The Best Ways to Introduce More Iron into Your Diet
We all know about the importance of iron from watching Popeye as kids. While downing a can of spinach won’t necessarily give you superhuman strength, it does play an important role in healthy growth and development. It helps to make up the hemoglobin in your bloodstream, which is essential to transporting oxygen around your body.
Without enough iron in your diet, you’ll find yourself feeling fatigued, weak,and irritable. It may even lead to more serious conditions such as anemia, especially amongst women. As many as 20% of women and 50% of pregnant women don’t have a high enough level of iron in their bloodstream to support healthy functioning.
Luckily, it’s not hard to increase your iron intake. There are plenty of tasty and affordable sources of iron that you can make sure to include in your diet.
Eat More Meat
Heme iron is found in muscle tissue and is easy for the body to absorb. All meats contain heme iron, though some are a better source than others. Shellfish such as clams, mollusks, and muscles contain more iron in a single serving than you necessarily need in a day. Fish are also a decent source of heme iron, alongside beef, pork, and poultry. Chicken liver is a particularly good source of iron and tastes delicious in pate form.
Snack on Seeds and Beans
Nonheme iron is found in plants, and while it’s a little bit harder for the body to absorb, eating nonheme foods reduces the risk of accidentally consuming a toxic amount of iron. Cooked beans and seeds such as pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, and sesame seeds are all excellent sources of iron that are suitable for vegetarians and vegans as well. In addition to iron, these foods also offer plenty of protein and fiber for healthy digestion which further balances the diet.
As mentioned earlier, spinach has long been known as a good source of nonheme iron. It’s best to eat spinach leaves raw in salads, smoothies, and other light dishes. Other leafy green vegetables can also give you the iron that you need. Kale, chard, broccoli, and more can provide you with some of your daily iron needs, but you’ll probably have to supplement them with other nutrient-rich foods as well.
Iron is an essential nutrient that’s important to include in your diet, especially for women. You can get iron from both meat and plant sources that also provide a host of other essential nutrients, keeping you feeling your very best.