Iron is an essential mineral in your body. It is important for increasing hemoglobin levels, helping cells work properly, and carrying oxygen from your lungs throughout your body.
The amount of iron you need varies depending on age, gender and diet. The RDA for iron is 10 mg for men, 15 mg for menstruating women, 10 mg for non-menstruating women and women over 50.
There are two forms of iron:
Heme iron, which is easily absorbed by your body. Foods with heme iron include beef, lamb, pork, liver, veal, chicken, turkey, fish and seafood.
Non-heme iron, which is absorbed less readily. Foods with non-heme iron include breakfast cereals, breads, pasta, lentils, dried peas and beans, tofu, seeds, nuts, dried fruit, dark leafy greens and eggs.
It’s one thing to eat foods that are rich in iron; the body’s ability to absorb this iron is another thing. It’s all determined by enhancers and inhibitors – components of your diet which make iron more or less likely to be absorbed. Vitamin C rich foods (citrus fruits, tomatoes, cantaloupe, strawberries and kiwis), for example, eaten with foods containing iron enhance iron absorption. Calcium, from dairy products, as well as coffee and tea, and colas inhibit iron absorption and should be avoided for 2 hours before or after meals containing iron.
FOOD SOURCES OF IRON
|3.4+ mg/serving||1.6 – 3.3 mg/serving||0.5 – 1.5 mg/serving|
Liver-beef and chicken
OystersVegetables and Fruits:
Tofu (soybean curd)
Prune JuiceBreads & Cereals:
Cream of Wheat
Total, Corn or Wheat
ShrimpVegetables and Fruits:
Lima, Navy, Kidney, White, Lentils
Egg and egg substitutes
Cod, Salmon, SoleVegetables and Fruits:
Potatoes – baked
Prunes – dried or stewedBreads & Cereals:
Whole Grain Breads
Ice Cream Yogurt
|While these foods inhibit iron absorption, they are good sources of calcium. Foods containing calcium, or other inhibitors should not be consumed 2 hours before or after ingesting foods or supplements containing iron, especially if you want to increase your hemoglobin level.|