10 Iron-Rich Foods People Need to Eat More Often

Do you know what happens when your body doesn’t have enough iron? Well, your body can’t produce sufficient amounts of hemoglobin – a substance in red blood cells that allows them to carry oxygen throughout the entire body.

As a result, you feel tired and fatigued, leading to iron deficiency anemia.

The most common symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia include the following (source):

  • Weakness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Pale skin
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Brittle nails
  • Cravings for weird things like starch, dirt, or ice
  • Poor appetite
  • Tongue soreness

How Much Iron Do We Need?

Women younger than 50 years need 18 mg of iron a day, and those above the age of 50 need 8 mg – the amount necessary for men (source).

How to Get Enough Iron

Every person needs a constant supply of this essential mineral to produce hemoglobin that’s necessary for normal functioning of body cells. And, the best way to obtain iron is through diet.

Luckily, some foods are loaded with iron, so you can boost your iron while enjoying a variety of healthy foods.

Even though some of the best sources of iron are meats, we also present vegetables that contain a good amount of iron for vegetarians and vegans.

It’s true that the body can’t easily absorb the iron from non-meat sources, but the good part is that these sources are rich in vitamin C – a mineral which improves the absorption of iron.

Here are some of the best natural sources of iron that will help you get the necessary amount of iron and prevent iron-deficiency anemia (source).

10 Foods Packed with Iron

1. Shellfish

The best shellfish sources of iron are mussels, oysters, and clams. For example, 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of clams provide 155 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron, or up to 28 milligrams (source).

Still, the content of clams can vary, so some varieties can have much lower levels of the mineral (source).

2. Liver & Other Organ Meats

Liver, heart, brain, and kidneys are all rich in iron, but the best organ meat source of iron is beef liver. A serving of 100 grams of beef liver provides 36 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron, or 6.5 mg (source).

Large amounts of other nutrients found in organ meats include copper, B-vitamins, selenium, and vitamin A.

3. Spinach

Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach are rich in iron but low in calories. A hundred grams of cooked spinach provide 20 percent of the recommended daily dose of iron, or 3.6 mg (source).

However, this iron isn’t absorbed well, being non-heme, but the good part is that the high amounts of vitamin C in spinach improve its absorption (source).

4. Broccoli

This is one of the healthiest foods on the Planet that besides containing high amounts of fiber, folate, vitamin K, vitamin C, and cancer-protective compounds, it also contains good amounts of iron. One cup of cooked vegetables contains 1mg of iron (source).

What makes it even better for people with iron deficiency anemia is the fact that the high amounts of vitamin C improve the bioavailability of iron (source).

5. Turkey Meat

Dark turkey meat is an excellent source of iron as 100 grams contain 2.3 mg of the mineral (source). Other essential minerals found in this meat are selenium, zinc, protein, and B vitamins.

6. Red Meat

Meat is high in selenium, zinc, protein, B vitamins, and iron. You can get 15 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron, or 2.7 mg, in just 100 grams of ground beef.

In fact, studies suggest that eating meat, fish, and poultry on a regular basis reduces the risk of iron deficiency.

7. Pumpkin Seeds

Did you know that this delicious, portable snack is loaded with iron? Well, 28 grams or 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds provide up to 4.2 mg of iron (source). What’s more, they are packed with manganese, zinc, vitamin K, and magnesium.

8. Beans

Beans and other legumes like lentils, soybeans, peas, and chickpeas are abundant in iron. A cup of cooked lentils provide 37 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron, or 6.6 mg (source). Besides, they are high in magnesium, folate, and potassium.

It’s best to combine them with vitamin C-rich foods to improve the iron absorption in the body.

9. 80% Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is one of the most delicious sources of iron, containing incredible 3.3 mg per 28 grams (source). Also, it provides you with the essential minerals like magnesium and copper, prebiotic fiber and gut-friendly bacteria.

10. Tofu

This popular Asian soy-based food is a good source of iron, thiamin, magnesium, calcium, selenium, and protein. A half of cup of tofu contains 3.6mg of iron (source).

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