Spinach may not give you the anchor-like strong arms like Popeye for fighting villains like Bluto. But there is one thing it surely can give you and that is iron. Iron is usually deemed as a metal which may not be relevant to your health. But iron is available in two forms; the metal form and the mineral form, and the latter is what you need. If we look at the functions of this mineral, the most important one is carrying oxygen to all parts of the body and forming red blood cells. So yes, it has a very crucial role to play.
On an average, the daily intake of iron should be 18 mg. However, you must remember that iron absorbed by the body depends on how much has been stored. Iron deficiencies take place when the amount of iron you consume is lesser than what you lose. Iron deficiencies may lead to anemia. Menstruating women are at a higher risk of iron deficiencies. Taking iron supplements is an option but overdoing it leads to some side effects. Therefore, you must try to fill up on natural sources of iron.
Shellfish like oysters, clams, and mussels are indeed a very rich source of iron. A 100 gram serving of clams is 28% iron. Now, this can vary because some varieties of it contain very less quantity of iron. Oysters, on the other hand, contain 10.2 grams of iron in a 100-gram serving. These varieties of fish contain the heme iron which is easily absorbed by the body, unlike other non-heme sources. They are also known to raise your good cholesterol levels, thereby promoting better heart health.
Spinach is that leafy green which is known to offer a wide variety of health benefits for very few calories. A 100 gram serving of spinach gives you 3.2 grams of iron. This veggie is a non-heme source of iron which is why it is absorbed slowly. However, it is also a good source of vitamin C which increases the speed of iron absorption by the body. Eat spinach with healthy fats like olive oil to maximize its health benefits.
Organ meats include liver, brain, kidney, and heart and are all very nutritious. They are all a very rich and healthy source of iron. A 100 gram serving of beef liver gives you 6.5 grams of iron. They are also rich in protein, copper, selenium, B vitamins and choline, which humans do not get usually from natural sources.
Red meat is both satisfying and nutritious; not to forget, a very rich source of iron. A 100 gram serving of red meat gives you 2.7 grams of iron. It is also a rich source of protein, selenium and B vitamins. Studies suggest that people who are into the regular consumption of red meat, fish, and poultry are at a lower risk of suffering from iron deficiencies. In another study, it was observed that women who consumed red meat could retain iron better than those who did not.
This portable and delicious snack is a rich source of iron as well. A 28 gram serving of pumpkin seeds gives you 4.2 grams of iron. They are also rich in vitamin K, zinc and magnesium.
This one is good news for dark chocolate lovers. Dark chocolate is also a rich source of iron; three ounces of dark chocolate gives you 7mg of iron. Opt for one which contains 45 to 69% of cacao solids.
Legumes are another very rich source of iron. These include chickpeas, soybeans, beans, lentils, and peas. They are one of the best sources of iron for vegetarians. A 200 gram serving of legumes can give you 6.6 mg of iron. They are also rich in folate, magnesium, and potassium and induce weight loss as well.
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