If you’re suffering from iron deficiency, you should go through an iron rich foods list instead of going to the doctor’s and digging deep in your pockets for medicines. Natural means to treat any deficiency is always better than using medicines. High iron foods are extremely effective in improving the supply of oxygen to all parts of the body and this further helps in treating and dealing with a number of diseases.
Let’s take a look at why it is such an important nutrient for the body and which iron rich foods will help to keep you from suffering the symptoms of low iron levels.
What is Iron?
It is known as an “essential mineral” because it’s one of the minerals that is essential to the proper function and health of the human body. This mineral plays a big part in helping you maintain good energy levels so that your body can meet all physical requirements throughout your day. One of the largest roles that the mineral plays in your body takes place within the hemoglobin, which is a large part of what makes up a red blood cell. Your body cannot produce hemoglobin without iron, which means that if you don’t take in enough iron through your diet then you could end up with low levels of hemoglobin. So, why is hemoglobin important, you ask? Hemoglobin carries oxygen from your lungs to the cells all over your body, particularly the cells in your muscles. Without this oxygen your muscles will not have the energy they need to function properly and you would eventually find yourself in a weakened state.
Symptoms of Deficiency
It is important to understand some of the common symptoms of low iron so that you can recognize them if they should crop up. This is especially important if you feel like you don’t eat enough high iron foods. One of the primary symptoms of anemia, or low levels of hemoglobin/red blood cells, is general weakness and an overwhelming or unshakeable tiredness. Because the body’s muscles aren’t getting enough blood to fuel movement, they aren’t able to meet the demands of everyday life. The reduced levels of red blood cells can also make one’s skin appear pallid and the body may have trouble regulating its temperature. Listlessness, poor memory, trouble concentrating, delayed reflexes, and lack of coordination are all symptoms that will show up as the muscles are unable to perform. The tongue may be inflamed and sore, especially when chewing food. Headaches, dizziness, loss of appetite, cravings for dirt or other generally inedible items, itchy skin, irritability, depression, sore joints, muscle cramps, and dented nails are also associated with low levels of iron but can be harder to use in diagnosing anemia because they are so broad in nature.
Why Your Iron Intake May Need to Increase
You may find that you suddenly start to show the signs of a deficiency even if you have never been diagnosed with anemia before. If you feel that your consumption of iron hasn’t really changed, then the issue may be that your body’s need for this mineral has increased. One of the most common changes is pregnancy. During pregnancy a woman’s body will produce about 1.5 times the normal amount of blood. As you can probably imagine it takes a lot of iron to feed that much hemoglobin production. It isn’t just the blood that needs it, but the placenta and the baby require extra iron as well. This can lead to cravings for some really weird things—even dirt or mud, which is the body’s way of trying to obtain missing minerals. This condition is called pica. Pregnancy related anemia is usually treated by taking iron and folic acid supplements as well as eating a well rounded diet with plenty of green vegetables.
Another reason why you needs may have increased is blood loss. If you have had a series of heavy periods or if your periods come frequently and randomly, then this might be why you experience symptoms of anemia. In addition to heavy periods, a food allergy can be the source behind low iron levels. Bloody stool and/or diarrhea are common symptoms of a mild or severe food allergy. Other symptoms of a food allergy include irritability, vomiting, stomach cramps, nausea, and bloating. In order to avoid anemia related to a food allergy you would have to avoid the allergen altogether.
High Iron Foods List
Here is a list of foods that can help you battle a number of diseases:
Fruits are a good source of this mineral. Artichokes, prunes, dried apricots are all good sources. But this iron is mainly non heme meaning that it is not essential for the synthesis of hemoglobin. These sources are important so that they cater for the mineral required for synthesis of products other than hemoglobin.
Nuts are another excellent reservoir. It is said that consumption of about handful of nuts keeps many fatal diseases away. Nuts such as cashew nuts, pine nuts, hazel nuts and almonds are rich in iron. There is a sufficient amount in peanuts and pistachios. One cup of nuts is sufficient to cater for your iron needs per day.
Vegetables make certain that you have ample amount of iron in your diet. It is essential to have a meal of veggies once a day at least. Dark leafy vegetables are the best source when it comes to vegetables. Vegetables such as Swiss chard and spinach have a good amount of the mineral. Lattice leaves and raw beet greens are also good sources of this element. Turnips and Raw kale also have small amounts of this mineral in them.
Whole grains such as barley, oat meal, wheat and maize are all good sources too. But one should make sure that they are taken in sufficient quantity of about one cup to cater fully for the required amount of iron. People taking iron supplements should be careful while consuming grains. Barn from whole grains hinder with the absorption of these supplements. Thus one should make sure that these supplements are not taken along with whole grains if one is trying to increase the amount of this element in the body.
Beans and pulses
Beans also have ample amounts. Pulses and lentils are also a good source and should be take once a week. There is about 6.6 mg of the mineral in per cup of pulses.
Meat sources such as chicken and sheep liver have an ample amount too. This is the one needed for the synthesis of hemoglobin. Beef and lamb meat also are good reservoirs. There is about 3.1 mg of iron about 3 ounces of beef and lamb. This amount is sufficient to cater for daily needs.
Fish eggs are commonly known as Caviar and are consumed as spreads, hors d’oeuvres and garnishes. These are high iron foods and around 110 grams of these fish eggs contain around 12 grams of the mineral. Similarly mussels, oysters and clams are sea foods that are generally rich in iron and these foods can be baked, fried and eaten raw. 100 grams of shellfish (around 10 clams) has 27-28 grams of the mineral. Similarly 5 oysters contain around 28 % (RDA) iron.
Sesame butter also known as Tahini is one of the most popular Israeli dishes that can be eaten with pita bread and can be prepared into hummus. A hundred grams of Tahini or sesame cream contains around 8.95 grams of iron. Similarly Sesame seeds contain 15 grams of the mineral per hundred grams of serving.
Among the foods list, a significant name is that of dried apricots. These apricots can be eaten with salad or as snacks. The percentage of iron in 100 grams of dried apricots serving is 35 % (RDA). Chocolates are among the best high iron foods for kids and similar coca powder is extremely rich in the mineral. Sugar free chocolates and cocoa powders are extremely healthy and contain 36 mg iron per 100 grams of serving.
Some Other Iron Rich Foods
As we mentioned above, some other foods that can be included in your daily diet are liver, lean red meats (beef, pork and lamb), rice and pastas, spinach, tofu and vegetables like swiss chard, asparagus, broccoli and parsley.
These foods are recommended for kids and pregnant women. A lot of people suffer from iron deficiency and intake of iron rich food is better than living on medicines. Instead of going to the doctor’s every now and then, you can simply treat your deficiency with these kinds of foods.