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Replace Your Iron Source From Processed Meats With These 5 Foods

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.

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 September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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