Need more Iron? Check out this Iron Rich Foods List

November 12, 2012

Need more Iron? Check out this Iron Rich Foods List

Iron-deficiency anemia is a common dietary problem throughout the world. Many people don’t get enough iron for one reason or another. Whether you don’t eat the proper foods, have had surgery, have blood disorders or are a female who has heavy menstruation. This common form of anemia comes about because you don’t have enough iron in your system which means you can’t make enough red blood cells that are so important for carrying oxygen to your tissues and organs. Many people are unaware of the foods they need to eat to support their iron needs. An iron rich foods list will be provided in this article to get you back on track with your iron needs.

Do you have that run down tired feeling? Chances are you are anemic. When you don’t have enough iron in your system, you can’t make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin contains iron which binds oxygen. A single red blood cells contains tens of thousand of hemoglobin molecules all binding oxygen. That’s basically all red blood cells do, carry oxygen to every cell in the body. Without enough iron you will become weak and fatigued.

You need to know that there are two forms of iron. One is called heme and the other non-heme. Heme iron comes from the hemoglobin molecules and is found in a number of protein sources you take in such as chicken, beef and some fish. Most of the iron you absorb through your intestinal wall comes from heme because it has a good absorption rate. On the other hand, non-heme iron (elemental iron) has poor absorption. There is more non-heme iron in animal tissues and plants than heme iron. You need to think about this if you are a vegetarian/vegan. Vegans take in non-heme iron only and require supplementation.

If you’re looking for foods that have high heme iron look no further. Make sure you take in reasonable quantities of beef, beef liver, chicken livers, clams, mollusks, oysters, sardines, turkey, halibut, haddock, perch, salmon, tuna, ham and veal. Three ounces (1 serving) of the above should provide anywhere from 1 to 3mg of heme iron. Beef and chicken livers have the highest content of heme iron with the shell fish being second. You’ll want to add these foods to your iron rich foods list. For adults, the recommended daily requirement runs about 8mg for males and 18mg for females. So, you will need other food sources to bring you up to the RDA. Unfortunately, the other sources will be of non-heme iron which has a lower absorption rate in the gut.

Good food sources for non-heme iron are as follows: iron enriched cereals, beans, tofu, pumpkin or squash seeds, wheat germ, potatoes, rice, apricots, broccoli, egg noddles, bran, rice, spinach, nuts, raisin, and prunes. One cup more or less will provide somewhere between 1mg to 3mg of non-heme iron. You may want to add these foods to your iron rich foods list as well.

There are things you can do to enhance absorption of non-heme iron and of course there are foods that inhibit absorption iron-rich foods. If you want to absorb as much iron as you can from your dietary intake stay away from certain beverages such as tea and coffee. Stay away from calcium-rich foods when your concerned about absorbing as much iron as you can. Calcium foods inhibits iron absorption. To absorb as much non-heme iron as you can, take orange juice or strawberries with your meal. Furthermore, heme-iron foods enhance the absorption of non-heme iron. You may want to add these foods to your iron rich foods list as well.

If you are extremely low in iron, you need to go to your healthcare provider for assistance. He/she will know the appropriate supplement and how much. This is important because over supplementation of iron may have serious repercussions and this is particularly true for males. Do not try to self medicate, get professional help. You might want to discuss your iron rich foods list with your doctor to make sure it is appropriate.

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