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Iron-Rich Foods To Include In Your Daily Diet

Iron is an essential part of our diet, yet many women are iron-deficient. Make sure to include a balance of a variety of iron-rich foods in your diet.

What does iron do in the body?

Iron is a crucial mineral that the body needs for growth and development. Your body uses iron to make haemoglobin – a protein in red-blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body – and myoglobin – a protein that provides oxygen to muscles. Your body also needs iron to make some hormones.

Adequate iron levels are also needed for:

  • A healthy pregnancy
  • Sleep health
  • Reducing levels of fatigue
  • Increasing levels of focus and energy.
  • Supporting athletic performance.

Women are more likely than men to have an iron deficiency because they lose blood during menstruation. Pregnancy and childbirth can also cause iron deficiency.

Iron-rich foods to include in your diet

While iron supplements are readily available, here are some healthy iron-rich foods to include in your daily diet. Most pharmacies offer a haemoglobin test, but comprehensive iron tests can be booked through your medical doctor.

  • Nuts
  • Dried fruit (such as raisins)
  • Whole-wheat pasta
  • Iron-fortified breads and cereals
  • Legumes (beans, lentils and chickpeas)
  • Dark leafy vegetables (spinach and broccoli)
  • Oats
  • Tofu
  • Eggs
  • Oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel)
  • Shellfish (prawns and mussels)
  • Poultry
  • Red meat
  • Offal (liver and kidneys)

You can enhance your body’s absorption of iron by drinking citrus juice or eating other foods rich in vitamin C at the same time that you eat high-iron foods. Vitamin C in citrus juices, like orange juice, helps your body to better absorb dietary iron. Click here to try this iron-rich plant-based recipe!

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