Why Is Iron Important?
Iron is a vital mineral in the human diet because it plays a major role in numerous bodily functions. Energy production, immunity, and the oxygenation of your blood all rely on iron. And while iron deficiency is relatively less common in the United States (5% or 10 million people), certain groups tend to be more susceptible to this condition – particularly women and children.
Luckily, most iron deficiencies can be remedied through proper nutrition. Consuming foods that either contain high levels of iron or aid in the absorption of iron can help ensure you get enough for your body to optimally function. So let’s check out the Top 10 Iron Rich Foods to include in your nutrition today!
Top 10 Iron Rich Foods
- Chickpeas (12.5 mg per 1 cup)
- Kidney Beans (15.1 mg per 1 cup)
- Kale (1 mg per 1 cup)
- Oatmeal (13.9 mg per 1 cup)
- Dried Apricots (3.5 mg per 1 cup)
- Beef liver ( 15.2 mg per 3 oz.)
- Ham slice with bone (4.9 mg per slice)
- Duck (3.8 mg per 1 cup)
- Oysters (5.9 mg per 3 oz.)
- Mussels (5.7 mg per 3 oz.)
Note: Increasing iron intake can often cause constipation. You can avoid this by taking additional supplements such as magnesium that are commonly used for constipation relief.
How to Increase the Absorption of Iron from Iron Rich Foods
Foods containing Vitamin C or ascorbic acid are believed to aid in the absorption of iron. Pairing iron rich foods with ingredients high in Vitamin C is a great way to increase the amount of iron your body absorbs. With that said, let’s now take a look at 10 foods that are packed with Vitamin C!
Top 10 Foods High in Vitamin C to Aid in the Absorption of Iron
- Guava (125.6 mg per 1 fruit)
- Navel Oranges (82.7 mg per 1 fruit)
- Green Chili Peppers (181.9 mg per 1/2 cup)
- Cantaloupe (57.3 mg per 1 cup diced)
- Kiwi (64 mg per 1 fruit)
- Papaya (88.3 mg per 1 cup diced)
- Strawberries (84.7 mg per 1 cup)
- Pineapple (78.9 mg per 1 cup diced)
- Mango (122.3 mg per fruit)
- Kale (80.4 mg per 1 cup)
Coincidentally, dark leafy greens like kale and spinach are both high in iron and Vitamin C, and easy to add into most meals. The bottom line is getting enough iron from your diet is fairly easy. Just eat a few foods from each of these lists and you should be well covered. However, if you do suspect that you or a family member has an iron deficiency, make sure you consult a medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.