6 Foods High In Iron
Food is medicine. And these foods high in iron will bring back your energy in no time.
Why do you need to know which foods are high in iron? Probably a doctor, a physician or a health specialist told you recently that you need to consume more iron. Or maybe you just want to be healthier and feel better.
Either way, congratulations! You are doing something really positive already. Looking for iron in traditional food and not in medicinal supplements is a really big step, and not everyone tries to solve medical deficiencies by researching food. You are already one step ahead of everyone else.
It may be easier to go to a pharmacy and buy a bottle of pills because you don’t have to think too much about it. You can just take one a day and forget about it. But imagine for a moment what would happen if you did the exact same thing for every vitamin you needed. Would you be able to live off pills?
Food is a much more enjoyable medicine. Who doesn’t like to eat? And if you know what nutrients your favorite foods have, you will be more aware of the good things you are doing for your body. Eating for nourishing and healing yourself will help you develop an amazing relationship with food, and pass that knowledge on to your loved ones.
There are a thousand nutrients your body needs hidden in all your favorite foods, but you need to know where to find them.
Let’s talk about iron for now.
Why Do You Need Foods High In Iron?
To answer this question, you have to know why iron is important for your body. It is the one in charge of making hemoglobin, a protein found in red cells and the one in charge of moving the oxygen through your body.
When your body is not getting enough iron, you may end up having a medical condition called anemia. You probably have heard of it, but you should also know that there are different kinds of anemia. The most common type is iron-deficiency anemia, and there are many reasons why a person could have it.
Anyone with a very restrictive diet or a digestive inflammatory disease could suffer from iron-deficiency anemia. A person that has lost a lot of blood is also at risk of becoming anemic, and this puts women particularly at risk because period flows can be very heavy and become a complication. Being a vegetarian is also a potential risk if you are not doing it properly, but we are going to see exactly what everyone needs to eat to make sure anemia is never a problem.
All these risk factors are not written in stone, and you could develop the condition without being on a strict diet or having a heavy period, for example. There are many red flags you should be able to recognize before it becomes a more serious problem.
When To Eat Foods High In Iron
How do you know it’s time to eat foods high in iron? There are very obvious signals that your body can be using to tell you it’s time to switch up your diet a little bit.
Some of them may seem like normal conditions of a busy life, but it’s important that you pay attention to your body and learn to recognize when something is not entirely ok. With practice and time, you will be great at it. The fact that you are reading this article is a very good step already.
If any of the following is happening to you, then your body is asking for a little help:
Do You Feel Tired All The Time?
We know you are busy, but before you say yes, really think about it: is it normal routine tiredness or does it feel a little worse?
Falling asleep at your desk or having a really hard time concentrating in your daily tasks could be a symptom of iron deficiency. Since your muscles don’t have enough oxygen, then they work slower. And pretty much everything in your body is a muscle or depends on them to move. So, you get the idea.
Are You Really Pale?
And we don’t mean I-need-a-tan pale, we mean a more unusual kind of paleness.
You don’t necessarily have to see it in your whole body, but if you notice a significant change of color in your face skin, your lips or even your fingernails, it’s probably time to ask your doctor.
If you are not sure yet, try this do-it-yourself medical test: go to the nearest mirror and pull down your lower eyelid. If it doesn’t have its usual red color, then chances are you need to increase your iron intake.
Finally, Do You Get Dizzy A Lot?
This usually comes with really annoying headaches, and if you suffer from both, it could mean you need some more iron in your life. This is a less common symptom and it happens because when not enough oxygen travels to the brain, the blood vessels in your head can swell and cause pain.
These are only a few symptoms that can tell you it’s time to eat more iron. If you want to do some more research, you will find there are a lot of unusual symptoms of anemia.
If you are still not sure, calling your doctor is the safest way to know.
But it doesn’t mean you can’t start building your grocery shopping list right now! This is what you need to get.
Top 6 Foods High In Iron
Everything in this list is, of course, natural food. The best nutrients are in the less processed foods and you will get the best absorption if you stick to this rule.
Of course, some of them can be eaten alone, and some of them can be used as ingredients for specific dishes. It will depend on your time and your creativity in the kitchen.
