Feeling Low? Your Diet May Need More Iron – These 5 Foods Can Help

Time to enjoy a nut-sprinkled salad! 

Updated27 Dec 2018, 05:26 AM IST
Chew On This
4 min read

Feeling exhausted and down and out lately? Do you look pale and sickly, your heart pounds and you gasp for air after a short walk? Your head hurts and you crave ice? You may need to pump up your iron levels. Especially if you are a woman.

We have a serious iron deficiency problem. According to the Global Nutrition Report 2016

India ranks 170th among 180 countries in anaemia in women.

What makes iron so critical? You need iron to produce hemoglobin, a protein that helps red blood cells deliver oxygen throughout your body. Without iron, everything goes for a toss.

According to Dr Shikha Sharma, nutritionist and founder of NutriHealth, an adult man needs 28 mg of iron daily and a woman needs around 30 mg. Now that you know how much iron you need in a day, here are 5 iron-rich foods to help you get there:

1. Nuts and Seeds

Superfoods (seeds and nuts) on a platter. 
Superfoods (seeds and nuts) on a platter. 
(Photo: iStock)

Does your mom cajole you into eating almonds every morning? Almonds and cashew nuts top the charts but you could opt for an assortment of nuts – hazlenuts, apricots, almonds, walnuts and cashew nuts – on salads, meals or desserts.

Likewise, seeds – chia, pumpkin, flaxseed – are rich in iron and also make for great and easy-to-go snacking option. What’s best? Not only do they improve your iron content but also a host of other vitamins and minerals.

2. Legumes

Legumes come in various shapes and sizes and are a rich source of iron. 
Legumes come in various shapes and sizes and are a rich source of iron. 
(Photo: iStock)

Legumes are a vegetarian’s best friend. High on iron, protein, fiber and vitamins, legumes build the body’s immunity against several diseases and nourishes it from within. From lentils to beans and peas, legumes are a great source of iron especially black-eyed peas and chickpeas.

As opposed to popular opinion, a vegetarian diet is adept at meeting iron requirements. These can be fulfilled by eating more of green leafy vegetables and foods rich in Vitamin C. For protein and iron needs, nuts, legumes and beans are also good options.
Dr Shikha Sharma, nutritionist and founder of NutriHealth

3. Leafy Greens

Green vegetables are a rich source of iron. 
Green vegetables are a rich source of iron. 
(Photo: iStock)

Leafy greens are healthy, light, great source of iron. Toss them in a salad and they are also tasty. Spinach is the best bet if you are not a fan of leafy greens. Every 100 gms of spinach is said to contain more iron than the same quantity of salmon. What’s the best way to incorporate iron rich leafy vegetables in the diet?

Spinach, fenugreek and other green vegetables have high amount of iron, but in order for your body to absorb them better, you need to add vegetables like potato or tomato with them.
Sonia Narang, Nutrition Expert, Oriflame India

Come winters, gorge on a diet of sarson da saag and makke di roti and give in to fusion food which uses veggies such as broccoli, cabbage.

4. Red Meat

Red meat is loaded with iron. 
Red meat is loaded with iron. 
(Photo: iStock)

Red meat, for the longest time, has been hailed as one of the best sources of iron.

For non-vegetarians, this is probably the best that you can get when it comes to maintaining optimum iron levels. But remember, moderation is the key. Dr Shikha Sharma says, “Red meat is only healthy when taken in moderation as it is very rich in cholesterol and trans fats.”

5. Fruits



Pomegranate is high on iron.
Pomegranate is high on iron.
(Photo: iStock)

Surprised to find fruits on the list? Say hello to pomegranate and sun-dried tomatoes. They are tasty, super healthy and also pump up your iron levels. Pomegranates also contain punicalagins – a compound which builds better blood. Besides, the fruit is a rich source of fiber and promotes heart health. Another must have? Peaches.

A serving of dried peaches contains about nine percent of your daily recommended iron, without weighing you down with lots of sugar and calories.
Sonia Narang, Nutrition Expert, Oriflame India

Very few know this but sun dried tomatoes are a great source of iron. One cup contains nearly 30 percent of your recommended daily iron intake. Next time you are preparing pasta at home, be a little generous with sun dried tomatoes. In fact, add them to omelettes, salads and even sandwiches.

(With inputs from IANS, IndiaSpend)

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Published: 27 Oct 2017, 05:53 AM IST
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