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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 May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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