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10 Foods That Are Rich in Iron and The Benefits of an Iron-Rich Diet

Are you sure that your diet has adequate iron? Your diet must have enough iron content because it is an element required for the proper functioning of cells in man. 

In fact, without Iron, the cells will be starved to death because Iron plays a vital role in cell metabolism. Iron is a crucial part of hemoglobin and myoglobin, which feeds the body cells and tissues with oxygen, respectively.

Data from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that Iron deficiency is the most prevalent nutritional deficiency in the world. To prevent the terrible consequences of Iron deficiency, make sure your daily diet contains an adequate amount of Iron. 

The Recommended Iron Dosage

The recommended levels of iron consumption in the diet vary with age. Below are the daily levels of Iron consumption as published by the U.S Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP)

  • Children between the ages of 1 to 3: 7 milligrams
  • Children between the ages of 4 to 8: 10 milligrams
  • Children between the ages of 9 to 13: 8 milligrams
  • Women between the ages of 14 to 18: 15 milligrams
  • Men between the ages of 14 to 18: 11 milligrams
  • Women between the ages of 19 to 50: 18 milligrams
  • Pregnant and lactating women: 27 milligrams
  • Men from ages 19 and above: 8 milligrams
  • Women from ages 51 and above: 8 milligrams

List of Foods Rich in Iron

Below is the list of healthy foods that are rich in Iron. They include food from both plant and animal sources. 

  • Spirulina

One ounce contains fives eight milligrams of iron (44 percent DV)

People know spirulina as blue-green algae that has a strong flavor. But most people are not aware that it is also highly nutritious. Just an ounce of spirulina can give you about half of the quantity of iron you need for the day. Spirulina is one of the best sources of heme iron for vegetarians. It also has high levels of B vitamins, Vitamins C, D, and E, as well as essential amino acids.

  • Liver

Three ounces of organic beef liver provides 4.05 milligrams of iron (22.5 percent DV)

The liver diet is one of the leading foods with high levels of heme iron, which is easily absorbable.  Liver contains high levels of iron, folate, and vitamin B12. That is why it is an excellent food source for people suffering from anemia, which is basically an iron deficiency disease. The three minerals and vitamins listed above are what you need to overcome anemia naturally.

  • Grass-Fed Beef

One lean steak (214 grams) contains 4 milligrams of iron (22 percent DV)

Another excellent source of iron and other nutrient is beef derived from a herd that was fed with grass.  Besides providing high levels of iron, grass-fed beef also plays a vital role in helping the body create vitamins A and E and many valuable antioxidants.  Bear in mind that grain-fed beef is not that nutritious.

  • Lentils

Half cup of lentils provides 3.3 milligrams of iron (20.4 percent DV)

The level of non-heme iron present in lentils per single serving is high. Lentils are easily available, and they are not expensive. Besides, they also provide the goodness of protein. So, adding lentils to your diet provides multiple advantages.

  • Dark Chocolate

One ounce gives of dark chocolate gives 3.3 milligrams iron (19 percent DV)

Dark chocolates are not only tasty, but they are also known for the nutritional value that they carry. Iron is one of the minerals that you get from chocolates.  In fact, just one once gives you up to 20 percent of the iron you need for the day. Chocolate is a healthy snack!

  • Spinach

Half a cup of cooked spinach gives 3.2 milligrams (17.8 percent DV)

This green vegetable has loads of minerals and vitamins, including high levels of iron. In fact, it has one of the top sources of iron among vegetables. You can take it raw or cooked. However, when you cook it, you can consume more iron because you tend to eat more quantity of spinach.

  • Sardines

A quarter cup of sardine gives you 1.8 milligrams (10 percent DV)

If you like fishes, then you will be getting high levels of vitamin-D and Omega-3 Fatty Acid. Besides that, you will also be taking heme iron as well.  Sardines are mostly available as canned foods in grocery stores. Add them to your soups, salads, and other dishes.

