Our bodies are so complex it’s hard to make sure we get everything it needs to function properly. In this blog we’re talking about how to make sure you get your daily dose of iron.
Why do we need Iron?
It’s not to say that you need to start dialing down and counting micros, but Iron is one nutrient you may want to pay attention to. Iron is the building block for hemoglobin which transports oxygen through the blood to different organs. As good as the body is at storing and using iron, it doesn’t actually produce this super essential nutrient, so we have to consume it, and make sure we get enough.
How much Iron do you need?
Iron needs depend on the person and circumstance. Menstruating and pregnant women typically need twice the average requirement 14.8mg (menstruating women are frequently losing blood and pregnant women are providing for two). The general standard for everyone else is 8.7mg a day.
What happens if we don’t get enough Iron?
“Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient disorder in the world,” William Quéré. If you’re experiencing unexplained fatigue, paleness, shortness of breath and heart palpitations you may want to see a GP to test for iron deficiency.
There are dozens of iron supplements one can take however it’s not difficult to meet the daily requirement with some mindful food shopping. High iron foods typically have countless other nutritional benefits. So, it’s good to actually make the extra effort to incorporate them in your diet. Below are 9 must haves in our weekly delivery.
Fortified Breakfast Cereals
Iron fortified breakfast cereals make sure you start your day on a good note. Sainsbury’s Balance with red fruit cereal has 4 mg of iron per 30g serving. This would be a good way to start the day if you have concerns about meeting your nutritional requirement.
Liver and other internal organs naturally have the highest amount of iron per serving. It’s definitely worth investigating tasty recipes at 8.99 mg of iron per 100 g serving.
If you’re a fan of duck you’re in luck! 100mg of duck meat contains 4.16mg of iron. Roast duck dinners are on our menu once a week.
A much more versatile option. 100 g of ground beef contains about 2 mg of iron. Ground beef is great because it can be incorporated into so many recipes from lasagna to tacos. It’s good to note that iron is easiest to absorb in animal-based foods so if you do eat meat, they should be your go-to base for lunches and dinners.
Seafood is also a great source of iron. If you’re dining out or a great cook yourself oysters and other shellfish should be your number one pick. For a quick supermarket grab, sardines are also a great source of Iron. 100g or sardines contains about 2.92 mg of iron.
Soy bean flour is iron rich and can be substituted for flour in so many of your favorite recipes. Use soy bean flour in pizza dough, cakes, or pancakes. One cup contains 9.7 mg of iron. Unfortunately, iron is not easily absorbed from plant-based sources but, vitamin C rich foods and drinks can aid with absorption. So, grab a glass of fresh orange juice with your soybean flour pancakes in the morning.
Beans and lentils are high in iron, so they are an awesome base for vegetarian meals. There’s so much you can do with beans incorporating them in salads, or burgers. You might use them as a topping on your soybean flour pizza crust. 1 cup of white beans contain about 2.2 mg of iron.
Nuts are another great go-to for vegetarians. Our nut of choice is cashews. They’re high in iron with about 3.6g per half cup. Be mindful they’re also high in fat – good fats but still something to be conscious about. Too much of anything can be bad for you.
For dessert, choose dark chocolate every time! Because it’s so high in essential nutrients, it’s been linked to so many health benefits including improved brain function and blood flow. 1 ounce of Lindt Excellence dark supreme 90% cocoa contains 2.5 mg of iron.
Just as there are certain food and drink that improve iron absorption, there are some that inhibit iron absorption. Be carefully of having coffee, tea, wine, or milk with iron rich foods.
The perfect diet doesn’t exist. So, don’t stress to catch every macro and micro nutrient in perfect volume. Just try to do better than yesterday and you’ll get there! Keep checking our blog for more health information and useful tips. You can read about why protein is so important to our diets here.