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15 Foods Super Rich In Iron

15 Foods Super Rich In Iron

Have you ever wondered why Popeye guzzled spinach each time he had to face Bluto? That is because he needed an extra boost to help him defeat his nemesis. Spinach contains iron, an important mineral that aids in important bodily functions such as transporting oxygen in the blood and contains a number of protein that including haemoglobin, myoglobin, cytochromes, and enzymes involved in redox reaction. Transporting of oxygen in the blood is important because this process provides energy for our daily life.

Back to Popeye, the message he is giving through eating spinach is not only directed to children, but also to the adults. About one-third of the world’s population suffer from iron deficiency. Iron is lost from the body through sweat, blood loss, and through shedding of intestinal cells. An average adult man needs around 1mg of iron, while an average menstruating female needs 1.5mg. Below is a rough sketch of recommended dietary iron intakes per day:

  • Infants 0-6 months – 0.2mg for breastfed infants
  • Infants 7-12 months – 11mg
  • Girls and boys aged 1-3 years – 9mg
  • Girls and boys aged 4-8 years – 10mg
  • Girls and boys aged 9-13 years – 8mg
  • Boys aged 14-18 years – 11mg
  • Girls aged 14-18 years – 15mg
  • Women aged 19-50 years – 18mg
  • Pregnant women – 27mg
  • Lactating women – 9-10mg
  • Women aged 51 years and over – 8 mg
  • Men aged 19 years and over – 8 mg

So… what are the foods that are high in iron? Red meat, varieties of nuts, molluscs, beans and pulses… and the list goes on. For your convenience, here are the top 15 foods that are super rich in iron.

1. Molluscs (Clams, Mussels, Oysters, Cuttlefish, Octopus, Scallops, )

Iron: 28mg – 100mg

Next time you are out at a restaurant, go for the seafood platter. Molluscs like clams, mussels, oysters, and squids are crammed with nutrients, zinc, and vitamin B12. If molluscs are not your choice of food, why don’t you go for salmons, tuna, and haddock? They may have less iron in them compared to molluscs, but they are a fine substitute. If you prefer to eat seafood at home, here is a variety of recipes for you to try!

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2. Liver (Chicken, Beef, Lamb, Pork, and Turkey)

Iron: 23mg – 100mg

The first thing that comes to one’s mind is that liver consumption will risk an abundance of cholesterol. Did you know that liver contains heme iron, minerals, vitamins, and proteins? It is better to consume in moderation for pregnant women, because high levels of vitamin A present in the liver may be connected to birth defects. Here is a recipe for liver that is easy to make and is palatable at the same time.

3. Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powder

Iron: 17mg – 100mg

Dark chocolate is full of minerals and contains a surprising amount of fiber. It not only reduces heart attack risks, but also boosts happiness, eliminating depression. Cocoa powder has similar effects as well. While you can simply buy a bar of dark chocolate (the darker the better), with cocoa powder, you can actually add to your salads or even cereals!

4. Seeds (Pumpkin, Squash, Sesame, Sunflower, Flax)

Iron: 15mg – 100mg

These seeds are super healthy, and the best thing about them is either you can eat them as snacks, or you can add them to any of your meals to increase the amount of iron. You can pop some of the seeds on to your favorite salad, or mix them in a bread or muffin recipe.

5. Dried Fruits (Apricots, Raisins, Peaches, Prunes, Figs, Currants)

Iron: 6.3mg – 100mg

Another super healthy snack that is stashed with nutrients, this is a delicious option for those with sweet tooth. If you are wondering about the difference between dried fruits and fresh fruits, it has been found out that dried fruits are in certain ways much healthier than fresh fruits!

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6. Nuts (Cashew, Peanuts, Pine, Almond, Hazelnut)

Iron: 6.1mg – 100mg

Nuts about nuts? Good for you! Each type of nut has its own nutrient value and is rich in iron, calcium, protein, and sufficient amount of fat. You can have 10-11 unsalted nuts per day as a snack, or you can add it to your preferred recipe. Here is a fruity mincemeat with almonds recipe for you to enjoy!

7. Red meat (Beef and Lamb)

Iron: 3.7mg – 100mg

This is only applicable for the lean tenderloin of beef and lamb. Avoid the fats and you are good to eat. Many of you will be skeptical about this point, but just like liver, red meats contain heme iron which is easily absorbed by the body than other minerals. Also, please avoid cooking the meat in excess oil and spices. You can try a steak recipe for an easy dinner in less than thirty minutes.

