Iron is just one of the many nutrients you need as part of a healthy diet program or weight loss regime. However, how do you know if you’re getting enough in your daily diet, and which food sources will help you power up your workouts most, while also balancing and meeting your nutritional needs at the same time?
Why Iron Is Important to Your Health
Iron is just one of many nutrients critical to a healthy diet program. But, how important is it and where can you get it, without resorting to pills and potions? You’d be surprised to know some of the hidden and unexpected sources of iron, and how easy it really can be to include in your food plan.
And, if you want to avoid some of the common ailments that stem from iron deficiency, like anemia, fatigue, headaches, irritability, dizziness and overly pale skin, then take a look at some of the easy sources of iron all around you.
Sources of Iron
Of course, meats and seafood are good sources of iron. While meat based sources of iron are the easiest for your body to use, you can also glean iron from foods like fortified breads and cereal grains. Other foods like beans, egg yolks, certain nuts and seeds, and nut butters are also good sources of iron.
Did you know that a lot of vegetables can also be great sources of iron? You might remember Popeye eating spinach from a can that he would pop open with his bicep. Yes, iron can be one of the many building blocks necessary to maintain muscle mass and a healthy system.
Broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, olives, parsley, dried fruits, dark leafy greens, brussel sprouts, potatoes and more are all tasty vegetable sources of iron. Many other veggies also contain iron and some even help you to better absorb the iron you get into your diet.
Make the Most of Your Iron Intake
You do want to combine your intake of iron with foods that will enhance their absorption. Foods like citrus (oranges, lemons, limes) will help you to better absorb and assimilate the iron from the foods you eat as part of your diet program.
Avoid foods containing calcium, however, since calcium and iron will both fight for absorption simultaneously. The same rule of thumb goes for coffee, tea and other foods and liquids containing polyphenols, as these will inhibit your ability to absorb iron efficiently.
Try including some iron-rich foods in your menu. You can experiment with many different flavors and create meals that are healthy and nutrient rich. Here’s a great example:
- 10 cups spinach, washed and trimmed
- 1 navel orange, cut into bite-sized sections
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup slivered onion
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds (toasted and sprinkled with stevia and a dusting of cinnamon)
- 2 T sesame seeds (toasted)
- 1 T poppy seeds
- 1/4 t paprika
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1/3 cup vinegar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Stevia to taste
- Wash and de-stem the spinach. Peel and cut orange into small pieces. Cut thin slices of onion and toast the almonds with a dusting of cinnamon and stevia powder. Mix the vinegar, oil, paprika, sea salt, poppy seeds and sesame seeds, and stevia in a bowl. Add the spinach, orange, cranberries and onion slices and toss. Lastly, sprinkle the toasted almonds on top of salad just before serving.