Iron is an essential nutrient that serves many body functions. It aids in carrying oxygen throughout the body as a part of red blood cells (RBCs). However, many people, especially children and pregnant women suffer from iron deficiency. In fact, it is one of the most common deficiencies prevalent in developed countries. Iron deficiency can lead to a severe condition called anemia, hence iron-rich food is recommended by health experts.
Most people try to get adequate iron from their daily diet. However, if that is not enough, you can even take dietary supplements to boost the level of iron in the body.
Here, we will look at some of the most common iron-rich food items that are high in iron. Including them in your everyday diet can help to promote overall well being.
Top 10 Iron-Rich Food Items
Eggs, Liver, and Other Organ Meats
Common sources of animal protein such as eggs, turkey, pork loin, etc. are extremely rich in iron. All these sources contain heme iron that can be easily absorbed by the body. The liver also serves an impressive amount of iron. However, people with high cholesterol or those who are pregnant must avoid it.
Spinach is among the best sources of iron. This iron-rich food also contains several other nutrients and antioxidants called carotenoids that decrease the likelihood of cancer and bring down inflammation in the body. Spinach is also rich in vitamin C that improves the absorption of iron in the body.
Shellfish is highly nutritious and a particularly good source of minerals and vitamins. It contains heme iron and is known to improve the levels of heart-healthy HDL-cholesterol in the blood. Although some people worry about the presence of toxins in some types of fish, the benefits of it largely offset the risks.
Chickpeas is one of the best vegetarian sources of nonheme iron. A type of legume, this iron-rich food also provides plant-based protein that further improves health. You can add them to your salads or snack on them by creating a bowl of hummus.
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent snack that you can add to your everyday diet. They are also rich in nutrients like vitamin K, manganese, and zinc. Thus, a small serving of these seeds can help to lower the risk of diabetes, insulin resistance, and depression.
Quinoa is one of the best iron-rich food items that is a rich source of minerals and vitamins. Apart from being rich in iron, it also contains copper, magnesium, folate, manganese, and other nutrients. Besides, it does not contain any gluten, making it suitable for people who are gluten intolerant.
Broccoli is a very nutritious leafy green vegetable that contains a heavy amount of iron. One serving of this iron-rich food also delivers a lot of vitamin C that improves iron absorption in the body. It also contains nutrients like folate, vitamin K, and fiber.
Dark chocolate is not just tasty, it is also extremely healthy. It contains iron, copper, and magnesium in amazing quantities. Besides, it also contains prebiotic fiber that nourishes the good bacteria present in the gut. Lastly, it has an excellent quantity of antioxidants and helps to reduce the risk of heart ailments.
Adding lentils to your diet is another great way to boost your iron intake. Cooked lentils are very rich in iron. They also contain fiber that helps to reduce cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Sesame seeds are a food item that exhibits a nice and nutty taste. They are very rich in iron along with other nutrients such as copper, vitamin E, zinc, and phosphorous. You can easily add this iron-rich food to your diet by sprinkling them on a salad or putting them on your toast.
Iron is one nutrient that the body cannot produce on its own. Thus, people need to regularly intake iron-rich food to avoid iron deficiency and anemia. If you experience any symptoms of iron deficiency, you must visit your doctor immediately. He may also recommend taking certain dietary supplements to boost the levels of this nutrient in the body.Many times, taking supplements along with a healthy and balanced diet can help to eliminate deficiency and promote wellness.