Why Your Body Needs Iron and my top 10 iron rich foods
Iron is essential for the production of haemoglobin, a protein that allows red blood cells to carry oxygen to every part of your body. It’s also a component of myoglobin – that’s similar to haemoglobin, but it’s found in your muscle cells.
If you don’t get enough iron, you may feel fatigued and you may end up with iron-deficiency anaemia, which will show itself in various ways such as low energy, dizziness, pale skin and peeling nails.
The average adult male needs about 8 milligrams (mg) of iron per day – a woman who is still having her period requires about 18mg per day.
Iron is an essential nutrient, meaning that we must get it through our food choices. Nearly 80 per cent of people don’t get the daily iron requirement through their food choices, so it is important to be mindful when planning your meals.
Dietary iron is found in both plant and animal-based foods. If you’re interested in boosting your iron intake, here are my top 10.
Oysters are an excellent source of iron. A serving of six raw oysters has almost 4mg of iron. It also has about 43 calories, 50mg of calcium, and 5g of protein.
2. White Beans
White beans are a good plant-based source of iron. One half-cup serving has more than 3mg of iron. That half-cup serving also has 6mg fibre and 500mg potassium. It also has plenty of protein and calcium, B vitamins, and antioxidants.
3. Beef Liver
Beef liver is well-known as a source of iron – and for good reason. One slice of liver has more than 4mg of iron. It’s also an excellent source of protein, B-complex vitamins, vitamin A and vitamin D. Low calorie too.
Lentils are another plant source of iron with more than 3mg of iron in a half-cup serving. Lentils are also high in fibre – about 8mg. In addition, lentils are high in protein, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc.
5. Dark Chocolate
Nothing makes us happier than finding out that chocolate is good for you, and it turns out that dark chocolate is an excellent source of iron, as well as antioxidants.
A 100 gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains 67% of the RDA for Iron.
6. Canned Tuna
Canned tuna is a rich source of iron. One 6-ounce can of tuna has over 2.5mg of iron, along with plenty of potassium and B vitamins, along with a little vitamin D.
Chickpeas are rich in iron. One-half cup of chickpeas has almost 2.5mg of iron, along with several other minerals. It also has 141mcg folate, which is one of the B-complex vitamins, and 6g of fibre – all for less than 150 calories.
Another plant-based source of iron, Cashews are perfect as an iron-rich snack – 1 ounce has close to 2mg of iron, It also has some vitamins and minerals along with beneficial monounsaturated fats.
200g of cooked spinach has over 7mg of iron. It also contains calcium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, and fibre.
10. Beef Steak
Beef is an excellent source of animal-sourced iron. 150g fillet steak has more than 3.5mg of iron. It’s also a good source of zinc, potassium, and other minerals, plus vitamin B-12.