Five ways to add iron to your diet

April 2019 Healthy Living Willem van Altena

Anaemia is a condition where the body’s red blood cell count dips too low, thereby restricting the flow of oxygen our muscles and tissues crave in order to perform. There are many possible causes for this condition, but iron deficiency is among the most common. Especially women are susceptible during their ovulating years.

Adopting an iron-rich diet can help counteract this condition, even though it is essential to first check with your G.P., in order to establish the cause behind the anaemia. Simply taking iron supplements is not recommended, especially when the anaemia is not caused by iron deficiency. However: merely choosing an iron-rich diet is considered harmless and actually beneficial for health in general. And for vegans who fear that most iron-rich foods are animal in nature (eggs, fish): there are plenty of plant-based options for you.

Here are five easy ways to put more iron in your diet.

1: Do what Popeye did.

Yes, spinach is a great source of iron. Steamed or quickly cooked the dark green leaves are an excellent diet choice. However, the type of iron does make a difference. Iron from vegetal sources is not nearly as well absorbed by the body as iron from animal sources. For non-meat-eaters this simply means that they have to eat a lot more spinach.

2: Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are healthy for a lot of reasons, and being rich in iron is one of them. Apparently, pistachios and pumpkin seeds are especially beneficial.

3: Lean red meats

As said before: meat is a prime source of iron, and you cannot get anything better than a lean cut of grass-fed beef. Iron intake is enhanced when it is eaten along with foods rich in vitamin C, like tomatoes, bell peppers and broccoli.

4: Shellfish

Some types of seafood contain more iron than others, and this is definitely the case with shellfish. Mussels, clams and crustaceans are a great alternative to meat, but sardines also pack a lot or iron.

5: Lentils

Legumes are great iron-rich food for people with anaemia, especially lentils. They are also a great source of nutrients and fibre, which has all sorts of benefits for digestion and even weight loss.

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