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Replace Your Iron Source From Processed Meats With These 5 Foods

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Replace Your Iron Source From Processed Meats With These 5 Foods

You may or may not be someone who is anemic. Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is the most common type of anemia, and it occurs when your body doesn’t get enough iron. The results — a decrease in the number of red blood cells caused by too little iron.

About 20% of women, 50% of pregnant women, and 3% of men do not have enough iron in their body.

In fact, iron deficiency with or without concurrent anemia affects ≈ 30% of the global population, making it the most widespread nutrient deficiency.

Most of us rely on red meat to obtain our daily recommended value of iron needed.

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But, what if I were to tell you that processed meats and red meat were recently deemed carcinogenic in October 2015 by the World Health Organization?

I think you’ll agree when I say that 30% of the global population is a LARGE amount of people that IDA affects. But how can you be sure you are not increasing your chances of developing cancer when eating red meat to obtain your daily recommended value of iron?

Well, it turns out, you can dramatically lower your chances of developing cancer while maintaining healthy levels of iron without eating processed red meats.

In this post, I want to share with you detailed information from a previous article to why you should be eating the following foods for iron:

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Leafy Greens

Kale doesn’t contain as much iron as spinach does. In fact, three cups of boiled spinach provides around 17% of your daily iron needed. This actually is more iron than what’s found in chicken, turkey, and most forms of beef!

Eating leafy greens at least 3 times per week will ensure that you are getting enough iron as well as other trace minerals. Other minerals include:

  • Magnesium
  • Folate
  • Protein
  • Vitamin A, E, and C

Dark Chocolate

This might be one of the most delicious ways to get an abundant amount of iron. Depending on the brand of dark chocolate you eat, you can expect up to almost 40% of your daily iron needs.

There are many other types of beans, but cocoa beans are very high in fats. You will definitely want to limit the amount you eat throughout the day. Try using cocoa powder which is much lower in fat. Add the powder to your smoothies and even try baking with it.

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Lentils

I used to hate lentils because my mom forced me to eat them as a child. Lentils are one of the best sources of trace minerals that are super high in iron content.

In a 1/2 cup of boiled and drained lentils there is 17% the recommended daily value of iron. As I have grown older, I’ve learned to deal with them especially due to the fact they are high in:

  • Magnesium
  • Protein
  • Potassium
  • Zinc, and some
  • B vitamins

Nowadays, I like to blend them into my soups. You can also eat them alone, or use them as a base to a chip dip. Try and find the red (split) lentils. These are the most nutrient diverse variety that are the healthiest.

Dried Fruits

It’s important to eat a healthy breakfast each morning to start your day. Adding dried fruits like apricots and raisins are the perfect source for iron. One cup of dried apricots contains 2.1 milligrams of iron.

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Add some dried apricots to your smoothies, oatmeal, salads, entrées, or you can even bake with them if you like too! Dried apricots are a particularly good source of beta carotene, potassium, and fiber as well.

Many dried apricots contain preservatives to keep the orange color. These preservatives include sulfites or sulfur- dioxide. Be sure to take a look at the nutrition label when purchasing them. Sulfites can be an allergen for some people.

Beans

Beans are very high in protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron too. Adding more beans to your diet will allow you to get a nutrient dense abundance of minerals. White beans have more iron than other beans, and soy beans are also a great source.

Conclusion

Depending on which ones you like, try to get cannellini, navy, or other variety of white beans to start including in your diet. I like to add them to my salads and I recently started making them in a dip for chips with corn, and other beans.

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These 5 foods are a great alternative to getting the iron your body needs. Everything you eat should be focused on moderation. This post was not written to get you to stop eating red meat. By adding these 5 foods to your diet, you can begin to get more diverse nutrients including iron.

Featured photo credit: My Net Diary via mynetdiary.com

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Nickalas D'Urso

Health Coach

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Last Updated on January 27, 2022

5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

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5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

Food plays an integral role in our lives and rightfully so: the food we eat is intricately intertwined with our culture. You can learn a lot about a particular culture by exploring their food. In fact, it may be difficult to fully define a culture without a nod to their cuisine.

“Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1825).

Don’t believe me? Here’s why food is the best way to understand a culture:

Food is a universal necessity.

It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from – you have to eat. And your societal culture most likely evolved from that very need, the need to eat. Once they ventured beyond hunting and gathering, many early civilizations organized themselves in ways that facilitated food distribution and production. That also meant that the animals, land and resources you were near dictated not only what you’d consume, but how you’d prepare and cook it. The establishment of the spice trade and the merchant silk road are two example of the great lengths many took to obtain desirable ingredients.

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Food preservation techniques are unique to climates and lifestyle.

Ever wonder why the process to preserve meat is so different around the world? It has to do with local resources, needs, and climates. In Morocco, Khlea is a dish composed of dried beef preserved in spices and then packed in animal fat. When preserved correctly, it’s still good for two years when stored at room temperature. That makes a lot of sense in Morocco, where the country historically has had a strong nomadic population, desert landscape, and extremely warm, dry temperatures.

Staples of a local cuisines illustrate historical eating patterns.

Some societies have cuisines that are entirely based on meat, and others are almost entirely plant-based. Some have seasonal variety and their cuisines change accordingly during different parts of the year. India’s cuisine is extremely varied from region to region, with meat and wheat heavy dishes in the far north, to spectacular fish delicacies in the east, to rice-based vegetarian diets in the south, and many more variations in between.

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The western part of India is home to a group of strict vegetarians: they not only avoid flesh and eggs, but even certain strong aromatics like garlic, or root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Dishes like Papri Chat, featuring vegetable based chutneys mixed with yoghurt, herbs and spices are popular.

Components of popular dishes can reveal cultural secrets.

This is probably the most intriguing part of studying a specific cuisine. Certain regions of the world have certain ingredients easily available to them. Most people know that common foods such as corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, and chocolate are native to the Americas, or “New World”. Many of today’s chefs consider themselves to be extremely modern when fusing cuisines, but cultural lines blended long ago when it comes to purity of ingredients.

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Black pepper originated in Asia but became, and still remains, a critical part of European cuisine. The Belgians are some of the finest chocolatiers, despite it not being native to the old world. And perhaps one of the most interesting result from the blending of two cuisines is Chicken Tikka Masala; it resembles an Indian Mughali dish, but was actually invented by the British!

Food tourism – it’s a whole new way to travel.

Some people have taken the intergation of food and culture to a new level. No trip they take is complete with out a well-researched meal plan, that dictates not only the time of year for their visit, but also how they will experience a new culture.

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So, a food tourist won’t just focus on having a pint at Oktoberfest, but will be interested in learning the German beer making process, and possibly how they can make their own fresh brew. Food tourists visit many of the popular mainstays for traditional tourism, like New York City, San Francisco, London, or Paris, but many locations that they frequent, such as Armenia or Laos, may be off the beaten path for most travelers. And since their interest in food is more than meal deep, they have the chance to learn local preparation techniques that can shed insight into a whole other aspect of a particular region’s culture.

Featured photo credit: Young Shih via unsplash.com

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