If you frequently experience fatigue, chest pain, and dizziness, you may be anaemic. Anaemia or iron deficiency could cause many health problems. Foods with iron like egg yolks and chicken liver can be consumed on a daily basis for a quick recovery.
We all feel tired and uninterested in our daily routines sometimes. At times, we also face issues like fatigue, weakness, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, dizziness and shortness of breath. These issues could be due to iron deficiency in our bodies, referred to as anaemia, which is a condition where our body produces an insufficient number of red blood cells, resulting in low haemoglobin levels.
It can affect all age groups, but it is highest among women and children globally. Food with iron in rich quantities is proven to remedy this issue. In this blog, we will discuss why foods that are rich in iron can help you avoid certain ailments and which foods have the highest iron content.
To understand more about iron, let's first understand what its types are:
- Heme Iron: It is present mostly in animal foods like meat, poultry, and seafood.
- Non-heme iron: This is plant-based iron derived from grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and green leafy vegetables.
For Indians, recommended dietary iron intake should be around 19 mg/day for Indian males and for Indian women it ranges from 23 to 29 mg/day (23mg/d for lactating and 27mg/d for pregnant women) as per recommended dietary allowance ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research), NIN (National Institute of Nutrition) RDA 2020.
The importance of iron in your body
Our body needs iron for growth and development. It is an essential mineral that helps our body produce haemoglobin, which helps transport oxygen to various parts of the body. It is important to include foods that contain iron in your daily diet. Let’s read about some benefits of most iron rich foods:
Boosts energy level:Iron nutrition contributes to enhancing the stamina of the body, reducing irritability and helping with improving your focus and concentration.
Improves immunity:Iron-enriched foods strengthen your immune system. It protects you from infections and repairs tissues and cell damage.
Improves cognitive function:Our brain needs oxygenated blood for proper cognitive function, and foods that are rich in iron promote blood flow to the brain.
Improves physical function and growth:Foods that contain iron are important for optimum physical growth and function. Hence, daily intake enhances physical productivity in both adults and children.
10 foods rich in iron
Highest iron foods are found in many edibles. According to Indian food composition tables (IFCT, 2017), below, we have listed 10 foods that are rich in iron. This iron rich foods list will help you take a comprehensive look at the best foods for iron and their quantity of iron in them:
Highest iron enriched foods (Iron content per 100 grams serving)
|Highest iron enriched foods (Iron content per 100 grams serving)|
|Cereals and grains||Iron content (mg)|
|Pulses and legumes|
|Lentil dal (sabut dal, green moong dal, chana dal, and more)||7.06|
|Fruits and vegetables|
|Meat and poultry products|
|Nuts and seeds|
|Cashew nuts (kaaju)||5.95|
However, besides the above iron-rich food list, there are other foods that are rich in iron like jaggery, ground nuts, dry coconut, sunflower seeds, walnuts, beet greens, pumpkin leaves, soyabeans etc.
If you are highly iron deficient, then it is advisable to take an iron supplement as prescribed by your health practitioner to meet your daily requirement of iron. However, do not go overboard with iron consumption as it can lead to iron toxicity.
Iron is a vital micronutrient that cannot be neglected. It is important to increase the consumption of foods that are rich in iron as that helps in the prevention of iron deficiency and issues like tiredness, developmental problems, low haemoglobin, and decreased immunity. It is also advised that one should consume an adequate amount of vitamin C too, as that increases iron absorption. However, before altering your diet, make sure to consult your doctor or dietician for more details.