Are fatigue and stress gripping you? Include the right amount of iron-rich foods in your diet and you’ll feel better right away!
Foods rich in iron are essential in one’s diet. These foods, which are both of animal and vegetable origin , play an important role within our body. Every human being should take 14mg of iron per day (European reference value), a mineral that the body cannot produce on its own. Let’s see what iron is used for and what foods are rich in it.
What is iron used for in the blood?
Before understanding how to find your food balance, it is good to understand what role iron plays in the body. This mineral is a very important component of hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, while myoglobin supplies oxygen , especially to the muscles. The body also uses iron to make hormones and connective tissue.
Iron should be taken daily: the value of 14mg is indicated for healthy subjects, without particular pathologies or problems. It should be increased in case of anemia, pregnancy and menstruation.
If iron is so important, even a prolonged lack of it can become a problem not to be overlooked. Iron deficiency is not always easy to diagnose, in fact the symptoms are often “trivial” and negligible such as fatigue and low immune defenses . However, symptoms can become more prominent over time and taking action becomes essential. Like? Certainly, an iron-rich diet is a natural remedy that could stop this problem when it is still mild. To start off on the right foot, however, you need to know what we are talking about and, in case of doubts, always contact your doctor and a nutritionist.
Foods that contain iron for a healthy diet
And now let’s see what foods to eat when you have iron deficiency or just want to keep a perfect balance. First, a small distinction must be made between foods rich in heme iron ( heme iron) and non-heme ( non-heme iron) foods. Heme iron is present only in meats and is the easiest to absorb. Non-heme iron is divided into ferrous , present in foods of animal origin and easier to absorb, and ferric , present in vegetables.
Among the foods with more iron than the original animal we point out meat in general, and especially liver, and fish, including clams and oysters. Among the plant foods rich in iron are aromatic plants, such as thyme and marjoram, cumin seeds, cinnamon, mushrooms and dried tomatoes, cashews, green radicchio, lentils and most dark green leafy vegetables.
Iron in pregnancy
This element is very important for pregnant women . Iron, in fact, is used for the complete development of the newborn and above all of the nervous system. A protracted iron deficiency in the mother can lead to complications, the baby may be born underweight or prematurely before the canonical term of gestation.
In this phase of a woman’s life, taking foods rich in iron may seem the right choice, always paying attention to some elementary precautions. In fact, during pregnancy it is not recommended to take semi-cooked red meats. If it is not feasible to take iron through food, you can evaluate, together with your gynecologist, to take natural supplements that can remedy the problem.
Iron and spinach: hoax or reality?
You usually think of spinach right away, because they gave Popeye a lot of strength, but Elzie Crisler Segar’s 1930s comic hero didn’t eat this vegetable for the iron, but for the vitamin A. In those years this false myth was created in the United States , namely that spinach was rich in iron, to encourage young people to eat poorer meat – too expensive for that time of economic crisis. The commercial stunt hit the mark, so much so that spinach production in America increased significantly.
A clarification: spinach contains iron but not in such large quantities. Furthermore, the substances contained in their leaves limit the absorption of the mineral by the body. In this case we speak of bioavailability , which is the quantity that can actually be absorbed and used.