People often quote, “Don’t eat less, eat right.” It is actually quite important that we follow a balanced lifestyle with a balanced diet that has the right quantities of nutrients. We usually pay a lot of importance to the content of vitamins, carbohydrates and proteins we consume in each meal, but often overlook the importance of the minerals. Though minor in quantities, these minerals are also important for our well-being. One of the most needed mineral is iron. In case our body lacks the required quantity of iron, we tend to fall prey to anemia, and hence poor immunity. There are several kinds of food that we can incorporate into our daily meals, so that we make up for the iron deficiency in our body. Including iron-rich food is much better than popping in supplementary pills every now and then. Not only will these types of food give us iron, they will also contain other nutrients that are beneficial for our health. So let’s take a look at some of the foods that are packed with iron.
Spinach is one of those green leafy vegetables that are a rich source of iron. You may have it either raw or cooked, though most people prefer it cooked, not just because it tastes much better, but also because it becomes easy for our body to ingest the nutrients it contains. Not only does it have a high content of iron, it is also a powerhouse of vitamins, protein, calcium and fiber.
Berries are known for being one of the best sources of vitamin C. However, did you know that they pack in a punch with the high quantities of iron in them? A combination of fresh berries and dried fruits like raisins and apricots supply an even higher content of iron.
One of the best animal sources of iron is the liver. Take your pick from chicken or red meat, liver is a strong fount of much needed heme iron. Apart from helping to increase your hemoglobin count, liver also provides you with nutrients like vitamins A and C. However, expectant mothers need to watch their liver intake as the vitamin A has a possibility of causing congenital disorders. In case you don’t like the taste of liver, lean cuts of red meat and egg yolks are good alternatives.
Nuts are storehouses of several minerals, one of them being iron. Pistachio and cashews are the best sources, with 14-mg contained in every 100g of nuts. Of course, the key to getting optimum nutrition out of these is to eat a small amount each day.
Chickpeas have long been the preferred choice for any kind of salad, and the reason is not just the taste and texture it lends to a dish. These little legumes can provide as much as 5-mg of iron per 150-200 grams. It is also rich in proteins, thus being a savior for most vegetarians.
Tofu is a brilliant substitute for cottage cheese, which is a byproduct of soya. Add it to salads, or use it as a filling for sandwiches and wraps, and tofu will provide you with the iron you need each day.
7. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds have always had a large fan following. Making for a brilliant snack, a cup of whole pumpkin seeds provides us with more than 2-mg of iron. In case you opt for kernel, a cup of those could give you as high as 10 mg of the nutrient. They are enjoyed in dishes that call for an unusual, crunchy texture.
These green stalks that are a hit with those on a vegan diet, make the mark as iron-rich veggies which constitute 10% of iron in each serving of half a cup. Add asparagus in your soup, or to your salad, but do not boil them, if you want to get the best out of the stalk.
Kidney beans, fava beans, garbanzo or black-eyed peas, whatever is your choice, go ahead and enjoy it. These are probably the most popular radix of iron, containing almost 7-mg per cup, and once consumed along with veggies like broccoli and bell pepper, they become the healthiest meal you could ever have.
10. Fortified Cereal
If you love your bowl of muesli or cornflakes, then look no further, your source of iron is right there in your pantry. Yes, this comfort food, especially the fortified ones, is packed with flavor and iron, along with vitamins, calcium, zinc and fiber.
Lentils are a staple in most households, and for no mean reason. Not only do they give you loads of protein and fiber, they are also laden with more than 6-mg of iron in each cup that’s cooked. Are you wondering what to do with the lentils you just bought? Go ahead and experiment in soups, salads, and the Indian dal.
Seafood lovers can rejoice, because all the things you love are laden with iron, especially clams, squid, mussels and oysters. One oyster has the potential to give you as much as 5-mg of iron. What’s even better is the fact that you don’t need to eat out; these little beauties are inexpensive and easy to cook at home. If you are uncomfortable with the overpowering taste of oysters, go for fish such as tuna or salmon.
13. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds taste exceedingly well, when used in desserts, salads or snacks. They are laden with iron, and their nutty flavor makes them a treat for our palates. As little as a tablespoon of sesame seeds give us more than a milligram of our miracle mineral.
14. Cocoa Powder/Dark Chocolate
Chocolates have been our favorite anti-depressants since ages, and nowadays the darker version is making news for being an anti-oxidant. Dark chocolate or even cocoa powder is a good source of iron, and less sugar that can harm your system. However, it’s best not to binge on chocolate, no matter how much you love it. A little each day should be fine to supply the iron your body needs.
15. Soy Beans
Soy products are quite a good source of nutrients, but soybeans top the list, supplying us with 8-10 mg of iron per cup. They also contribute to our body’s stock of vitamins, protein, amino acids, fiber, copper and manganese.