What Are The Best Iron Rich Foods?
Foods To Boost Your Iron Levels
Eating a balanced and nutritious diet is the key to remaining healthy and avoiding a lot of nutrition-related illnesses. To maintain a balanced diet, we have to include macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients are the main food groups that the body needs in large quantities like proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. On the other hand, micronutrients are nutrients that the body needs in small amounts like minerals and vitamins. Among the most important minerals is iron.
It is important to ensure the proper functioning of hemoglobin. That is a protein your body needs to transport oxygen to all body parts through the blood. It also transports carbon dioxide from the body parts back to the lungs for exhalation.
The recommended daily allowance depends on our age and sex. Experts recommend the following intake levels for different people:
- Men over 19 years - 8 milligrams
- Women between 19 and 50 years - 18 milligrams
- Women over 51 years- 8milligrams
- Pregnant women - 27 milligrams
- Women who are exclusively breastfeeding - 10 milligrams
There are certain groups of people who need to take more of it than others, including:
- Pregnant women who need it in more volume to promote more blood flow to the baby and developing reproductive organs.
- Young children, especially those born premature or underweight.
- Adolescent girls need more of the mineral because of their rapid growth. They also need it because menstruation could cause a deficiency.
- Frequent blood donors
- People with gastrointestinal disorders, cancer, or heart failure
Symptoms of low iron levels do not start showing until it progresses to iron deficiency anemia. That is a condition where we get very low iron levels that not enough normal RBCs are made to carry oxygen to our body parts and organs effectively.
Some of the symptoms include:
- Pale fingernails and skin
- Inflamed tongue (glossitis)
While mild deficiencies don’t cause a lot of problems, we could experience some of the following complications if we leave it untreated:
- Heart problems due to irregular heartbeats as the heart tries to compensate for the low mineral levels by pumping more blood.
- Problems during pregnancy like premature births and babies with low weight.
- Slow growth and development in infants.
- Blood loss
- Lack of the mineral in our diet
- The inability of the body to absorb it
Iron Rich Foods
To boost the levels of the mineral in our bodies, we need to eat foods that have it in higher amounts. We can have it as either heme or non-heme. We get heme from hemoglobin found in animal foods like red meat, poultry, and fish, while we get non-heme from plant-based foods.
Our bodies get the most levels of the mineral from heme sources. Our bodies absorb it mainly via the upper part of our small intestines. Some of the best iron rich foods we should always include in our diets to reduce fatigue include:
Meat from beef organs, also known as offal, is very nutritious and packed with the mineral iron. Some of the organs include the kidney, heart, tongue, and liver.
The mineral from these beef organs is bioavailable, which means that it is easily absorbed by our bodies better than when we get it from plants.
The liver is one of the organs with the highest amount of the mineral, with a 3.5 ounce of liver serving containing 6.5 milligrams. That represents 36% of the daily value.
Eating red meat not only boosts our protein intake but also helps increase our levels of the blood-making mineral. A serving of 3.5 ounces of red meat will leave us feeling fuller for longer and provide us with 2.7 milligrams of the mineral, which represents 15% of the daily value.
Shellfish are not only tasty but also highly nutritious. While all of them have high amounts of the hemoglobin-making mineral, oysters, clams, and mussels are the ones with the highest amounts.
A 3.5 ounce serving of clams, for example, has up to 3 milligrams, which represents 17% of the recommended daily value.
There are a lot of different types of fish we can eat to boost our levels of the hemoglobin mineral. A serving of 3 ounces or 85 grams of tuna has 1.4 milligrams of the mineral, which is around 8% of our recommended daily intake.
Turkey, especially dark turkey meat, is not only delicious but also a good source of the mineral. A serving of 3.5 ounces of turkey contains 1.4 milligrams, which is our recommended daily intake.
Iron Rich Plant-Based Foods
Non-heme iron can be found in the following plant-based foods:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dark chocolate
Some of the foods we can add that are rich in vitamin C include:
- Leafy greens
As outlined above beef organs are an excellent source of heme iron but can be difficult to source and prepare.
What if You Don't Like Eating Beef Organs?
As you can see from the information above, adding organ meats into your diet makes a lot of nutritional sense if you are feeling fatigued. If you’re still not comfortable with the idea of buying and preparing organ meats you're not alone. Fortunately there is an easy solution...
Our beef liver and beef organ supplements are contained in easy-to-take flavourless capsules. They are non-defatted to preserve the fat-soluble nutrient content (including vitamin A) and are freeze-dried, which also helps preserve the full range of nutrients. They are 100% hormone, antibiotic and GMO-free and are 100% grass-fed and organic from the pristine Tasmanian pastures.