There are a lot of great, healthy, low-fat choices for foods high in iron. Some of these choices include seafood, beans, and lentils. Seafood is actually good for you. It’s loaded with nutrients like zinc, iron, and protein. Many types of seafood are also low in saturated fats, making it a great choice to cook and consume on a regular basis. While you can find great fish that are very high in iron as well, eating the flesh tends to be more beneficial.
Beans are also good to have on hand. They contain the mineral pyridoxine, which helps improve the blood flow and the regulation of blood pressure. The mineral selenium is also contained in many beans, as is vitamin c. The vitamin k2 that is found in some beans is important for proper blood cell function, and it helps lower the risk of cancer. These foods are easy to prepare and add to your diet.
Lentils are also an excellent choice if you’re suffering from anemia. One 3 oz. serving of cooked lentil contains about 20 mg of iron, as is the case with most other red meats. This makes lentils a great addition to any protein-rich diet, and it’s easy to make a delicious anemia diet recipe with them.
If you don’t like meat, you may be tempted to skip white beans. But don’t. White beans, like all other beans, contain protein, but they also contain iron. They’re a good choice for vegetarians and people who aren’t too worried about their intake of animal protein. A serving of legumes (i.e., lima, black, kidney, etc.) has about half of the amount of iron found in one serving of meat.
Leafy greens are another great choice. Any type of leafy green, such as spinach, kale, chard, or collard, will help keep your body from losing iron while you focus on replacing those nutrients that you’re getting from the animal products in your diet. You can find foods rich in leafy greens at your local co-op, health food store or farmer’s market.
To get enough iron in your diet, make sure you eat a variety of iron-fortified vegetables and legumes. One of the best sources of plant-derived dietary iron is seaweed, which has about twice the iron found in dry beans. Another good choice is spinach, because it’s full of good-for-you compounds. Be careful, though, not to eat too much spinach. It is one of the highest in iron of all foods.
Of course, if you have anemia and are trying to avoid iron-deficient anemia, you’ll want to limit animal foods. But, don’t totally eliminate them, either. Instead, include a small amount in a salad or on your pizza. A low iron diet isn’t advisable for pregnant women or infants, but you may eat small amounts of poultry or fish during your pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Vegetables that are high in iron, such as spinach, kale, collard greens, beets and mustard greens are rich in antioxidants, which may help prevent heart disease. They are also easy absorbed, which makes them an ideal side dish choice. Beets and kale are excellent sources of folate, another substance that can easily absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. Deficiency of folate may increase the risk of serious diseases, such as stroke and coronary artery disease. Although eating a lot of spinach is an excellent way to get plenty of vitamin C, it doesn’t contain the other important cancer-fighting antioxidant called beta-carotene. To get the most benefit from a nutrient-rich vegetables, choose ones that are firm, tender, bright-colored and firm, such as spinach, broccoli and carrots.