Everyone needs iron. The nutrient's main function is to help blood deliver oxygen to every cell, tissue and muscle and to remove carbon dioxide from tissues. Without enough of it, limited oxygen can lead to weakness, fatigue, concentration troubles and decreased immunity. Low levels during pregnancy can even impair a child's IQ and growth. The following list of nutrients are a great source of iron.
- Beans of all kinds are fiber-rich sources of the mineral iron. Preparations of red, black, kidney, and pinto beans are delicious served with rice and grain. Pureed with a bit of spice, these beans make a rich dip to serve alongside a plate of crunchy fresh veggies. And don't forget that nuts, while commonly recognized as calcium and protein sources, are also efficient suppliers of iron, especially pistachios, cashews, almonds and roasted peanuts.
- Although carbohydrate is one of the principle fuels the body uses to power aerobic activities, iron also aids in the release of this energy from the foods we eat. If you are not vegetarian, modest portions of lean red meat several times a week will provide a rich, delicious source of iron and protein that is readily absorbable if you have healthy digestion. Liver is also an excellent source of iron.
- When choosing a snack, raisins and other dried fruits offer a handful of benefits. First, they are great tasting, especially when they are plump, moist and fresh from the bag or box. Second, raisins and most dried fruits are high in fiber, while being low in fat and calories. Lastly, raisins are loaded with natural iron. Since they require no refrigeration, raisins and other dried fruits are the perfect portable snack!
- Fish and shellfish are tasty sources of iron. Fresh seafoods that are highest in iron are mussels, oysters and scallops. If you find canned seafoods more convenient and easier to integrate into your kitchen repertoire, try canned salmons, sardines, and tunas on top of pasta or salad greens, or mixed into a sandwich spread.
- Vegetables such as spinach and other dark green, leafy vegetables are wonderful sources of calcium, fiber, and many other important vitamins and minerals. Parsley is by far the best choice for concentrated iron; it packs roughly 8 milligrams of iron into a portion the size of a fist. Spinach, peas, leeks, and radish are also among the most potent suppliers of natural iron.
- This seemingly bland food is one of the most versatile and nutritious plant foods on the market today. Discovered by the Chinese more than 2000 years ago, tofu is made from the solid curd of soybean milk. A wonderful source of protein for vegetarians and non-vegetarians, a meal created with a 4 oz. serving of tofu will offer 35% of the recommended daily serving of iron. What's more, tofu is enriched with calcium, so that same 4 oz. portion will provide nearly 10% of the daily required amount.
- In addition to providing quickly assimilated carbohydrates, 2 tsp. of blackstrap molasses provides nearly 15% of an adult's total daily recommended iron supply. But what is blackstrap molasses? Blackstrap molasses is just one type of molasses; it is made from the third boiling of the highly concentrated sugar syrup that is the byproduct of refining cane sugar into table sugar. Unlike processed sugars stripped of nutritional value, blackstrap molasses is not only a concentrated sweetener, it may sweeten many aspects of your health.