The right amount of vitamins and minerals is important to ensure that people get the optimal balance of health and quality of life. One of the important nutrients that our body needs is Iron and it is very critical in the proper functioning of the human body. In this article, we will look at the top 11 foods high in iron and their respective health benefits.
What is Iron?
Iron is a critical nutrient for the human body to function properly. It is closely associated with the body’s red blood cells, Iron actually aids in distributing and transporting oxygen all throughout the body. People need to get Iron from the food items that they consume as Iron is considered an essential nutrient. More specifically, people need to consume around 18 mg of Iron to meet their daily recommended need for Iron as a nutrient.
Iron deficiency may result in fatigue and anemia due to the fact that oxygen is not being properly transported in the circulatory system of the body. As such it is important to look at the healthy options available to supplement our body’s Iron needs and requirements.
Foods High in Iron
As mentioned earlier, Iron is a very important nutrient to sustain an individual’s health and wellness. Listed below are some of the food items that are high in iron and may provide various health benefits to individuals:
All shellfish are rich in iron but there are certain shellfish that may be considered a major source of Iron and these include mussels, clams, and oysters. Clams are especially rich in Iron so much so that 100 grams or 3.3 ounces of the said type of shellfish can provide around 28 mg of Iron which is more than 100% (155% to be exact) of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of a person.
Shellfish has also been shown to contain heme-iron compared to that of non-heme iron present in plants. Heme-iron is actually more preferable to that of non-heme iron as it is more readily absorbed by the human body. In addition, consuming significant amounts of shellfish can help elevate the presence of HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol in the body.
Aside from being a low-calorie food, spinach can provide a number of health benefits to individuals who consume it. Twenty percent of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) or around 3.6 mg of Iron can be obtained simply by eating 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of Spinach. In addition, spinach also contains vitamin C despite it being a plant-based food item that contains a non-heme type of iron.
3. Various Organ Meats and Liver
Organ meats and liver offer various health benefits and they are considered food items that are rich in Iron. Organ meats also include heart, brain, and kidneys and 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of such meats can provide around 36% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) or 6.5 mg or Iron. These meats can also provide other valuable nutrients such as selenium, copper, and vitamin B. In fact, evidence suggests that liver can provide increased amounts of vitamin A.
Aside from being rich in Iron, legumes are full of nutrients that can provide various other health benefits. Lentils, beans, peas, soybeans, and chickpeas are all excellent sources of Iron which can provide 6.6 mg of Iron or around 37% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) per one (1) cup or 198 grams of cooked legumes. This is good news especially for vegetarians as their main sources of iron can only be limited to plant-based foods. Legumes can also be able to a great source of potassium, magnesium, and folate. Aside from all of the said nutrients, Legumes can also help people lose weight due to its high content of soluble fiber resulting in feelings of satiety.
5. Red Meat
Red-meat can be a tasty and flavorful source of various nutrients such as various B vitamins, selenium, zinc, and protein. In addition, red meat can be a great source of protein providing around 15% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) or 2.78 mg of iron for every 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of red meat.
6. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are not only healthy they are also a type of convenient and tasty snack for individuals who are health conscious. They can provide around 23% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) or 4.2 mg of Iron for every 28 grams or 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds.
Considered a pseudocereal, Quinoa can provide around 15% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) or 2.8 mg of Iron for every 185 grams or one (1) cup of the said grain.
8. Turkey Meat
Turkey is considered a healthy form of white meat and is a tasty and delicious source of protein. Its meat is also rich in Iron yielding around 2.3 mg or 13% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for every 100 grams or 3.5 ounces of serving.
Brocolli is another plant-based and vegetable food item that can provide exceptional levels of Iron. It can provide an individual with around 6% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) or 1 mg of Iron for every 156 grams or 1 cup serving.
Tofu is an extremely popular dish for various Asian dishes and is a notable meat substitute for vegetarians. It can provide 19% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) or 3.6 mg of Iron per 126 grams or a half cup of serving this soy-based food item.
11. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a great, nutritious and a healthier alternative to regular milk chocolate. It can also provide around 19% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) or 3.3 mg of Iron for every 28 grams or 1-ounce serving.