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.
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:
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:
- Vitamin A, E, and C
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.
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:
- 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.
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.
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 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.
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