Having sufficient amounts of iron in the body is important because this mineral enhances the blood’s ability to transport oxygen molecules. Iron is also important for the production of energy. Deficiency in it may lead to anemia as well as fatigue. Experts say that chronic deficiency in iron may actually cause organ failure.
Because the body is able to regulate the amount of iron you consume, an overdose is very rare. However, it may happen especially if you take iron supplements — so make sure that you carefully follow your doctor’s order. The good news is supplementing is not necessary all the time because there are many foods containing iron, both animal and plant sources. Including the following in your diet helps ensure that you get the right amounts of iron each time:
A 28-gram serving of pork, beef, turkey, chicken or lamb liver allows you to obtain 36% of your daily requirement of iron. Liver is also a great source of vitamin A that’s good for the eyes, as well as zinc, phosphorous, selenium and copper. The problem with liver is it contains high amounts of saturated fats and bad cholesterol.
Consuming 28 grams (about 142 pieces) of squash or pumpkin seeds lets you obtain 23% of your everyday iron needs. Sesame, flax and chia seeds are wonderful sources of iron too. Aside from the said mineral, seeds also contain protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper and zinc.
You can obtain as much as 13% of your recommended dietary allowance of iron per day by consuming a 25-gram serving of oysters. There are many other sea foods that supply your body with good amounts of the mineral. They include scallops, mussels, octopus and cuttlefish — all of which also yield protein, niacin and vitamin B12.
If you love snacking on nuts or using them as toppings for your oatmeal or yogurt, ending up with iron deficiency should be the least of your worries. That’s because nuts are wonderful sources of the said mineral. For instance, a 28-gram serving of cashews yields 9% of your daily iron requirement, while the same amount of peanuts provides 7% of it.
- Lean Meat
As much as 18% of your everyday requirement of iron may be obtained from 85 grams of lean beef or lamb cuts. Aside from the anemia- and fatigue-fighting mineral, lean meat also supplies your body with good amounts of protein, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, and vitamins B1, B6 and B12.
If you are on the hunt for non-animal sources of iron, beans should be on the top of your shopping list. A cup of soybeans, for instance, provides 49% of your everyday iron needs. The likes of garbanzo, kidney, black, lima and pinto beans are also good sources of protein, thiamine, folate and dietary fiber.
- Dark Leafy Green Vegetables
You can obtain as much as 36% of your recommended dietary allowance of iron a day simply by consuming a cup (180 grams) of cooked spinach. There are many other leafy green vegetables that also supply your body with the said mineral. They include Swiss chard, turnip greens and beet greens.