According to the WHO, the number one nutritional deficiency in the world is iron deficiency. As a mineral, iron is needed to maintain homeostasis in the body for normal functioning. Majority of the iron supply is found in red blood cells. The mineral is used to carry oxygen to supply the vital organs of the body. Additionally, it is also used to produce ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), the source of energy for the body. The body is incapable of producing iron on its own and so its supply is dependent to food sources and iron supplements. From its dietary sources, iron comes in two different types: non-heme and heme. The one that is easily absorbed by the body is heme iron. While non-heme, iron rich foods need the help of other nutrients for it to be absorbed better. Nevertheless, they provide ample amount of iron supply needed to support the vital functions and activities of the body.
Here is a list of the top 10 iron rich foods that you have to include in your diet:
1. Dark meat like lamb, beef, pork or organ meats like liver, intestines and stomach of animals.
2. Leafy vegetables such as broccoli, collards, kale and turnips are high in iron.
3. Legumes that contain the best iron content are the common beans and chicken peas. While for pregnant women and elementary kids, the best sources for iron come from lima beans, dry beans, green peas, and pinto beans.
4. Fruits that are dried like prunes and raisins also provide significant iron supply to the body.
5. Poultry products like chicken, duck, liver and turkey give 40% iron content for noth dark and white meat.
6. Fish such as sardines, oysters, clams, anchovies and mussels are good sources of iron. Plus, they are easy to digest and absorb because they contain protein and minimal connective tissues.
7. Tofu contains more than 6.5 milligrams of iron. Each serving is enough to significantly increase your iron levels.
8. Egg yolks
9. Whole wheat or yeast leavened bread also provide a good deal of enzymes and minerals which includes iron, cobalt, copper and molybdenum.
10. Pasta, rice, oats and cereals
Eating iron-rich foods should be completed with Vitamin C enriched foods and supplements. Nevertheless, caution should be practiced in maintaining an adequate supply of iron in the body. Too much and too less of it can equally cause devastating effects that lead to illness.