Iron deficiency is unfortunately fairly common, even in the United States. There’s a general misconception that cutting out foods is the best way to eat healthier, but often this leads to malnutrition in the sense that we’re not getting the vitamins and minerals we need to survive.
It doesn’t help that major sources of iron like red meat are now getting slammed for their “cancer-causing” properties (which is a bit of an exaggeration).
Need more healthy sources of iron in your diet? Here are a few foods rich in iron that you can incorporate into regular meals.
Eating chicken is an effective way to add a healthy dose of iron to your diet several times a week. It’s versatile and doesn’t pose some of the potential health risks red meat, also rich in iron, might. Before you start having nightmares of sitting in front of plates full of dull, dry chicken breasts, remember that an essential part of adding more healthy food to your diet is adding it to meals you already love.
Think outside the microwave when it comes to incorporating chicken into your meals for a more iron-rich diet. Add chicken to a salad or lay it on top of a pasta dish. Grill it and put it on a sandwich. Get creative.
Dark green, leafy vegetables
Contrary to what you might believe, you can get plenty of iron from foods other than red meat and poultry. The catch? You might have to increase your dark green and leafy vegetable intake. Thankfully, this is a lot easier than you might think.
Kale, spinach, lettuce and broccoli are just a few examples of dark green, leafy vegetables packed with iron in every serving. You can make a salad, add some of these veggies to a wrap or add them to soup. Soup is a great method for eating more vegetables, if you aren’t a fan of their texture or taste, because everything blends without losing vital nutrients.
Also rich in iron, beans are the perfect staple for someone looking for a healthy way to add more iron to their diet. There are ways to incorporate beans into every single meal. You can add them to a chili, make yourself a burrito and, yes, even add them to a salad (think salads are boring and tasteless? Think again).
Eating seafood several times a week is really good for you, especially considering its reasonable iron content. Many people don’t like the taste of fish, which is why incorporating fish into meals you already like is a great place to start. Shrimp scampi, anyone? Never underestimate the deliciousness of a fresh fish taco.
Many of the loaves of bread, cereals and pastas you can find at the grocery store come fortified with iron, meaning iron has been added to them during processing to enhance health benefits. It means you can still enjoy some of your favorite foods and get more iron while eating them.
Stay healthy, eat foods you love and stay energized as you do so. Adding more iron to your diet is easier than you think.