Have you ever experienced a situation where your doctor said that you are anaemic? Well, iron deficiency is the main reason behind anaemia. Iron is a vital mineral that helps in the production of red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. Around 70% of the people in the whole world suffer from iron deficiency.
Women and children belong to the high-risk category of iron deficiency. Young women require more iron in their diet due to puberty, menstruation, and hormonal changes. On an average, an adult male requires 10 milligrams of iron a day while an adult female requires 10 to 15 milligrams. When it comes to pregnant women, they need around 30 milligrams of iron a day while breastfeeding mothers require 15 milligrams. In the case of children, ages 1 to 3 require 7 milligrams a day, 4 to 8 require 10 milligrams, and 9 to 13 require 8 milligrams.
The amount of iron required in your diet depends on how deficient you are. So, always ask a doctor about the exact dosage you need.
Importance of Iron Rich Food in Your Diet
These are some impressive health benefits of iron:
- Stimulates muscle growth
- Treats anaemia
- Boosts immunity
- Reduces the appearance of under-eye dark circles
- Circulates oxygen
- Improves cognitive function
Iron deficiency may lead to irritability, dizziness, low energy levels, and shortness of breath. Most of the time, people ignore the innumerable health benefits of iron until they become iron deficient. If you think that you are anaemic or having iron deficiency, talk to a doctor immediately. You can also consult a doctor online.
Things to Remember
- Tea and coffee decrease the iron content that your body absorbs from iron-rich foods. So, take them along with iron-rich foods.
- Children belonging to one year age group and above require about 24 ounces of cow’s milk every day. When they drink too much milk, chances are there that they reduce the intake of iron-rich foods. This can cause iron deficiency.
8 Foods That Are High in Iron
You will get all the iron you need from the food you eat. Here are 8 iron-rich foods that you should include in your diet.
Widely used as a snack, nuts are a rich source of fibre. 10 g of cashew nuts contain 0.3 mg of iron, 10 g of pine nuts contain 0.6 mg of iron, 14 g of hazelnuts contain 0.7 mg of iron, 28 grams of pistachios contain 1.1 mg of iron, 28.35 g of almonds contain 1.1 mg of iron, and 120 g of walnuts contain 3.5 mg of iron. Nuts are among the best energy-boosting foods and are loaded with fibres and proteins.
Soyabean, when consumed raw, is always best as it contains more iron content. It contains 5.1 milligrams of iron per 100 grams. Tempeh, miso and natto are made from fermented soybeans and can be considered as powerhouses of iron. Apart from being a rich source of fibre, they are also packed with proteins and fibres.
- Whole grains
Whole grains consist of more iron than processed grains. Oats is a healthy breakfast food that contains 4.7 mg of iron per 100 grams and is also a good source of plant protein, fibre, folate, magnesium, and zinc. Amaranth is a gluten-free grain that contains around 5.2 mg of iron per cup cooked. It is one of the few complete plant protein sources and is loaded with considerable amounts of complex carbs, magnesium, fibre, manganese, and phosphorus.
- Dark leafy vegetables
Leafy greens such as spinach, collard, chard, and kale are other iron-rich vegetables that contain between 2.5–6.4 mg of iron per cup (cooked). Even though raw, dark leafy vegetables are a good nutrient source, cooked greens are more concentrated and higher in iron content.
Beans, lentils, and peas all legumes with great iron content. Each 100 g of chickpeas contain 4.31 g of iron, lentils contain 3.33 mg iron, and black beans contain 8.7 g of iron. They are also rich in essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, fibres and beneficial plant compounds that may help in reducing your risk against various diseases.
Seeds, especially pumpkin, hemp, sesame, and flax seeds are good sources of iron. They contain around 1.2–4.2 mg of iron per two tablespoons. Apart from being iron-rich, they contain a beneficial amount of plant protein, calcium, magnesium, fibre, zinc, selenium, and antioxidants. Also, they are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Red meat
If you are a non-vegetarian, then eating red meat is perhaps one of the best ways to say goodbye to iron deficiency. 100 g of beef contains 2.7 mg of iron. The iron content in red meat is part of a molecule known as heme, and your body tends to absorb heme iron more easily than other forms of this mineral.
- Dried fruits
Prunes, figs, raisins, and apricots are all loaded with iron. 100 g of prunes contain 0.95 mg of iron, figs contain 0.4 mg iron, raisins contain 1 mg iron, and apricots contain 0.4 mg.
When the above-mentioned foods fail to provide the required amount of iron, go for iron supplements. Make sure to ask a doctor before taking iron supplementation for yourself or for your little one. Only an expert doctor will be able to determine the exact dosage according to your situation.