Iron deficiency occurs when the body does not have adequate iron to form red blood cells. In case the body fails to absorb sufficient iron from the food, it becomes deficient in the nutrient.
However, it is only when the condition progresses to iron deficiency anemia that the symptoms begin to appear. This is a serious condition in which the body’s iron levels become extremely low that it is unable to form enough red blood cells to carry oxygen through the body.
Some of the most common symptoms of anemia include fatigue, dizziness, weakness, headache, pale skin, and an inflamed tongue. If you are suffering from acute iron deficiency, you must focus on including iron-rich foods in your diet. Increasing the intake of the nutrient is the only way to fight any deficiency.
In this article, we will look at some of the most popular iron-rich foods that can help you boost the iron levels in your body.
Foods to Fight Iron Deficiency
This is one of the best sources of iron as most of them contain as much as 100% of the daily recommended intake of the nutrient. But make sure to carefully choose the cereal that you consume. It is best to avoid sugary and extremely colorful cereals. Typically, one cup of fortified cereal contains 18mg of iron.
Chickpeas are one of the best plant-based sources of the nutrient. A type of legume, it offers about 3.7 mg of iron per cup, making it a great source. Besides, chickpeas are also an excellent source of protein. You can add them to your pasta dishes or puree them to create delicious homemade hummus.
For those suffering from iron deficiency anemia, consuming oysters is great to increase the nutrient levels in the body. As per USDA, five raw oysters contain 3.23 mg of iron. Alternatively, a 3-ounce serving of cooked oysters contains 7.82 mg of iron. Besides, these also contain zinc and vitamin B12, making them a good choice for boosting overall health.
One cup of white beans provides 5.08mg of iron, making it a good source of the nutrient. Even canned beans help to reduce iron deficiency by offering 7.83 mg. However, these may sometimes contain preservatives so make sure to consume them in limited quantities. You can sprinkle white beans over your salad or add them to soup to enjoy its benefits.
Organ meats such as beef liver and giblets are very rich in iron. Approximately 100 grams of giblets contain about 6 mg of iron. And even beef liver comprises an impressive amount of the nutrient, containing 4.15 mg every 3-oz serving. So, adding them to your diet can help you achieve heme iron and reduce iron deficiency.
Soybeans are ideal for people looking for non-heme, i.e. plant-based sources of iron. A type of legume, half-cup of soybeans provides 4.54 mg of iron. Besides, they are highly rich in other nutrients, offering various health benefits. You can sprinkle some dried soybeans into your salad or main dishes for an amazing texture.
Half a cup of lentils contains about 6.25 mg of iron that is great. They are much like beans except that they cook more quickly. You can eat them every day to get the needed intake of nutrients in the body.
Tofu is another popular ingredient of the vegetarian diet. It contains 4.14 mg of iron per every 3-oz serving. For vegetarians, including plant-based sources of iron such as tofu and soybeans is important to meet their daily iron requirements and prevent iron deficiency anemia.
Fish such as shellfish and sardines are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids and proteins. Apart from being tasty, the two are also very rich in iron. About 100 grams of these scaly fish deliver approximately 3 mg of iron, making them a good source of the nutrient. Besides, shellfish is also rich in many other nutrients and increases HDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
Iron is a significant nutrient that must be consumed regularly to prevent iron deficiency. You can also consult your doctor regarding the use of certain dietary supplements along with an iron-rich diet to keep the symptoms in check.