Iron deficiency is one of the most commonly recognized forms of nutritional deficiencies. Without sufficient iron, the body is unable to produce enough hemoglobin, a substance that allows red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. As a result, you may easily experience weakness, fatigue and irritability.
However, curing an iron deficiency is quite possible by including a variety of iron dense foods into the diet. Basically, there are two types of dietary iron; heme and nonheme. The first type is obtained from hemoglobin and is present in various animal foods which originally contain hemoglobin. Some examples include seafood, poultry and red meats. The second type is derived from plant sources with dark leafy greens, lentils and beans being superior sources.
In terms of absorption, most iron is absorbed from heme sources while nonheme iron is added to iron-fortified and iron-enriched foods. At the same time, it is also important to remember that some foods can actually help the body absorb iron from food sources while others can hinder it.
To get superior absorption of iron from foods, avoid drinking tea or coffee or having too many calcium rich foods. Ideally, iron rich foods are recommended to be taken with good sources of vitamin C as this promotes better iron absorption.
Here is a look at the top 20 foods high in iron:
1. Liver and organ meats
Iron level: 3 ounces of beef liver contain 4.05 mg of iron. This comes to 22.5% of the Daily Value.
Other benefits: Not only is liver an excellent source of heme iron, it also contains all of the B vitamins, and folic acid in substantial amounts. It also offers significant quantities of vitamin A, various minerals and several trace elements. In addition, liver delivers essential fatty acids such as DHA, EPA and AA.
Things to know: If you are among many people who find the texture, taste and feel of liver difficult to tolerate, you can pulverise it and add to ground meat dishes to disguise its texture. Also, you can use lots of spices to mask its otherwise strong flavor.