Iron is crucial for the body and we should therefore follow a diet comprised of foods that are abundant in iron, for example, red meat, dark chocolate, seaweed, and different spices. Unfortunately, there are cases when one can experience lack of iron and when left untreated, this issue can lead to anemia. This happens when the body finds it hard to assimilate it and the digestive system has a problem extracting it from foods and storing it into the body.
How Much Iron Do We Need?
Men need 9 mg of iron per day and women and adolescents need 18. When women have their period, they need to intake even more of it in order to compensate for the loss. After menopause, they will need no more than 9 mg in their daily. Pregnant women need approximately 20 mg of iron on a daily basis for the proper development of the fetus and high level of iron for the breastfeeding milk.
When we do not have enough iron in our bodies, our physical capacity and intellectual performance significantly drop and the risk of fetal disorders in pregnant women is much higher. Moreover, excessive amount of iron is also bad for our health and this condition is known as hemochromatosis.
The Most Common Signs of Iron Deficiency
- Pale face
What Causes a Low Level of Iron?
- Insufficient iron from foods due to a vegan or vegetarian diet
- Low iron bioavailability because of too much tea or calcium supplements
- Low absorption due to gluten intolerance, IBS, or other intestinal disorders
- Loss of blood due to heavy menstrual flow or birth
- An increased need for this mineral due to growth, breastfeeding, and pregnancy
Foods Abundant in Iron
- Legumes like mung bean because they contain around 1.8 mg per 100 grams
- Spinach is low on calories, but rich in iron and it also contains vital antioxidants and vitamin A
- Broccoli has 1 mg per 100 grams which is 6 percent of the recommended daily intake. It also has 168 percent of vitamin C and K and folates
- Tofu is a soy-based food that is a great source of iron for vegetarians and vegans and 126 grams of tofu has 3.6 mg of iron or 19 percent of the recommended daily intake
- Dark chocolate is not just tasty, but it is also abundant in this mineral and one portion supplies you with 18 percent of the recommended daily intake
- Lentils have 3.3 mg of iron per 100 grams as well as fiber, magnesium, and vitamin B
- Kale is a green veggie that has around 1.5 mg per 100 grams and it also has vitamin K and fiber
- Pumpkin seeds are amazing and they have 3.3 mg of this mineral per 100 grams as well as magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Mix them with different salads and smoothies
- Beetroot is a vegetable with 1.8 mg of iron per 100 grams and it also offers magnesium and calcium
- Almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, dates, and figs have an average of 2.4 grams to 3 mg of iron, however, they are rich in calories so you should consume a handful per day, not more; add them to smoothies and different salads