Iron is an essential nutrient for the transport of oxygen in the tissues and the functioning of our body, hence the importance of including foods with iron in our daily diet.
But, it is not only important to consume foods with iron, it is also important to incorporate those that facilitate its absorption because a diet low in this mineral can bring serious health problems.
Low levels of iron in our diet can cause weakness and anemia.
If lately you feel more tired than usual and notice that your nails are weak and brittle, it is probably due to an iron deficiency. I'll tell you which are the foods that will give you more iron.
Why Is It Important To Eat Foods With Iron?
A healthy and balanced diet includes a varied food source since each one of them provides the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and proteins that our body needs.
With regard to minerals, iron is considered one of the most important nutrients because it helps the body carry out the main physiological processes that allow us to enjoy good #health
Although it is possible to consume supplements that contain iron, the best way to assimilate it is through foods that have this important mineral.
The iron in our body is responsible for maintaining an adequate flow of oxygen in the bloodstream.
Thanks to iron, it is possible to transport the oxygen captured by the lungs to the rest of the body through hemoglobin. While, on the other hand, myoglobin is responsible for supplying our muscles with the iron they need to create fiber and grow healthy and strong.
The lack of iron in our daily diet can bring about some problems such as:
- Lack of concentration
- The persistence of excessive tiredness when carrying out the tasks of the daily routine
- A condition is known as anemia
What It The Recommended Daily Iron Requirement?
- Men in general only require up to 8 milligrams of iron in their food per day.
- For women, the amount of iron fluctuates throughout their lives. Between the ages of 18 and 50, they require 18 milligrams of iron in their diet. Those 50 and older will only need the same amount consumed by men: 8 milligrams.
It is currently estimated that at least a quarter of the world's population suffers from anemia due to a lack of iron in their food.
Iron deprivation brings with it problems when assimilating oxygen in the blood with which we will be less oxygenated, with a feeling of continuous tiredness, stomach pain and it will be very difficult to pay adequate attention to certain aspects of our routine in which we previously did not have any kind of problems.
What Should We Take Into Account When Including Foods With Iron?
When assimilating iron, it is convenient to keep in mind that the body carries out metabolic processes in which eating other types of food, which do not necessarily contain iron, can help us fix this type of mineral much more easily.
Foods With Heme Iron
According to its degree of bioavailability, heme iron is the one that can provide the highest level of nutrition to our body.
Foods such as meat, clams, and fish of all kinds have a higher biological value as they contain iron that can be absorbed very easily by our bloodstream.
It is estimated that the iron in this type of food turns out to be between 2 and 6 times easier to assimilate compared to non-heme iron.
Foods With Non-Heme Iron
It is contained in a wide variety of green leafy vegetables, cereals, fruits, and legumes. A healthy menu should always include a varied selection of these foods because in addition to iron, each one of them provides other substances that are vital to achieving healthy nutrition.
However, bioavailability is much lower compared to foods with heme iron, as many of them contain other substances such as tannins, oxalic acid, or phytic acid that prevent a higher level of iron absorption.
For this reason, many nutritionists, depending on each case, recommend including both types of food, emphasizing those with heme iron.
Iron from plant sources is absorbed much more slowly than from meat sources, however, by including vitamin C it is possible to maximize iron absorption. For this reason, it is always advisable to accompany meals with vegetables and legumes with orange juice.
Why Is It Necessary To Consume Foods With Iron?
Carrying out a diet with adequate levels of iron is essential to preserve our health. Especially in some key stages of life such as during childhood and adolescence or in the case of women, during pregnancy.
As I mentioned before, iron is absorbed into the blood through hemoglobin and vitamin C, which helps capture a greater amount of this important mineral so that our body can properly perform all its vital functions.
Vitamin C and iron form an unparalleled duo, as both create a symbiosis that improves the absorption of iron in our bodies.
Although most iron is dissolved in the blood, it is also true that there are other types of substances that transport iron to various parts of the body.
This is what happens with a specialized protein called myoglobin, which allows the synthesis of ferritin, a substance that is responsible for transferring the necessary oxygen to the spleen, bone marrow, and liver.
Unlike other types of minerals, the human body optimizes iron intake to make the most of available reserves; In this way, much less iron is required compared to calcium, for example.
On the other hand, iron is not expelled through urine and feces, but small amounts are lost only through the pores when we sweat.
Meats in general are a more recommended alternative to assimilate iron more easily. Within these meats are fish, shellfish, and white meats such as chicken or turkey.
Although this type of food can provide a rapidly absorbed source of iron, it is also advisable to include other types of food, such as those made from vegetables and legumes such as lentils.
Foods With Iron For Pregnant Women
In the case of pregnant women, it is recommended to take special care with sources of iron.
Although it is a fundamental mineral for the healthy development of the future baby, the truth is that there are some fish with high mercury content.
Mercury can be harmful to the fetus, retarding its growth and putting its pregnancy at risk. Therefore, if you are pregnant before eating fish such as swordfish or shark, choose other alternatives such as salmon or tuna.
Go to a consultation with your gynecologist or your nutritionist to receive complete guidance about the foods that you can consume rich in iron, as well as the iron-based supplements that you should take.
Foods With a High Content Of Iron
One of the best alternatives when raising iron levels in your daily intake is precisely through foods with iron.
Below, I present some of the best options to choose foods of all kinds that will provide you with the iron that your body needs.
The liver is one of the organs with the greatest benefits if we are talking about beef. It has large amounts of protein, vitamins to a greater extent vitamin A and also contains vitamin B and minerals such as iron and selenium.
In addition to the liver, other organs such as the heart, brain, or kidneys can also be consumed. The liver is a food with an extraordinary nutritional capacity since it has an index of 634% with respect to the daily intake index.
If you love seafood and can access it while it's still fresh, then you're in luck because it's one of the best ways to get iron into your diet.
As for its variety, mollusks and oysters, have high levels of this important mineral. To give you an idea, for each serving of about 100 grams of oysters it is possible to obtain up to 2.8 milligrams of iron.
Additionally, they also have a high content of proteins and healthy fatty acids, which is really important when fighting heart conditions and eradicating hypertension, because thanks to shellfish in general it is possible to increase the percentage of HDL in the blood.
It is one of the plant-based foods with the highest percentage of protein and iron. It has low amounts of gluten, making it a healthy alternative in the case of celiac patients, and also every 185 grains of quinoa provide up to 2.8 milligrams of iron.
Dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa has minerals such as magnesium and copper, it also has a very pleasant flavor, being prepared in countless types of desserts.
As if this were not enough, this food has a very high rate of prebiotic fibers that act as a powerful antioxidant by eliminating free radicals from the body.
With only 28 milligrams of chocolate, it is possible to ingest up to 3.3 milligrams of iron.
As you can see, eating healthy is one of the best decisions we can make in life.
Through a healthy and balanced diet, we can enjoy a better quality of life and reduce the possibility of suffering from diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, anemia, etc.
Iron is a component of vital importance that is present in a wide range of foods and by ingesting it we are guaranteeing the proper functioning of our body.
In the same way, its intake turns out to be essential during the pregnancy period to ensure the correct development of the baby.