Have you felt exhausted lately? Can you barely make it up the stairs without getting winded even though you’re physically fit? If so, you might be lacking in iron Your body needs iron because it is essential for the production of hemoglobin, a protein that allows red blood cells to carry oxygen to every part of your body. It’s also a component of myoglobin—which is similar to hemoglobin, but it’s found in your muscle cells. If you don’t get enough iron, you may feel fatigued and you may end up with iron-deficiency anemia. If you’re interested in boosting your iron intake, here are 13 foods to use in your healthy diet.
Oysters are an excellent source of iron. A serving of six raw oysters has almost 4 mg of iron. It also has about 43 calories, 50 mg of calcium, and 5 grams (g) of protein.
White beans are a good plant-based source of iron. One half-cup serving has more than 3 mg of iron. That half-cup serving has 6 mg fiber and 500 mg potassium, plus plenty of protein, calcium, B vitamins, and antioxidants.
Beef liver is well-known as a source of iron—and for good reason. One slice of liver has more than 4 mg of iron. It’s also an excellent source of protein, B-complex vitamins, vitamin A, and it even has 33 International Units of vitamin D—all for about 130 calories.
Lentils are another plant source of iron with more than 3 mg of iron in a half-cup serving. Lentils are also high in fiber—about 8 mg. In addition, lentils are high in protein, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc.
It turns out that dark chocolate is an excellent source of iron as well as antioxidants. A serving of dark chocolate (45 to 59 percent cacao solids) has almost 3.5 mg of iron. It also has 232 calories, so don’t overdo it.
Canned tuna is a rich source of iron. One 6-ounce can of tuna has over 2.5 mg of iron, along with plenty of potassium and B vitamins, along with a little vitamin D. It also has 400 mg sodium, which is a little on the high side. But, canned tuna has less than 150 calories, as long as you choose the kind packed in water, not oil.
Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, are rich in iron. One-half cup of chickpeas has almost 2.5 mg of iron, along with several other minerals. It also has 141 micrograms (mcg) folate, which is one of the B-complex vitamins, and 6 grams of fiber—all for less than 150 calories.
Tomato juice doesn’t have as much iron as our other selections, but it’s good for a beverage. One cup of tomato juice has 1 mg of iron. It also has lycopene, a potent antioxidant, and vitamin A. It’s also a good source of minerals, but look out for brands that are too high in sodium.
Potatoes don’t get the credit they deserve, nutritionally speaking. Not only are they a good source of vitamin C and B vitamins, but they’re also an excellent source of potassium and are high in iron. In fact, one large baked potato with the skin has more than 3 mg of iron.
Here’s another plant-based source of iron. Cashews are perfect as an iron-rich snack—1 ounce has close to 2 mg of iron, It also has some vitamins and minerals along with beneficial monounsaturated fats.
Of course, iron is the reason Popeye wolfed down all those cans of spinach. One cup of cooked spinach has 6.5 mg of iron. It’s also got almost 250 mg of calcium and more than 800 mg of potassium, plus vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber.
Raisins, along with most dehydrated fruits, are high in iron. One little box (about 1/3 cup) has almost 1 mg of iron—not bad for a mid-afternoon snack. Raisins are also high in potassium and an excellent source of B vitamins.
Beef is an excellent source of animal-sourced iron. One 6-ounce tenderloin steak has more than 3 mg of iron. It’s also a good source of zinc, potassium, and other minerals, plus vitamin B-12. However, it has about 5 grams of saturated fat, so portion control is a good idea.