Iron is an effective dietary nutrient for health. Shortage of iron causes anemia – leading to fatigue, inability to function and cognitive trouble. Trust your health care professional to advise you in treating anemia and diseases, as too much iron is as dangerous as too little.
An iron rich diet produces hemoglobin and aids the blood in carrying oxygen. The two types of iron are heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron is found in foods like meat, poultry, and fish and is easily absorbed by the body. Plant based foods – those usually found in vegetarian diets – contain non-heme iron. Non-heme iron is not easily absorbed by the body and should be taken with vitamin C rich food at the same meal.
Soybeans and soy products like tofu and temph are the one of the foods richest in iron. All the essential amino acids are found in this nutrient rich bean; its protein is similar to meat. Soy oil is a rich source of essential fatty acids; these oils, linoleic and linolenic, are not produced by the body and are vital to health.
Lentils provide iron, protein, and soluble fiber. Fiber helps reduce cholesterol and balance blood sugar. Research demonstrates that including lentils in dietary plans helps reduce risks of diseases like obesity, heart disease, and some cancers.
Seeds are a savory food with iron-rich benefits. Smartest choices to maximize this rich source of non-heme iron are: pumpkin, sesame, or sunflower seeds. Sprinkle on salads, yogurt, casseroles, or eat out-of-hand for a healthy snack. Besides iron, adding seeds to your meals will provide fiber, protein, and linolenic acids, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Rich in omega 3’s, protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins like D and B12, but low in calories and saturated fat, shrimp is a helpful nutrient dense food. Frequently people exclude this seafood from their diets because of the high cholesterol levels; however, eating shrimp reduces risk of stroke and heart disease and lowers cholesterol.
Bored with beans? Take another look at this powerful food – beans are a good dietary means to treat obesity and stabilize blood sugar levels. Low in fat, calories, and sodium but high in soluble fiber and protein, beans are a go-to source for inexpensive nutrition and endless menu variety. Focus on garbanzo, navy, black, or kidney beans to build an iron rich diet.
How familiar are you with Swiss chard? Did you know that not only is it another nutrient rich source of iron but it also adds vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, and lutein to daily diet plans? Swiss chard should be eaten with fat to help the body absorb iron and other nutrients. As a bonus, Swiss chard is a member of the beet family and is related to spinach. Eat it raw or use as a recipe substitute for spinach.
Lean beef tenderloin is a good way to get heme iron into diets, as well as being low in saturated fat and high in vitamin B12 and zinc.
Lesser-known grains like barley and spelt are foods rich in iron and other advantageous nutrients, like beta-glucan fiber, supplying both soluble and insoluble fiber for health benefits like reducing risk of heart disease, avoiding constipation, lowering cholesterol, and regulating blood sugars. The best barley to add iron to a diet is hulless, whole grain, or scotch barley.
Spelt is a less common variety of wheat that is a nutritional powerhouse; a tasty way to incorporate iron and protein into diets. Spelt can be substituted in equal quantity for wheat or used like barley in soups or other recipes using barley.
Spinach is high in iron and contributes to healthier hair and skin. Include it in meal planning and lower risks of heart disease, some cancers, and eye disease.
Nuts are good sources of protein, iron, and other flavonoids. These nutrients protect against heart diseases and some cancers. Iron rich sources are cashews, peanuts, and almonds.
Foods rich in iron can be added to diets easily by focusing on these top ten sources of iron. These are healthy and delicious ways to increase the iron in meals.