Eating iron is vital for the proper functioning of the body. That is why it is essential that you know which are good sources of iron to include in your diet and avoid anemia due to lack of iron. Iron is a mineral found in every cell of the body. It is considered an essential mineral because without iron it is not possible to manufacture hemoglobin, the main component of red blood cells. Hemoglobin is responsible for transporting oxygen to each cell. Therefore, it is essential to know which are good sources of iron to add to the diet. Iron deficiency for a prolonged period of time can lead to iron deficiency anemia (anemia due to lack of iron). Symptoms include lack of energy, shortness of breath, headache, irritability, and vertigo or weight loss. In addition, physical signs of iron deficiency include a pale tongue and spoon-shaped fingernails.
To add sources of iron in the diet you have two options: vegetables and animal products. But, you should know that some foods reduce the absorption of iron. For example, commercial types of black tea or pekoe tea contain substances that bind to the iron that is consumed in the diet, so that the body cannot use it.
Sources of Iron to Include in the Diet:
Here are some ideas for adding iron sources. You will see that these are simple options that you can implement in your day-to-day life. Iron from vegetables, fruits, grains and supplements are more difficult to absorb.
1. Includes a Legume Rich in Iron at Each Meal
The simplest way to add iron is to eat a vegetable protein at each meal. The best options are:
Soy and its Derivatives
The soybeans contain 8.8 mg of iron a cup, but can increase this number if you choose the same portion of natto. This is a fermented derivative of soybeans and provides up to 15 mg of iron. Another option is tofu that provides 3.5 mg of iron in 160 g. One of the best characteristics of soy is that being so versatile; you can easily add it to any food in your diet.
Lentils are another legume that should be present in your diet several days a week. The reason is that in 100 grams of cooked lentils you get 6.6 mg of iron. In addition, lentils are rich in protein, complex carbohydrates, folates, manganese and fiber. Something that you should be careful of is the portions because in excess you can experience glucose problems.
2. Add Sesame Seeds
In just two tablespoons of sesame seeds or sesame seeds (30 g) you can obtain 4.2 mg of iron. If you prefer to consume 30 g of tahini, a paste derived from sesame seeds provides 2.6 mg of iron. We recommend consuming a bit of tahini instead of commercial salad dressings. Take into account that dressings, like commercial mayonnaises, usually contain high amounts of sodium, preservatives and sweeteners.
3. Liver and Other Animal Organs
If you have iron deficiency, we recommend adding animal iron sources, particularly animal viscera. The best options are the liver, the kidneys and the heart. Of course, try to be meat of excellent quality. A very common alternative is to consume 100 grams of liver because it contains 6.5 mg of iron. The animal viscera also provide vitamin B, copper, selenium and vitamin A in addition to iron.
4. Pumpkin Seeds as an Iron Source
Another way to add iron sources and take a healthy snack is to eat pumpkin seeds. One serving equals 28 grams and provides 4.2 mg of iron. In addition, these seeds provide a large amount of manganese, magnesium, zinc and vitamin K.
5. Include Turkey in Your Diet
The turkey is a lean meat quite common in the food plans of those looking to lose weight. Besides being low in calories and fat, it is an excellent option if you want to add iron sources to your daily diet. In a 100 gram serving you get 2.3 mg of iron, vitamin B, selenium, zinc and minerals. Best of all, you’ll also get about 29 grams of protein so you’ll be satiated for several hours. If you mix some lean meat, fish or poultry meat, with legumes or dark leafy vegetables in a meal, you can improve up to three times the absorption of iron from vegetable sources.
“Foods rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes and potatoes) also increase iron absorption”.
Finally, we recommend that you consult a doctor to know if you have a lack of any particular nutrient. Then, you can consult with a nutritionist to tell you what the best diet is for you. Although, we usually give and listen to general advice on food, remember that the diet should be tailored to each one.
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