7 Iron-rich foods that you should include in your diet



7 Iron-rich foods that you should include in your diet




Anaemia is a condition which occurs when haemoglobin, an iron-rich protein present in the red blood cells decreases which ultimately leads to fatigue, weakness, etc.

Haemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. The primary function of the red blood cells is to transport oxygen from the lungs to the body’s cells to ensure that the living cells are performing well.

And when your red blood cells count is low, the body has to work harder to deliver oxygen throughout the body.

The body produces millions of red blood cells each day. They are produced in the bone marrow and circulate around for 120 days in the body.

Having anaemia can lead to a lot of complications like fatigue, weakened immune system, heart and lung failure etc.

How the body uses Iron in food

When you consume foods rich in iron, it is absorbed into the body through the upper part of the small intestine. Dietary iron is of two types – heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron comes from haemoglobin which is found in animal foods like red meat, poultry and fish. And non-heme iron comes from plant foods.

1. Meat

The intake of sufficient animal protein is essential for increasing haemoglobin in the body. All varieties of red meat like beef, mutton, and ham and other meats like chicken, turkey and meat liver are excellent sources of iron which are necessary for haemoglobin production. Though chicken is considered as lean meat, its regular intake can supply human body with large amounts of iron.

2. Fruits

Citrus fruits like mangoes, lemons, and oranges are great sources of vitamin C which is necessary for the fast absorption of iron in the body resulting in an increase in haemoglobin levels [2] . Strawberries, apples, watermelons, guavas, and pomegranates are also rich in iron content that can instantly increase the haemoglobin amount in a person who is suffering from anaemia.

3. Seafood

Different types of seafood like oysters, clams, shrimps, salmon, tuna and other seafood varieties are enriched with iron and other minerals that are important for increasing haemoglobin content [3] . So, it is best to include seafood in your regular diet, especially anaemia patients, for the fast revival of their health.

4. Legumes

Legumes are known for their rich iron content and the commonly available legumes are soybeans, chickpeas, peas, lentils and beans should be eaten regularly. These plant-based foods are a great source of iron, especially for vegetarians[4] . To maximize the absorption of iron, eat legumes with foods rich in vitamin C like tomatoes or citrus fruits.

5. Whole gains

It is a well-known fact that whole grains make healthy meals and many of these whole grains are also enriched with high iron content. These include rice, wheat, barley, and oats which are perfect for the anaemia patients that will help to increase the red blood cell count. Brown rice is known to be a fine source of iron as compared to white rice.

6. Fresh vegetables

Fresh vegetables like asparagus, beetroot, potatoes, broccoli and other green-leafy vegetables like kale and spinach are all rich in iron content. The regular intake of fresh vegetables is always recommended for the steady supply of iron, other minerals and vitamins in the body.

7. Nuts

Nuts and nut butters such as cashews, almonds, pine nuts and macadamia nuts contain good amounts of non-heme iron. Have nuts daily to receive good amounts of iron and make sure that you don’t blanch or roast them as their nutrients get lost in the process, so instead go for raw and unblanched varieties.

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