Iron Rich Foods

Iron is one of the most essential nutrients needed by the body. It makes the cells “breathe” due to the fact that it works with protein in making hemoglobin in red blood cells. Some of the main iron rich foods include spinach, raisins, tofu and chicken.

Hemoglobin is responsible in carrying oxygen to different parts of the body in order for it to conduct its normal functions. Iron is stored in the bone marrow, liver, and spleen.

Approximately two-thirds of the body’s iron is found in hemoglobin and trace amounts in myoglobin, which are proteins that aids in supplying oxygen to muscles as well as in enzymes that assist in biochemical reactions.

Iron deficiency anemia can occur due to insufficient amount of iron in the red blood cells. This condition is often caused by poor iron absorption by the body, diet low in iron, blood loss, and during pregnancy. Some of the possible iron deficiency symptoms include: light headedness extreme fatigue and feeling of weakness; headache; lack of energy or tiredness, forceful and rapid heartbeat; tongue becomes sore, reddened and smooth, shortness of breath during exercise; pale skin on the inner mouth, the lining of the eyes, and the nails; decrease in appetite; low blood pressure with position change from sitting to standing up; abdominal pain; disturbed sleep; brittle hair; increased vulnerability to infection; and reduction in immunity.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for iron

AGE

FEMALES (mg/day)

MALES (mg/day)

0 to 6 months

0.27 (Adequate Intake)

0.27 (Adequate Intake)

7 to 12 months

11

11

1 to 3 years

7

7

4 to 8 years

10

10

9 to 13 years

8

8

14 to 18 years

15

11

19 to 50 years

18

8

51 years +

8

8

Pregnant

27

Lactating 18 years and younger

10

Lactating 19 years and older

9

 Iron Rich Foods

There are generally two forms of dietary iron rich foods:

  1. Heme iron is derived from hemoglobin and is found in animal foods that contain hemoglobin such as red meat, poultry, beef, tuna, salmon, shrimp, clamp, turkey, cod, and flounder.
  2. Non-heme iron is the form of iron that is found in plant foods such as beans and lentils. It is also the iron that is being added to iron-fortified and iron-enriched foods. Some of the excellent sources of non-heme iron are broccoli, lima beans, dates, raisins, soya, oatmeal, molasses, pinto beans, peas, tofu, grits, apricots, almonds, bagels, white bread, whole wheat bread, and spinach.

Dietary food sources of iron also include dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. Although these are foods are excellent sources of calcium, they only contain traces supply of iron. However, breast milk, infant formula, and tofu are exceptions to these. Go here for a full Iron rich foods list.

Iron Rich Foods References and Further Reading

Linus Pauling Institute; Virginia Tech Extension; NIH; UI-UC; UCLA, Got Blood.

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