are high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids and iron. One ounce (approx 28g) dried chia seeds contain 137 calories, 12 gram carbohydrates, 177 mg calcium, 5 mg sodium, 10 gram fiber, 2 mg iron and 5 gram protein. [Trusted Source 5]
You can sprinkle raw chia seeds on oatmeal, cereal, yogurt or smoothies. They can also be eaten cooked.
6. Kidney Beans:
Kidney beans is considered one of the best iron rich food, which is also a great source of protein, fiber and vitamin C. One cup (approx 177g) cooked kidney beans contain 2019 calories, 40 gram carbohydrate, 16 gram protein, 117 mg calcium, 5.3 mg iron, 85 mg magnesium, 243 mg phosphorous, 742 mg potassium, 7 mg sodium and 1.5 mg of zinc. [Trusted Source 6]
In addition, it may help to lower cholesterol, improves memory and heart health, boosts energy and immunity. Containing of potassium and magnesium, soluble fiber and protein, it may also help to reduce hypertension or high blood pressure.
7. Pumpkin Seeds:
Pumpkin seeds are rich in iron, zinc, magnesium and vitamin K. Its one cup or 64 gram serving provides 285 calories, 34 gram carbohydrate, 12 gram protein, 35 mg calcium, 2 mg iron, 168 mg magnesium, 59 mg phosphorous, 588 mg potassium, 11.5 mg sodium and 6.6 mg zinc. [Trusted Source 7]
In addition, it is also a great source of vitamin A and folate. Being rich in magnesium, it may also help to reduce the risk of diabetes and depression.
Chickpeas are rich in fiber, protein and iron. Its one cup (approx 164g) serving contains about 270 calories, 40 gram carbohydrate, 13 gram fiber, 14.5 gram protein, 11.5 mg sodium and 4.7 mg of iron. [Trusted Source 8]
Same serving size also contains 44.3 IU vitamin A, 2 mg vitamin C, 6.6 mcg vitamin K, 80 mg calcium, 79 mg magnesium, 276 mg phosphorous, 477 mg potassium, 2.5 mg zinc and 11.5 mg sodium. [Trusted Source 8]
Chickpeas also can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
9. Dark Chocolates:
In addition, it contains (same serving size) 168 calories, 13 gram carbohydrates, 20 mg calcium, 64 mg magnesium, 86 mg phosphorous, 200 mg potassium and 5.6 mg sodium. [Trusted Source 9]
Studies suggest that daily chocolate consumption can reduce nonfatal heart failure and stroke problems. But just be sure that you have to select chocolate that contains a cacao content of at least 70%.
10. Sardine Fish:
Sardine fishes are also a great source of high quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Its 100 gram serving contains 208 calories, 505 mg sodium, 24.6 gram protein and 2.9 mg of iron. [Trusted Source 10]
It is also rich in vitamins A, D, E and K.
Oats are packed with fibers, carbohydrates, iron and many other healthy nutrients. One cup (156 g) of oats contains about 607 calories, 103 gram carbohydrates, 26 gram protein, 84.3 mg calcium, 7.4 mg iron, 276 mg magnesium, 816 mg phosphorus, 669 mg potassium, 6.2 mg zinc and 87.4 mcg folate. [Trusted Source]
Oats can be a nutritious, delicious and healthy diet option.
When it comes to nutrition and taste, broccoli is an all-star vegetable with many health advantages. It is a great source of vitamins, calcium, fiber and iron. One cup raw chopped broccoli serving contains 31 calories, 6 gram carbs, 43 mg calcium, 19 mg magnesium, 60 mg phosphorous and 288 mg potassium. [Trusted Source 12]
It also contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, magnesium, potassium, folate and zinc.
One cup serving of cooked broccoli gives you 1 mg of iron. Broccoli is a rich source of vitamin K, which is directly linked to better brain health and sharp memory. The vegetable also helps to protect your brain against damage. It contains vitamin C, which also helps to absorb the iron in a better way.
Potatoes are packed with many nutrients. One medium sized raw potato contains 168 calories, 5 gram protein, 3 gram fiber, 38 gram carbs, 11 mg sodium and 2 mg of iron.
Iron is an essential nutrient for our bodies to work since it helps to convey oxygen to where it’s needed. Since our bodies can’t make iron, we need to consume it from some external sources. The best iron rich food may include spinach, potatoes, broccoli, oats, chickpeas, dark chocolates, beef and lentils. You may include these iron rich sources to stay healthy and to combat iron deficiency. The recommended daily intake (RDI) of iron is 18 mg. So, just go for it!!