Iron is one of the most important minerals! It plays a vital role in your body, as it is needed for the production of red blood cells. These red blood cells transport oxygen and nutrients around your body. Without enough iron, your red blood cell levels may drop, leading to anemia. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, weakness, lethargy, and even fainting! As you can see, iron is vital for a healthy body.
For the average person, it’s easy to consume enough iron to stay healthy. All animal meats (chicken, beef, pork, etc.) contain iron, and there are a number of vegetable sources of the mineral as well. However, for vegetarians, it can be a bit harder to get enough iron thanks to the fact that they don’t eat meat. Thankfully, there are many wonderful sources of iron:
Of all these iron-rich foods, here are a few of the BEST to add to your menu:
Sardines –– While sardines only contain about 4.5 mg of iron per serving (just 27% of your iron DV), the little fatty fish are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are vital for a healthy brain, and they play a role in the health of your heart. They can reduce inflammation, prevent cholesterol buildup, and even help to improve the health of your joints. All in all, sardines are one of the healthiest foods, hands down!
Eggs — Egg yolks contain a small amount of iron–just 2.4 mg per yolk (13% of your iron DV). However, who stops at just one yolk? The average person eats from 2 to 6 eggs per day, which means you’re getting A LOT of iron. Plus, eggs are packed with protein, and they’re beautifully low in calories. The saturated fat in the egg yolks is no longer something to be feared, but it can actually help to promote weight loss. Definitely a good reason to add more eggs to your diet.
Boiled Lentils — For vegetarians, lentils are some of the best foods to eat. They contain just 3.5 mg of iron (19% of your iron DV) per serving, but they’re also rich in dietary fiber, protein, and other minerals. They’re one of the best plant-based sources of proteins, making them one of the best ways for vegetarians to add more protein to their diet.
Red Kidney Beans — Yet another awesome legume to add to your diet! Red kidney beans contain 2.5 mg of iron (14% of your iron DV) per serving, but they’re an amazing source of dietary fiber, plant-based amino acids, and other minerals. As a bonus, they’re even rich in flavonoids, which give them their unusual coloring.
Cinnamon — A spoonful of cinnamon can be added into your tea, coffee, oatmeal, cereal, milk, and even savory dishes, providing you with more iron. As a bonus, cinnamon can help to control blood sugar levels, preventing spikes in blood sugar and increasing your sensitivity to insulin. It’s a diabetes-fighting spice that gets the job done!
Almonds — If you’re looking for a way to add more healthy fats to your diet, almonds are definitely the way to go. Not only are they a good source of iron (3 mg per serving, or 17% of your iron DV), but they contain a lot of other minerals, plenty of dietary fiber, and healthy fats that will speed up your metabolism and suppress your appetite. If consumed in moderation, almonds are a weight loss-friendly food, and you would do well to eat more of them on a regular basis. Plus, they’re absolutely delicious!