These 10 Vegetables Contain More Iron Than Meat
Iron is a vital nutrient for our overall health. Even though it is found in many foods, several people are deficient in it. This is mostly because it is not easily absorbed into our bodies.
As explained by Paul Thomas, EdD, RD, a scientific consultant to the National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements:
"The major reason we need it is that it helps to transport oxygen throughout the body."
It is a vital component of hemoglobin, whose role is to transport oxygen from the lungs throughout your body. The body won't be able to get the needed oxygen without healthy red blood cells.
"If you're not getting sufficient oxygen in the body, you're going to become fatigued."
Elaine Chottiner, MD, clinical assistant professor and director of General Hematology Clinics at the University Of Michigan Medical Center, claims:
"Iron is also necessary to maintain healthy cells, skin, hair, and nails."
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the U.S. and about 10% of women are deficient in this mineral, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The early symptoms of iron deficiency or anemia in the body include exhaustion, fatigue, pallor, and poor infections resistance. Moreover, the excessive levels of iron in the body, or a condition known as hemochromatosis, can also be harmful.
A lack of iron in the body can be a result of:
-- A poorly balanced vegetarian diet
-- An increased need for this mineral during growth, breastfeeding, and pregnancy
-- Low iron bioavailability of iron as a result of excess tea or calcium supplement
-- Abundant blood loss like during menstruation or childbirth
-- Poor iron absorption due to gluten intolerance, intestinal disorders, or inflammatory bowel disease
Red meat and crustaceans are not the only dietary sources of iron, as you can also optimize its levels by consuming the following vegetables:
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It is one of the richest iron sources. Spinach is low in calories and high in antioxidants and vitamin A.
-- Pumpkin seeds
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Pumpkin seeds contain 3.3 mg of iron per 100 grams, and high amounts of magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, vitamins A, E, F and those of group B.
Additionally, they contain all the essential amino acids. Pumpkin seeds are also rich in fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
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It provides 1 mg of iron per 100 g, which is 6% of the recommended daily intake.
Moreover, it provides 168% of vitamin C recommended daily dose for adults, and this vitamin supports the iron absorption in the body. It is also a rich source of folates, vitamin K, and fiber.
-- Dark Chocolate
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A portion of 30 g contains 3.2 mg of iron, which is 18% of the recommended daily contribution. It is also high in magnesium and copper, as well as prebiotic fiber, which is beneficial for the friendly bacteria in the intestines.
It lowers cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Researchers have found that cocoa powder and dark chocolate are more powerful antioxidants than acai berries and blueberries juice.
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Nuts, dates, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, figs offer about 2.4g to 3mg of iron, and boost energy levels. They also create a feeling of satiety and help the weight loss process.
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Lentils offer 3.3 mg of iron per 100 grams. They are also abundant in fiber, magnesium, and vitamin B.
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Kale exceeds the recommended daily amount of many vitamins, a 512% vitamin A and 200% vitamin C, and provides 1.5mg of iron per 100 grams.
Moreover, it is rich in vitamin K, which maintains the health of bones, and fiber, which prevents constipation, lowers cholesterol, and slows down the passage of glucose into the blood.
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This soy-based food is loaded with iron, and 126 g of tofu provides 3.6 mg of iron, which is 19% of the recommended daily intake. It is also abundant in thiamine, magnesium, selenium, and calcium.
The isoflavones it contains lower the risk of heart diseases, and treat insulin sensitivity and menopausal symptoms.
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Beet contains 1.8mg of iron per 100 grams and is also high in magnesium, betanin, and calcium. It supports the healthy function of the liver, while the high folic acid levels help the assimilation of carbohydrates.
-- Mung bean
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It is loaded with iron, as it contains about 1.8 milligrams per 100 g. It is also a rich source of copper, potassium, and zinc.
The regular consumption of legumes has been found to control blood sugar levels, help weight loss, and lower the risk of colorectal cancer.
Furthermore, note that you need to ensure a proper assimilation of this important mineral despite only consuming iron-rich foods.
Certain compounds, like calcium, might prevent the proper absorption of iron, so make sure you also increase the intake of foods rich in vitamin C, like oranges, lemons, tangerine, and kiwi.
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