When our bodies go through periods of rapid growth such as during your teenage years or when you are hitting the gym regularly to build muscles, it requires a good amount of iron to keep up with the energy requirement.
Fortunately a regular diet will supply you with enough iron for this, and even if you aren’t eating iron-rich food, your body would have stored some in reserve for a rainy day. After a few days of this situation, as your iron supply dwindles, your body’s ability to produce healthy red blood cells also drops. The result: iron-deficiency anaemia.
As a result your body will suffer and growth will be hampered by weakness, fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations and susceptibility to infection. It can also affect productivity by hampering your concentration and perceptive skills. The fact is pumping iron requires you to have enough iron on a daily basis.
Fortunately iron is plentiful in regular food and you don’t have to go hunting for it in exotic ingredients. In all likelihood you have eaten some of the below picks for iron-rich foods, but it doesn’t harm you to experiment with them if you have no experience with them or if your diet preferences permit. The great thing about iron is that vegetarians can get more than their daily minimum requirement with simple ingredients. Here are our picks for iron-rich food that you must include in your meals.
Vegetables are a curious lot as they contain lots of iron, but also inhibit your body’s ability to absorb it. Not so with cruciferous veggies and it’s a reason to pick broccoli for salads, pasta sauces and the likes. It’s also filled with vitamin C, which helps your body absorb and digest the essential iron.
1 cup contains about 0.5 milligrams of iron (4% of the Recommended Daily Value) and around 30 kcal
There’s a reason dark chocolate is recommended over processed milk chocolate. It satisfies your dessert cravings and give your body a significant dose of iron. One ounce or around 30 g of dark chocolate delivers a fifth of the daily iron requirements. Here’s a little secret: Want to bring out the sweetness in dark chocolate? Just sprinkle half a pinch of salt in the dessert, and it will magically taste sweeter!
1 ounce of dark chocolate contains about 3.3 milligrams of iron or 19% of the Recommended Daily Value
Fresh and cooked green peas have a slightly sweeter taste than many other vegetables, which makes it a superb addition to salads and pastas for that slightly sweet taste without refined sugar being involved. And like other green vegetables, peas are also rich in iron and just half a cup provides about 7 percent of the daily recommended value of iron.
1 cup of peas provides about 2 milligrams of iron for roughly 12% of the daily recommended value and about 100 calories
Tuna fish is one of the healthiest ways to get protein and it also contains a fair bit of fat, which is an essential part of your diet. Not just that with high iron content and plenty of B vitamins in it, Tuna is packed full of nutrients. It’s also known to have over 100% of the daily recommended value of B12 vitamin, and a one portion of the fish will keep you going for a while. Light tuna has lower amounts of mercury and is the ideal option for those who are avoiding red meat, but still want plenty of iron.
1 ounce of tuna contains about 0.9 milligrams of iron accounting for roughly 5% of the daily recommended value and about 122 calories
Want to ramp up your iron intake quickly? Eat some strawberries every week; it’s a great source of iron and vitamin C, which also helps the body absorb more of the iron it needs. Add to any breakfast cereal dish, to a smoothie, or just eat them raw for a treat.
1 cup of strawberries contains about 1.5 milligrams of iron and makes nearly 10% of the daily recommended value but it also adds about 114 calories
It’s hard to beat the iron content in beef, and but it’s important to keep the consumption under control to under 500-600 g per week as anything more than this will be unhealthy. Prefer eating a lean cut now and again, and always throw in nutritious greens with the steak.
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of ground beef contains 2.7 mg of iron, which is over 10% of the minimum requirement.
Soybeans could easily fall in the superfood category since it packs a winning combination of protein, unsaturated fat (the good kind of fat), fiber, and minerals. A single cup of boiled soybeans contains nearly half the recommended amount of iron your body needs daily. It can be used as a beans substitute in dals and salads but also in the form of milk to accompany a healthy and delicious meal.
1 cup soybeans contain 8.8 milligrams of iron, which is a whopping half of what an adult requires daily, but it also has up to 300 calories