Due to its properties, iron is undoubtedly the basis of a healthy and balanced diet. Both iron deficiency and iron excess are undesirable conditions for the body. Since iron is best absorbed while eating, it is worth knowing the food ingredients that contain a good amount of this element. No worries, you don’t have to look anywhere, because the answer to what products we are talking about can be found in the article below.
Why is iron important?
However, before we discuss products that are rich sources of iron, it is worth pointing out why iron is so important for the human body in general. Iron is an essential micronutrient, whose task, most generally speaking, is to ensure the proper work and functioning of the human body. Its most important function is to participate in the production of red blood cells, i.e. erythrocytes, containing hemoglobin, which is responsible for oxygenation of every cell in the body. Importantly, the daily requirement of iron depends on certain factors, including age, gender, as well as the current state of health.
How to get enough iron?
Iron should be supplied to the body through a variety of sources, i.e. not only by focusing on meat products, where it is relatively abundant, but also by enriching the diet with vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain products.
The intensity of iron absorption or its degree depends partly on us because there are products that significantly support this process – it is primarily about organic acids, and in particular ascorbic acid, known as vitamin C. Thus, it is advisable to add vegetables rich in Vitamin C to your meal.
The level of iron assimilation is also influenced by the source of iron. When it comes to this, animal products are definitely recommended over plant-based ones because iron from them is better absorbed.
The best sources of iron
Iron is an element present in many different foods, which guarantees that in order to provide the body with an adequate amount of iron we will not be forced to take the same products over and over again and as a result of their use our diet will not be monotonous.
Iron can be found both in meat and egg yolks, fruits, vegetables, as well as in nuts and whole grains.
The rich, most popular, and also the most commonly consumed sources of iron are:
Cocoa, which contains 10 mg of iron, most often found in the form of chocolate, whereby it should be pointed out that only dark chocolate is appropriate in this case, and milk or dessert chocolates are not an healthy option.
Eggs, and egg yolks, in particular, are the best when it comes to iron – turkey eggs (4 mg) and goose eggs (about 3.8 mg).
Nuts, in particular pistachio nuts, have 7 mg of iron per 100g.
Vegetable diet should include especially soybeans, because they as much as 15 mg of iron per 100g, white beans – a proportion of 10 mg of iron, potatoes – 7 mg, parsley – 6 mg or spinach and broccoli, whose iron content is 4 mg.
Fruits – when it comes to iron try apricots, which have 6 mg of iron per 100 grams, plums – 3 mg, as well as dried berries and apples, which are a source of iron in the proportion of about 2-3 mg per 100g.
Cereal products should not be omitted, such as rice bran, which contains 18 mg of iron, and wheat bran, which has 10 mg of iron; whole-grain bread is also a good choice to increase the amount of iron in our diet.
Meat, especially beef, pork and poultry liver, because it contains about 20 mg of iron per 100 grams, but also lean beef and pork, which contain an average of 2-3 mg of iron. What is important, meat consumption should be properly and reasonably dosed, because its excess can lead to a significant increase in cholesterol levels, especially if you are a fan of red meat.
Iron in pregnant women
Pregnant women should especially remember to diversify their diet. Regular consumption of small portions of meat (50-80 g) 1 or 2 times a week with a meal in which the main dish is fatty sea fish. The same is true if we talk about products that contain relatively smaller amounts of iron, i.e. fruits, various types of vegetables, nuts, and whole-grain products. The rule of thumb is that the greater the variety, the better.
Iron in a vegetarian diet
Although animal products are by far the best source of iron, people who do not eat meat, such as vegetarians and vegans, will also find something to provide them with the right amount of iron in the body. Although plant foods are not as rich in iron as animal foods, the right choice can ensure that the body gets the required amount of the element.