Iron rich foods: all the right products for your well-being

Are you drowning in fatigue and stress? Include in your diet the right dose of iron-rich foods and you’ll feel immediately better!

Iron-rich foods are essential in your diet. These products, which can be either of an animal and vegetable source, play an important role for our body. Every human being should take 14mg of this element per day (according to the European values), a mineral that our body cannot produce on its own. Let’s see what iron is and what are foods contain it.

What is the use of iron in blood?

Le’ts first understand the role of this mineral in our body. It 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 the oxygen, especially to the muscles. The body also uses iron to produce hormones and connective tissue.

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This element should be taken on a daily basis: healthy subjects should take 14mg a day. If you suffer from anemia, you are pregnant or you have your period, you should take more.

The iron-rich foods for a healthy diet

Let’s see what foods to eat when you have iron deficiency or you simply want to maintain a perfect balance. First, we need to distinguish between foods rich in heme and non-heme iron. The first one is present only in meat and is easier to absorb. The second one is subdivided into ferrous, present in foods of animal origin and easier to absorb, and ferric, present in vegetables.

The animal origin foods we recommend are meat, especially the liver, and fish, including clams and oysters. Among the vegetal origin foods rich in iron there are herbs, such as thyme and marjoram, cumin seeds, cinnamon, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, cashews, radicchio, lentils, and many  dark green leafy vegetables.

Iron and spinach: fake news or not?

When we talk about this mineral, we immediately think about spinach, which gave great strength to Popeye the Sailor. However, Elzie Crisler Segar‘s hero did not eat this vegetable for its content of iron, but for its vitamin A. When the comic came out in 1930s, in the United States started to spread the fake myth that spinach is rich in iron. This idea was meant to encourage young people to follow a diet poor in meat, which was too expensive for that period of economic crisis. The comic helped so much that the production of spinach in America increased significantly.

A clarification: spinach contains iron, but not in large quantities. Moreover, some substances it contains actually limit the absorption of this mineral. In this case, we speak about bioavailability, which is the amount that you actually manage to absorb and use.

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Nicoletta Chiara Romano