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Iron Rich Foods; that you should know!

by Georgia Ede
Published: Last Updated on

What is iron and how does it work in the body?

The iron is one of the essential minerals for the proper functioning of our body. Therefore, a deficit of it could cause serious health consequences and it is important to eat foods rich in iron to avoid it.

If you want to know how to prevent any type of problem related to iron, keep reading because we will discover in depth everything you need to know about this mineral so important for the body .

Iron has multiple functions in the body, it is involved in the transport of oxygen to the tissues and makes the blood circulate at the correct rate. It serves to oxidize glucose and convert it into useful energy for the body and also stimulates the defense and immune system and also increases physical resistance , due to the fact of oxidizing glucose to convert it into energy.

In addition, it is essential for the formation of the proteins of the muscles, red blood cells and bones, for this reason athletes usually consume iron supplements or carry out a diet high in iron, since it favors the assimilation of proteins .

The children , adolescents and pregnant women , as well as some women who have heavy losses during menstruation, are the people who need a greater supply of iron with the also likely to suffer shortages if not supplemented and sometimes through diet They do not ingest enough iron to satisfy their needs, and we must also emphasize that it is one of the most important substances for the proper functioning of the body.

Iron deficiency is known as anemia , if you want more information about what you should eat to improve anemic state we leave you more information here .

What happens when we have an iron deficiency?

This deficiency can be due to two main causes: on the one hand, an insufficient contribution in the diet if we consume few foods rich in iron or when there is a significant loss of blood that produces a significant decrease in iron, we could also suffer a malabsorption of iron by different reasons, therefore it is recommended that we consult with a medical specialist.

Each person absorbs more or less iron depending on the iron content of the diet and the amount of iron they have in their stores and their body’s need to form red blood cells , an athlete will need more than a sedentary person for example.

How to ensure good absorption of iron?

In addition to eating foods rich in iron (whether of plant or animal origin), we must also select others that favor the absorption of that iron.

Foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits make iron absorption easier.

Foods high in vitamin C help the absorption of iron, we find vitamin C in many fruits and vegetables . That is why a large number of people add a splash of vinegar to lentils, and other stews with legumes, as this contributes to a greater absorption of iron.

Therefore, having a diet with a balanced intake of iron is essential to compensate for the levels of this mineral.

Iron rich foods

These are the main foods rich in iron :
  • Lean red meats: veal, beef.
  • Seafood: especially cockles, clams and mussels.
  • Liver.
  • Nuts: walnuts, pistachios, toasted almonds.
  • Sesame.
  • Citrus: kiwi, oranges, mandarin, grapefruit, strawberries, etc.
  • Green leafy vegetables: watercress, chard, spinach …
  • Legumes: lentils, chickpeas, peas, lentil sprouts.
  • Whole grain products: wheat, bread, rice, oats.

Foods that can influence the absorption of iron and you should not consume

If we decide to increase the consumption of foods rich in iron in order to eliminate symptoms or symptoms, it is preferable that you refrain from taking the following products as they can hinder the correct absorption of this mineral:

  • Dairy, calcium can detract from iron absorption.
  • Café.
  • Has.
  • Yolk.
  • Cheese and dairy products.
  • Soy protein.
  • Fiber supplements.

The types of iron and their absorption

There are several types of iron that the body absorbs from food, first of all we can distinguish iron of vegetable origin and iron of animal origin. We must bear in mind that a balanced diet must guarantee a correct balance between the consumption of iron of animal and vegetable origin, in order to guarantee a correct development of the organism.

The types are as follows:

Iron of vegetable origin   known as non-hemic iron: This is absorbed to a lesser extent since it is present in foods of vegetable origin but vegetables have other substances that hinder its absorption, such as phytic acid present in legumes such as lentils and chickpeas; as well as whole grains.

It is also made difficult by the tannins present in wine, coffee and tea and the oxalic acid present in chard, spinach, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, cabbages, etc. In addition, dairy products also hinder the absorption of iron by this acid.

And iron of animal origin is the so-called hemic iron, present in hemoglobin (red blood cells) and in myoglobin (muscles) of beef, pork, lamb, turkey, rabbit, liver and in both white fish such as blue (sardine, whiting, sea bass, monkfish), crustaceans (clams, clams, cockles, mussels) and egg yolk. This is absorbed three times more than non-heme iron. We must combine consumption to achieve optimal absorption.

Recommendations on the consumption of iron

It is a mineral that generally does not produce surpluses. When the body has iron needs covered, the surplus is eliminated. With the exception of some people who suffer from a disease known as iron thesaurismosis , a disease in which the body does not detect the stimulus that makes it perceive that there is a correct level of iron so that the body stops absorbing it.

An excess can be produced in the deposits, in addition to being deposited in organs such as the spleen, liver, causing damage and showing brown skin; but it is something unusual.

  • Remember to control your iron intake to prevent anemia , since this is much more frequent and a blood test is enough. In the case of having low levels, your doctor will decide if it is enough to modify the  diet including foods rich in iron or you will need supplementation to regulate the levels.

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