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Fuel Your Body: Top 10 Best Iron-rich Foods for Optimal Health

Top 10 best Iron-rich foods for optimal health

When we talk about Iron in our diets, we don’t mean the element Iron. Iron as a dietary source refers to the mineral Iron that is present in our bodies, as well as certain food items.

Iron plays an important role in our bodies as a mineral and is the key component of haemoglobin, a type of protein that helps transport oxygen to our red blood cells.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting around 8 mg of Iron per day for males and around 18 mg for females.

However, in India alone, there is a study that 50% of women are Iron deficient. Deficiency of this essential mineral can cause serious diseases like anaemia, which can result in further health complications.

So, how do you get enough Iron in your diet? Well, in this blog, we have discussed the top 10 food sources that are rich in Iron and can help you meet your daily requirements. So, without further ado, let's get going.

Importance of Iron in Our Diet

Iron plays a critical health role in our bodies. It is necessary for many important body processes that keep us healthy. Below are the top health benefits of Iron.

Importance of Iron in Our Diet

1. Energy

Iron is responsible for carrying oxygen to our brain and muscles and, thus, is responsible for both our mental health and our physical performance.

2. Cognition

Iron is responsible for regulating our cognition levels. It can improve our concentration and also lead to better cognitive performance.

3. Hair growth

Research suggests that Iron deficiency can cause hair loss. Iron helps our hair follicles to get an adequate supply of nutrients through blood, which leads to improved hair growth.

4. Healthy Immune system

Iron in our bodies plays an important role in strengthening our immune system and also helps our body fight off infections and diseases.

Iron Deficiency – A Common Problem

Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies that prevails among us. Since Iron is one of the primary components of red blood cells, a deficiency of Iron can cause anaemia.

This is a condition where our red blood cells cannot deliver oxygen to various parts of the body, which can result in chest pain, fatigue, and even shortness of breath.

Some common problems associated with Iron deficiency

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pale skin
  • Chest pain and headache
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Restless leg syndrome

As you can see, Iron deficiency can cause various diseases and may also be the precursor to more serious complications in the future.

However, the good news is that there are a variety of food items that are naturally high in Iron, which you can add to your diet.

So, let’s have a look at the top 10 best Iron-rich foods that you can add to your diet.

Top 10 Best Iron-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet

There are different food items that you can add to your diet to intake your daily recommended level of Iron. It is up to you to choose the one that best suits your dietary preferences and eating habits.

top 8 best iron rich foods to add to your diet

1. Red meat

Red meat is a great source of Iron, and the Iron content here is more easily absorbed by the body than other plant Iron sources.

2. Poultry

Among poultry, chicken and turkey are great sources of Iron. Try to include lean cuts while having poultry to keep the fat percentage in check.

3. Fish

Fish like tuna, salmon, and sardines are rich in Iron and also are a great source of omega-3, which have immense health benefits.

4. Shellfish

Shellfish, which includes clams, mussels, and oysters, have concentrated forms of Iron in them. Moreover, they also offer us essential nutrients which are vital for our well-being.

5. Beans and lentils

Legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and black beans are great sources of Iron. However, since they are plant-based sources of Iron, you can pair them with Vitamin C-rich food sources to enhance their absorption.

6. Soy and tofu products

Tofu and other soy-based products, like tempeh, are good sources of Iron, especially for individuals following a vegetarian or vegan diet.

7. Nuts and seeds

Some nuts and seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and cashews, are rich in Iron. They also provide healthy fats and other essential nutrients.

8. Fortified cereals

Many breakfast cereals are fortified with Iron. Check the nutrition label to ensure you're choosing a product with added Iron.

9. Dark leafy greens

Dark leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, and Swiss chard contain high amounts of Iron. However, to enhance Iron absorption, you can have them with vitamin C-rich food items.

10. Dried fruits

Dried fruits, such as apricots, raisins, and prunes, are good sources of Iron. They also make for convenient and portable snacks that you can have on the go.

Final Thoughts

Iron is an essential mineral that plays an important role in our body, and its deficiency can cause health implications, which, if left unchecked, can worsen our health. Thus, it is a good idea to choose from the above Iron-rich food items that you can incorporate into your diet. 

However, suppose you have concerns about your Iron levels or are considering making significant dietary changes. In that case, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for personalized guidance.

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