If you are eating cleanly, you should be getting a lot of vitamins and minerals, right? Not so - especially if you are prone ( like me ) to gravitate towards certain clean option over and over like yogurt, chicken, apples, etc. You might not be getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. Iron is an important mineral - especially for women who have a tendency to be iron deficient. Eat a varied diet, and make sure to incorporate a mixture of nutrient dense foods in your daily menu.
1. Red meatRed meat is likely the most well known source of iron in the diet. However, eating too much red meat can be bad for cholesterol levels, so it’s important to eat other foods high in iron too.
2. PotatoesBoth regular potatoes and sweet potatoes are good sources of iron. Be sure to eat the skin of a regular potato if you really want to get the benefit of the iron.
3. SpinachSpinach is another food high in iron. It is also one of the most all around nutritious vegetables you can eat, and it’s very low in calories.
4. Iron fortified cerealsMany breakfast cereals, like All Bran and oatmeal are fortified with iron. They have so much iron fortification that they are actually some of the highest foods in iron.
5. Swiss ChardSwiss chard is a delicious fall green, and it is a food high in iron along with other vitamins and minerals.
6. PumpkinA seasonal favorite, pumpkin is another food high in iron. There are many ways to prepare pumpkin, too. Pumpkin seeds are also a good food high in iron.
7. TofuTofu is a great substitute for meat, and it is very high in iron.
8. LentilsLentils are another good source of protein, and a good meat substitute. But, they are also a food high in iron.
9. SoybeansSoy is a great source of iron, and it comes in many forms today, from edamame to soy milk.
10. Dried figsFigs rank among the fruits highest in iron. They are high in sugar, too, so watch the calories.
Just as important as choosing foods high in iron for your diet is choosing the foods to eat with them. Some foods minimize iron’s absorption while others maximize it.
Eating Foods With Vitamin C Helps Iron AbsorptionEating foods with vitamin C along with iron rich foods helps your body absorb the iron better, while eating or drinking foods with caffeine along with iron rich foods actually blocks the absorption of the iron.
In addition, it’s important to note that our bodies absorb the iron from meat sources is absorbed more readily by the body than iron from plant sources. So, when you eat foods like spinach and Swiss chard you may need a bit more of them to get the same amount of iron.
With red meat, on the other hand, you can eat less and still get the benefit because your body absorbs it much better.
Check with your doctor to determine how much iron you need in a day. Women need more than men, and pregnant women need more than women who are not pregnant.