8. Beans and Pulses (Lentils, Kidney beans, White beans, Black beans, Black-eyed peas, Chickpeas, Lima beans)

Iron: 3.7mg – 100mg

This is perfect for the vegetarians. The iron value for beans and pulses are the same as for red meats. For example, one cup of chickpeas contains a generous amount of protein, besides containing high amount of iron. But the catch is that these foods have non-heme iron. Non-heme iron can only be absorbed through vitamin C. It is known as the iron booster superstar. Papaya, bell pepper, broccoli, citrus fruits (oranges, strawberries, etc) contain enough vitamin C. So, if you can add some of these iron boosters with your beans and/or pulses, the iron intake will be easily digested by your system. Check out this healthy recipe for lentils.

9. Dried Thyme

Iron: 3.7mg – 100mg

Dried thyme has been considered  one  of the most nutritional foods. It is rich in fiber, vitamin A and C, potassium, manganese, magnesium, selenium, and the best part is it has zero cholesterol! Fresh and dried thyme can be found throughout the year, and you can add them in anything you want to: eggs, salads, or just sprinkle a handful of leaves on top of your pasta! Dried thyme is often used in herbal medicines. Learn more about thyme and you will be surprised to see the benefits of dried thyme!

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10. Dark, Leafy Greens (Spinach, Raw Kale, Cooked Turnip Greens, Raw Beet Green, Swiss Chard)

Iron: 3.6mg – 100mg

Did you know that one cup of cooked spinach is enough to provide you with 6mg of iron, plenty of protein, fiber, calcium, and vitamins A and E? Now you know the proper answer to Popeye’s spinach power! Since it is a non-heme iron, it is best cooked with other ingredients that contain vitamin C. The biggest worry is that kids dislike having spinach. You can sneak it into a recipe that kids enjoy such as this vegetable lasagna, something  both children and adults can savor.

11. Blackstrap Molasses

Iron: 3.5mg – 100mg

Studies have proved surprising health benefits of blackstrap molasses. It is not only a natural sweetener but is highly nutritious. You can use it as a hair tonic, or as a substitute for sugar, safe for diabetes patients, and you can use it as a health supplement.

12. Tofu

Iron: 2.7mg – 100mg

Research shows that tofu is an excellent source of iron, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, protein, and contains all eight essential amino acids. It is also a great option for vegetarians. Tofu can be used as a staple ingredient, but keep in mind that calcium can interfere with iron absorption. It is therefore recommended to buy “tofu without added calcium”. Here is a collection of ways to cook tofu.

13. Potato (Baked, Russets)

Iron: 2.1mg – 100mg

One medium baked potato contains good source of vitamins and minerals. Whereas one large russet potato contains more iron than white or red potato. The U.S Department of Agriculture recommends daily intake of potatoes for both men and women. It is also said that if you eat potatoes with meat, the non-heme iron will help in absorbing heme iron found in meat, thus helping to absorb more iron from the potatoes. You can also make a tasty potato meal ahead of time and have it for a lunch.

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14. Whole Grains, Fortified Cereals, Bran

Iron: 1.5mg – 100mg

If you are a cereal kind of a person, then kudos to you, because you are starting the day in a healthy way. These whole grains, fortified cereals, or brans contain enough iron, calcium, fiber, zinc and vitamin B to keep you energized for a long time. Check out the nutritional facts for a better understanding. Please keep in mind that whole grains are good source of iron and MUST not be taken with iron supplement.

15. Egg Noodles (Cooked)

Iron: 1.5mg – 100mg

Another staple food option, egg noodles can be very well substituted for rice. Unlike rice, noodles won’t make you feel heavy and are loaded with important vitamins and minerals. You can cook egg noodles in any way you want to. It is always better to keep the ingredients simple, and fresh. Here is an easy recipe to make egg noodles healthy, yet hearty.

Always remember, too much of calcium or calcium supplements, tannins, phytates, egg proteins and antacids are iron blockers. They will decrease the absorption of iron in your body. Instead, make sure you add vitamin C rich foods with iron rich cuisines. It does not matter whether you are a male or a female, if you don’t have enough iron in your system you are bound to suffer from anemia. It is very common and you’ll be successful in defeating anemia if you always have a iron rich food in your daily intake.

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Last Updated on January 14, 2019

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

1. Take the scenic route.

Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

2. Distract yourself.

No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

3. Listen to music or podcasts.

There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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4. Bring a friend.

Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

5. Accessorize.

There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

6. Compete.

A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

7. Relax.

The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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