Iron makes you strong, right? Well, sort of. More importantly, getting enough iron in a diet makes a person healthy in the body and mind. Unfortunately, there are lots of iron-deficient people running around—or more likely moping around. Women are especially suspectable to iron deficiency with the Centers For Disease Control reporting at least 10 percent of women are not getting enough iron in their diets. Insufficient iron intake hurts cognitive functions, immune systems, energy levels and muscle development and maintenance. Supplements are one way to make up for any deficiencies, but there are also plenty of great foods that can help. Here’s a list of prime, iron-rich candidates.
Animal products are known for being sources of iron, but plant-based foods can be another option. Chickpeas, a type of legume, is one example. They provide 3.7 mg of iron per cup, which is about 20 percent of a person’s daily requirements.
All shellfish are high in iron, but clams, oysters and mussels really deliver the goods. About 3.5 ounces of clams hold up to 3 mg of iron, which cover 17 percent of an individual’s daily requirements. Better still, shellfish hold heme iron, which a body absorbs more easily than the non-heme iron found in plants.
Got a hankering for chocolate and a need for iron? Grab 100 grams of dark chocolate and about two thirds of the recommended daily intake for iron comes along for the ride. One note: go for at least 70 percent dark chocolate to hit this mark.
Potatoes and particularly their skins are a great source of iron. One large, unpeeled potato (about 10 ounces) contains over 3 mg of iron, almost 20 percent of the recommended daily intake. Sweet potatoes aren’t bad either with a comparably sized potato having about 2 mg of iron.
Dark greens serve up lots of iron, but the delivery is even greater if the greens are cooked. Just how much iron depends on which green is being munched. Spinach holds the high hand with almost 6.5 mg of iron per 1 cup when cooked. Swiss chard is no slouch at 3.95 mg per cooked cup with cooked beet greens dealing out 2.74 mg per cup. Collard greens, kale and turnip greens also serve up plenty of iron.
Eggs yolks may get a bad rap by some, but they are loaded with iron, both heme and non-heme.
Looking for non-heme (not blood-related) iron? Grab a bowl of fortified breakfast cereals. Most cereals are fortified today, and a single bowl can deliver up to 100 percent of a person’s daily iron needs.
Don’t discount versatile tofu. One cup has about 4 mg of iron.
Dried apricots taste great. They are also full of iron. One cup contains 3.46 mg, which makes them a healthy and tasty snack.
Okay, red meat is probably the most highly recognized source of iron. How much depends on the cut and type though.
What’s your go-to iron source? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.