Iron

Foods That Will Boost Your Iron

Iron is a vitally important nutrient for your body. It is one of the building blocks of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout the body. Despite the importance of iron, deficiencies are very common and come along with some serious symptoms which include weakness, fatigue, vertigo, and hair loss. In children, iron deficiencies can even cause developmental issues.

These deficiencies are most often found in women. They can be caused by excessive bleeding in menstruation and in pregnancy, as well as chronic bleeding through injury, prescription and recreational drugs, blood donation, and digestive problems. It is vitally important to consume adequate amounts of iron in your daily diet. Iron from meat, fish, and poultry is better absorbed than iron from plants. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that women of birthing ages should consume 18-mg of iron each day. Thankfully, there are many foods are naturally rich in iron, including these 9…

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Organ Meats

Organ meats from animals such as the liver, generally are higher in iron. For example, 100-grams of beef liver give 6.5-mg of iron, which is 36-percent of your daily recommended intake. Enjoy beef liver fried with onions for a down home comforting meal. You could also try pork liver pate on bread for a high protein, high iron breakfast. One hundred grams of pork liver contains 18-mg of iron, which amounts to 100-percent of your daily recommended intake of iron.

Soybeans

Soybeans are an amazing supply of iron for people who are vegetarians and do not eat animal protein. It provides 3.4-mg in a 126-ml (1/2-cup) sized serving. This is 19-percent of your daily recommended intake. Enjoy soybeans in tofu for an easy way in getting it into your diet.

Clams

Sweet and succulent, clams are a delicious way to boost your iron. Try adding baby clams into pasta and salad dishes for a great source of protein and iron. Amazingly, 100-grams (3.5-ounces) of clams have 3-mg of iron, which is 17-percent of your daily recommended intake. There are a variety of different types of clams and therefore iron content will vary, some might contain much less amounts. You can find clams fresh, frozen, and canned. Don’t worry about them losing iron through the canning process. Canned clams are a convenient and healthy way to get this seafood in your diet.

Spinach

Leafy greens are brilliant foods for their nutrients and antioxidants, but spinach is the king of the salads. Spinach contains more iron gram for gram than ground beef. Some studies have found that a compound in spinach can inhibit the absorption of iron into the body. It’s a good thing that spinach is packed with iron so that even if some isn’t absorbed, it’s still doing great things for you. Spinach contains 3-mg of iron per 100-grams, for a total of 17-percent of your daily recommended intake.

Mussels

Mussels are one of the best protein sources available. If you live near the ocean, they may also be one of the most affordable options. Mussels contain 6.7-mg of iron per 100-grams. This totals 37-percent of your daily recommended intake. Enjoy mussels as a starter to a nice dinner, or as a healthy main course. Mussels placed in fresh water could cause the mussels to close. It is best to buy them and use them the same day.

Spirulina

This amazing food is made from cyanobacteria It is a whole food, meaning that it is left in a pure form for consumption. You can find spirulina as tablets, flakes, and a powder. Spirulina is a great source of protein.A small 14-gram portion of spirulina contains 4-mg of iron, which is 22-percent of your daily recommended intake.

Lentils

Beans are great sources of nonheme iron. Lentils are a great source of iron, as are white beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and more. Beans are a great option for vegetarians and vegans to get adequate amounts of iron in their diet. Enjoy beans as a replacement to meat in many of your favorite meals. Beans also make a great side dish and are brilliant pureed or in soups. Lentils contain 7-mg of iron in 250-ml, which amounts to 39-percent of your daily recommended intake.

Oysters

Oysters are not just for fancy dinner parties or romantic dates. Many types of oysters are affordable and easily attainable when they are in season. You can find oysters in large supermarkets or at your local fishmonger. Enjoy oysters raw or barbecued when buying them fresh. If making oyster dressing, frozen oysters are a more affordable yet still delicious option. Oysters contain 7-mg of iron per 100-grams. This adds up to 39-percent of your daily recommended intake.

Fortified Cereal

If you are having trouble getting natural sources of iron, then consider fortified cereals. Whole grains are high in iron, and many processed food companies add iron to their products. Rice Krispies are a great option, with 11-mg of iron per serving. Other cereals you can find with added iron include cream of wheat, corn flakes, and oatmeal. Look for packaging that indicates the product has added iron and check the nutrition label to understand just how much iron is in your serving.

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Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Julie Ching is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator in Los Angeles. She decided to become a Dietitian after traveling through Europe, South America, and Asia and discovered a passion for food. She now works with people of all ages and varying disease states to improve their health. She is passionate about teaching people about nutrition so they can live their best life while still considering their cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

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