Successful vegetarians have something in common.
They added legumes into their diet and got creative with them. The most common types of legumes are lentils, beans and chickpeas, and there are so many great things about them.
They are really high in soluble fiber, so they will help your digestion and also make you feel really full, and they are also low in carbohydrates.
Legumes are also high in protein and a very versatile ingredient because you can use them to make soup, salad, sauces, dips and even vegetarian burgers, meatballs and a lot more.
Popeye taught you what to do if you feel weak. So why are you not eating spinach already?
Dark green vegetables are a great source of iron and fiber. They also have a lot of vitamin C and antioxidants that will help your body improve its defensive system and prevent diseases like cancer, decrease inflammation and even protect your sight.
Spinach is also an ingredient you can use in a lot of different recipes: you can cook it as a side dish, mix it with rice and other vegetables, eat it raw in a salad – the choice is yours, but you will never get bored.
Non-vegetarians trying to eat iron, we have an extra option for you!
If you are not the biggest fan of red meats, this one's for you. Turkey meat is also an excellent source of iron and it will keep you full for a longer time.
Turkey meat is also great to help in muscle recovery, and even if you are not doing really intense workouts (or working out at all) eating turkey protein will protect your muscles and delay the loss of size that comes with the aging process.
Protein can also come from the sea, of course.
This one is particularly beneficial because the iron found in shellfish, oysters or clams is easier for your body to absorb. Plus, it also helps balance out your cholesterol and heart rate.
Keep in mind that seafood can expire faster and usually has a strong smell, so if you have limited space in your kitchen, try not to keep it too close to other foods, unless you want your meals to taste like shellfish for a week (maybe we wouldn’t mind so much?)
This one is rice’s more famous sister lately.
Who has not heard of quinoa yet? This is a very popular grain among people who suffer from gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
It’s very high in protein, magnesium and antioxidants, which means it will protect your muscles, keep you full for longer periods of time, be gentle on your digestive system and help your defensive system get stronger. Do you need another reason to try it?
Finally, this is the kind of medicine we have always wanted.
Yes, chocolate is nutritious. You just need to make sure that it’s actually dark chocolate. This is because cocoa contains flavanol, the component responsible for all of its health benefits. And chocolates with at least 70% of cocoa will have more levels of flavanol, so those are the ones you should be looking for.
A good dark chocolate has probiotics to help your digestive gut do its work better and antioxidants to keep diseases away from you.
Would you believe us if we told you that changing your diet doesn’t mean putting restrictions on yourself? After seeing this list of foods high in iron, you should agree with us. Of course, there are much more foods out there that have iron, but these are very versatile and you can use them in many different ways.
But you can always do better, and there are ways to eat them for maximum efficiency and nutrient absorption.
Foods High In Iron Buyer’s Guide
We are all about maximum efficiency, so we have extra tips for you. If you need your body to absorb more iron then you just need to incorporate these foods more frequently into your diet, and that’s it.
But because science is science, there are certain food combinations you can make that will help your body get the most of the nutrients you are already feeding them.
These are basic guidelines for you to keep in mind when you go shopping.
There are two basic and very useful rules you need to know:
1. Combine Your Food With Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron better, so adding it to your diet will boost its benefits. You can do it the natural way and eat more citric fruits like oranges, or buy a vitamin supplement if you are already going through a big routine change with your new iron-rich diet. Vegetarians can also benefit from this tip because they wouldn’t get the iron that comes from red meats.
2. Think About Which Foods Have More Iron
Our second tip has a lot to do with your choice of diet because meats usually have more iron than vegetables. Keep this in mind when thinking about ways to balance out your diet.
For example: if you are already eating meat you don’t necessarily have to take vitamin C, but if your diet is mostly plant-based, then having some extra vitamins could be a good idea.
It all comes down to balance. Learning about the nutritional benefits of your food will make you enjoy the process of shopping, cooking and eating even more, and it’s something that you can share with your family or friends.
Learn To Enjoy Foods High In Iron
If you are a picky eater, this will probably take you some time. But if your doctor tells you to get medicine, and you find out you can actually eat it (like you just found out) then life will get easier, guaranteed.
Take the list we made here, go shopping and let us know how it goes!