Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Eat More Iron Rich Foods

                     black beans in a bowl on gluten free a-z blog

Do you eat enough iron rich foods ? Did you know that beans and lentils are not only a good source of protein, but  also a rich source of iron? Did you know that if you are deficient in iron , it may weaken your immune system , and you may be more prone to infection ?

It is easy to become deficient in iron without even knowing it.
Iron is important for a strong immune system and without enough iron you can become prone to infection.

A friend of mine donates blood a few times a year. Often when she goes, they don't accept her blood because her hemoglobin levels are too low. They give her flyer which explains how to increase iron levels. She is surprised because she is not a vegetarian, but her levels are frequently  low non the less. The good news is that after about 3-4  weeks of following their suggestions, her iron levels return to the normal range.
 
Information and suggestions from the Community Blood Council of New Jersey, Inc. ( 2008)

  • Hemoglobin is the oxygen -carrying pigment and major protein in the red blood cells. Iron rich foods help individuals maintain healthy levels.
  • There are two types of iron rich foods. Heme iron which comes from animal products like meat, poultry, and fish and Non-heme iron which comes from fruits, vegetables, and grains. Although heme iron is more easily absorbed,  if you eat foods rich in Vitamin C with non-heme iron sources, the Vitamin C increases absorption.



Foods That Help Absorption                                   
Cantaloupe, broccoli, tomatoes,                                      
strawberries, peppers, white wine


Foods that Inhibit Absorption

Coffee, tea, red wine, bran, fiber,
Beware :  Spinach is rich in iron; however, it also contains oxalic acid which is an iron inhibitor. In order to absorb more of the iron in spinach, cook and then drain before eating. Oxalic acid is water soluble and will wash away in the water.

Men require about 10 mg of iron a day, while women require about 18mg a day.
Iron is an important mineral and essential for energy and strong immune system.

According to the Mayo Clinic a deficiency in iron can lead to the following symptoms:

■ Fatigue

■Pale skin

■Weakness

■Shortness of breath

■Headaches

■Dizziness or light headedness
■Cold hands and feet

■Irritability

■Inflammation or soreness of your tongue

■Increased likelihood for infection

Vegetarian/ Vegan Iron Rich Sources

1. Cooked beans and lentils    1 cup   4.7 mg

2. Dark Leafy Greens   ( cooked)  1 cup  6 mg.

3. Prune Juice  1/2 cup    5.2 mg

4. Sesame Seeds /pumpkin seeds/ watermelon seeds ( dried)  1 oz.  4 mg.

5. Walnuts  1/2 cup 3.75 mg.

6. Dried Fruit    2 ounces  1.5- 2.0

It is no surprise that many ethnic recipes have depended on iron rich beans or lentils.

Try this delicious Middle Eastern Iron Rich Recipe


Mujadara

A traditional recipe popular in Middle Eastern countries. Simple, yet very  tasty. Top with  diced tomatoes and Greek yogurt.
Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients:
2 large yellow onions, diced
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup brown lentils, washed
1 cup brown rice or white rice, washed
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon of cumin
4 and 1/2 cups water

Directions:

Saute diced onions in olive oil until browned. Add rice and lentils to mixture and saute an additional 1-2 minutes until rice and lentils are coated and a little toasted. Cover with water, add salt, bring to a boil, simmer covered for about 25-30 minutes until rice and lentils are tender and water is absorbed.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, and this information is for educational purposes only. Always check with your doctor before making any changes in your diet.



11 comments:

  1. Lots of great info here! I've had iron issues my whole life, so I'm always looking for different ways to boost my iron levels! I'd love it if you'd link them up to my new Tuesday linky-Made From Scratch Tuesday!
    http://messhalltobistro.blogspot.com/2011/01/new-tuesday-linky.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for following my blog judee :-)
    What a helpful post, this sums up everything perfectly! I happen to love the iron rich foods, especially spinach.. This recipe looks delicious, would love to try it soon, thanks!

    Teenie Foodie

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi,

    Iron is important for a strong immune system and without enough iron you can become prone to infection. Iron rich foods help individuals maintain healthy levels. Thanks for sharing this useful post.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I clicked on cool and interesting- hope that's okay?
    Hi Judee! I have battled with low iron levels for a long time now, whan I take the iron pilss they constipate me so I eat tons of watercress. I am so excited to have found this article- as with this wealth of information I can empower myself to be more pro-active with an iron-rich diet, thank you
    I'm hosting a weekly linky which is all about seasonal celebration and would love it if you popped over and linked this post, so many of us suffer form low iron levels, whether we know it or not! It would be great to introduce your blog to my readership! Seasonal Celebration Linky http://naturalmothersnetwork.com/seasonal-celebration-sunday/seasonal-celebration/ Really hope to see you there! Rebecca x!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Rebecca,
    Thanks for the invite. I will over to post and look forward to reading your blog.
    Judee

    ReplyDelete
  6. I take floradix for iron, but even with that natural, liquid supplement, I know food is the best method for absorbing. I will be pinning this for my prego resources pinboard!

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  7. Great info! I would definitely like to try the recipe too!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Judee thank you very much for placing this post on Natural Mothers Network's linky: Seasonal Celebration! You helped make Seasonal Celebration a wealth of intelligent, creative and resourceful information and it's been such a pleasure for me and many others to read through each post. I am really looking forward to seeing you again Sunday evening or Monday! Rebecca x

    ReplyDelete
  9. i'm really trying to eat that foods but we are too busy in this time and we don't cook much as we need.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  11. hello everyone I am new this blog
    if anyone would give what food would good source of iron deficient and immune deficient?
    my stomach always bloated?
    I get canker sores and feel Fatigue,weaknes, headaches,dizziness,light headedness, cold feet and hands?

    I would love to loss couple pounds
    I hope you guys reply to me.
    thanks

    please if anyone could


    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment - I love the feedback and interaction