Children love the way Popayee, the Sailor opens his spinach can and gulps smoothly but they don’t like to take a bite of spinach by themselves. We all know that spinach is loaded with iron which is a vital mineral for our body. Iron is quite essential for everyone especially for children as it helps them to grow properly.
A deficiency of iron can lead to different problems like shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty in focusing on one topic. And including iron supplements in foods is the best solution. Every day, a normal human body needs 18 mg and our daily diet must include enough ingredients that will meet the requirement.
But we cannot imagine eating a bowl of spinach every day! And it is not available all throughout the year. So, what you should do? Thankfully, there are many other foods that are actually quite high in iron. There will be no shortage of variety as well. So, whatever, your taste is; these iron-rich foods will definitely help you to stay energetic and healthy.
- Dried Apricots: With a mere half cup of these sun-drenched jewels, you’ll savor an impressive bounty of approximately two milligrams of the mineral that fortifies muscles, all nestled within just under 160 calories. For those following a vegetarian path, this fruity treasure trove becomes an invaluable ally in fulfilling their iron requirements. Moreover, the delightful apricots present a noteworthy dose of vitamin C, which works harmoniously to enhance the body’s iron absorption.
- Oyster: Indulging in the ocean’s bounty brings forth a myriad of compelling incentives to savor shellfish. These aquatic delicacies boast a generous protein content, while remaining modest in calories, and offer a splendid reserve of omega-3 fatty acids. Moreover, shellfish serve as an abundant source of iron, with 80 grams of raw oysters gifting a remarkable 4.5 milligrams of this essential mineral. Not only that; but the inclusion of zinc further fortifies the immune system. It’s worth noting that shellfish, in all their oceanic glory, are teeming with vital nutrients, showcasing their remarkable ability to elevate levels of heart-cherishing HDL cholesterol in the bloodstream.
- Legumes: Legumes like beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, and soybeans are a nutrient powerhouse. They are a fantastic source of iron, especially for vegetarians. A cup of cooked lentils provides 6.6 mg of iron, fulfilling 37% of the daily value. Black beans, navy beans, and kidney beans also contribute significantly to iron intake. Half a cup of cooked black beans contains 1.8 mg of iron. Legumes are not just rich in iron but also provide folate, magnesium, and potassium. Research shows that legumes can reduce inflammation in people with diabetes and lower the risk of heart disease in individuals with metabolic syndrome. Additionally, legumes aid weight loss due to their high soluble fiber content, which increases fullness and reduces calorie intake. To optimize iron absorption, pair legumes with vitamin C-rich foods like tomatoes, greens, or citrus fruits.
- Quinoa: Quinoa, a pseudocereal grain, offers a wealth of benefits in a single cup of cooked goodness. With 2.8 milligrams of iron, equivalent to 16% of the daily value, it proves to be a valuable source of this essential mineral. Moreover, being gluten-free, it caters to individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Not stopping there, quinoa shines with its high protein content, accompanied by a rich profile of folate, magnesium, copper, manganese, and various other nutrients. Its exceptional antioxidant activity surpasses many grains, effectively protecting cells against the damaging effects of free radicals generated during metabolism and stress responses. Quinoa truly stands as a nutritional powerhouse, offering a unique and beneficial addition to any diet.
- Broccoli: Behold the mighty broccoli, an extraordinary powerhouse of nutrition. Delighting in a 1-cup serving of cooked broccoli, weighing approximately 156 grams, unravels a remarkable 1 milligram of iron, satisfying 6% of the daily value. But that’s not all—this verdant wonderland also packs a punch with 112% of the daily value for vitamin C, diligently assisting in the absorption of iron. Within this same serving lies a wealth of folate, 5 grams of fiber, and a touch of vitamin K. Belonging to the esteemed cruciferous vegetable family, alongside cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage, broccoli houses indole, sulforaphane, and glucosinolates—plant compounds revered for their potential in safeguarding against cancer. Broccoli truly reigns as a champion of health and well-being.
- Pumpkin Seeds: Nestled within a mere 1-ounce serving of pumpkin seeds, weighing about 28 grams, lies a remarkable 2.5 milligrams of iron, contributing 14% to the daily value. But their benefits don’t end there. These versatile seeds prove to be an abundant source of vitamin K, zinc, and manganese, lending an extra nutritional punch. Moreover, they reign as one of the finest sources of magnesium, a mineral that many individuals fall short on. In fact, a single 1-ounce serving proudly delivers 40% of the daily value for magnesium, working diligently to mitigate the risk of insulin resistance, diabetes, and depression. Pumpkin seeds truly emerge as a powerhouse of essential nutrients, making them a valuable addition to any diet.
- Chia Seeds: While the spotlight often shines on their omega-3 fatty acids, the unassuming chia seeds possess an unexpected iron prowess, boasting a remarkable two milligrams per quarter-cup. Beyond iron, these tiny powerhouses provide a treasure trove of fiber, protein, and an array of essential minerals including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. An intriguing characteristic of chia seeds is their moisture-absorbing nature, making them ideal for creating a delectable, iron-rich dessert or snack with a luscious pudding-like texture when combined with liquids. Embrace the potential of these diminutive seeds and savor a nutritious treat that will satiate your taste buds while boosting your iron intake.
- Dark chocolate: a divine indulgence, proves to be both tantalizing to the taste buds and a treasure trove of nutrition. Within a mere 28 grams serving lies a remarkable 3.4 milligrams of iron, satisfying 19% of the daily value. This delectable treat doesn’t stop at iron; it showcases its worth with an impressive 56% and 15% of the daily values for copper and magnesium, respectively. Furthermore, dark chocolate harbors prebiotic fiber, nourishing the friendly bacteria residing in your gut. Astonishingly, a study unveiled that cocoa powder and dark chocolate outshine powders and juices derived from acai berries and blueberries in terms of antioxidant activity. Research also demonstrates the positive impact of chocolate on cholesterol levels and its potential in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. However, it’s crucial to note that not all chocolate is created equal. The magic lies in compounds called flavanols, and dark chocolate boasts a significantly higher flavanol content than milk chocolate. To reap the maximum benefits, opt for dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa content. Give in to the allure of dark chocolate and savor its myriad of advantages.
Achieving your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iron may still be challenging even if you include iron-rich foods in your diet, as the impact of other dietary factors on iron absorption must not be overlooked. Zeitlin emphasizes that certain foods, like caffeine, tea tannins, and phosphates in carbonated beverages, hinder iron absorption. However, reducing the consumption of these foods can enhance the body’s utilization of this essential mineral. On the other hand, specific nutrients, especially vitamin C, can improve the absorption of iron from plant-based sources, which is beneficial for individuals following a meatless diet. By combining iron-rich plant foods with vitamin C-rich options like 100 percent orange juice, bell peppers, or strawberries, you can bolster your iron stores and ensure optimal mineral intake.