Iron is a nutrient that is essential to your body’s day-to-day functioning. The primary role it plays is carrying oxygen throughout your body and producing red blood cells. If you don’t receive the amount of iron you need, a deficiency will occur. An iron deficiency leads to anemia, which causes symptoms such as fatigue. Meeting your daily iron needs doesn’t have to be complicated. The following foods are fantastic sources of the iron your body requires.
Spinach is a powerful source of iron. 3.5 ounces of cooked spinach has 3.6 mg of iron, which is 20% of the RDI (required daily intake). Spinach doesn’t only include a significant helping of iron. The vegetable is also rich in vitamin C, which boosts iron absorption. Spinach is also high in carotenoids, which are antioxidants that help many parts of your body including vision, heart and brain health, and muscle endurance.
Legumes such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, and peas are another great source of iron. A single cup of cooked lentils contains 6.6 mg of iron, which equals 37% of the RDI. Vegetarians in particular often turn to legumes to get the iron they need. Legumes are also rich in magnesium, potassium, and folate. To help your body better absorb iron, eat your legumes with foods that contain high amounts of vitamin C.
Red meat is an important source of iron. People who eat meat, poultry, and fish regularly are less likely to develop an iron deficiency. While vegetarians can cut out meat and replace it with other sources of iron, red meat is an easily-accessible source of heme iron. A 3.5 ounce serving of ground beef contains 2.7 mg of iron, or 15% or the RDI. Red meat is also a good source of protein, vitamin B, and zinc.
Quinoa, a type of grain, is another way to consume the iron you need. One cup of quinoa contains 2.8 mg of iron, which is 15% of the RDI. Quinoa is higher in protein than most other grains and is an excellent source of magnesium, copper, and many other nutrients. It’s also an excellent antioxidant. As another bonus, quinoa is gluten-free, making it a great grain for people who are gluten intolerant.