  • Black Beans

The protein, fiber, and iron content of black beans are high. Protein is valuable for releasing energy without spiking the glucose levels in the blood. That is why it is an excellent food source for people having insulin-related diseases conditions such as prediabetics ad diabetes.

  • Pistachios

One ounce of pistachios gives you 1.1 milligrams (6.1 percent DV)

Pistachios are well-known as an excellent snack for those looking to lose weight, Pistachios also provides high levels of iron and other nutrients such as vitamin B5, thiamine, and copper. In fact, it is arguably one of the best sources of iron among nuts.

  • Raisin

One-quarter of a cup gives 1.1 milligrams (6.1 percent DV)

Raisin has many nutritional benefits, one of them is the relatively high content of iron it provides per serving. It is one of the fruits with high iron content along with other fruits such as gigs and prunes 

If you are suffering from anemia, which is a sign of iron deficiency, you should eat three services of these nutritious foods every day.

Health Benefits of Iron

  • Prevents Anemia

Since iron is a vital component of hemoglobin, it plays a vital role in transporting oxygen to various parts of the body.  But when the iron level on the body is low, it leads to anemia.  The symptoms of anemia include low energy and poor brain function and degraded immune system. In essence, the body cannot fight infections optimally.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 1.62 cases of anemia in the world today. About half of these patients suffer from iron deficiency.

  • Supports Energy Levels

Iron plays a crucial role in the oxidation process, which releases energy to the body.  It helps with enzyme metabolism for protein digestion and nutrient absorption. It is not surprising that iron-deficiency causes tiredness and weak metabolism. Other symptoms include an inability to concentrate and weak muscle coordination. Iron plays a crucial role in muscle movement because it helps store oxygen in the muscles.

  • Promotes Cognitive Function

Iron is one of the core nutrients that the brain needs to function optimally because it carries oxygen to the brain.  Do you know that 20% of the oxygen you take in is used in the brain?  That is why a deficiency of iron can lead to poor memory and weak cognitive functions. In children, iron helps with psychomotor and cognitive functions. Since it improves brain functions, children can learn without difficulties.

  • Healthy Pregnancy and Delivery

Iron plays a vital role in promoting safe delivery in pregnant women. It helps prevent premature birth, which can cause several developmental problems in a child. Pregnant women should take daily iron supplements to prevent iron deficiency and anemia. It also helps prevent low birth weight, premature birth, weak cognitive functions and impaired behavioral development.

  • Supports Repair and Recovery

Iron plays a vital role in digestion and the absorption of nutrients from digested food. These are the nutrients that are used for repairing damaged areas in the body, such as cells, tissues, and organs. That is why iron is crucial to body functions that promote healing, recovery, and prevention of diseases.

  • Helps Control Mood

The functions of the nervous system that promote positive mood depend on iron. Iron is crucial to functions such as hormonal balance. For instance, the brain cannot adequately produce hormones that control moods such as dopamine and serotonin when the iron level in the blood is low.  That is why Iron deficiency leads to low energy levels, poor mood, lack of motivation, and insomnia.

  • Prevents Restless Leg Syndrome

Iron helps prevent restless leg syndrome, which is characterized by the spontaneous movement of the legs. This can lead to sleep disturbances. Iron helps in moving and storing oxygen in the muscles to promote healthy muscular functions.

Risks and Side Effects

The best approach to taking iron is in the diet that contains food substances that are rich in iron content. However, if you are suffering from iron deficiency, you can take iron supplements under the supervision of a healthcare professional. The side effects of iron supplements can include nausea, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn.

The level of iron in the blood can be detected through a blood test. It reveals when a patient is suffering from anemia.

The Final Note

Iron deficiency is quite common, but this health condition is preventable and curable. Taking diets that are rich in iron every day is the solution for prevention and cure. An iron supplement might be helpful in scenarios of acute iron deficiency. But taking the natural route through diet is the best approach.

 

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