Healthy Recipes to Fight Iron Deficiencies
The most prevalent nutritional deficiency in the world is iron deficiency anemia; however, there are many effective ways to prevent and treat this condition.
Studies have shown that about two percent of adult men, between nine and 12 percent of white women and nearly 20 percent of black and Hispanic women have iron deficiency anemia.
Fortunately, some of the healthiest foods on the planet are packed with this essential mineral and can be included in delicious recipes too. Here are some of the best foods to eat to fight an iron deficiency and delicious recipes to make them even more enticing for daily meals.
Iron-Rich Foods to Eat
Most people associate iron with animal sources, but what about vegetarians or those who simply don’t like the taste of meat? Fortunately, there are lots of iron-rich foods that are healthy and delicious to add variety to meals and improve iron levels over time.
Heme iron is contained in meat, while non-heme iron can be found in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and other plant-based sources. Although heme iron is more easily absorbed in the body, both types of foods are important for a balanced diet. Absorption of iron can be improved by eating vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits, peppers, and tomatoes along with iron-rich foods.
These are some of the best foods to eat on a regular basis to maintain healthy iron levels:
- Chicken and beef liver
- Beef Steak
- Swiss chard and collard greens
- Black and navy beans
Delicious Recipes Packed with Iron
Iron is required in the diet to support muscle function, brain function, and healthy pregnancy in women. With these recipes, people of all ages and lifestyles can get the iron their bodies need to thrive. Here is an example of a heme iron and a non-heme iron recipe to try at home.
Chicken Livers on Toast with Caper Salad (Heme Iron)
Chicken livers are a great source of iron and can be dressed up to create a stunning meal that’s healthy and delicious. Capers, lemon, and balsamic vinegar add a tangy flavor to this chicken liver recipe.
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 2 springs of tarragon
- 2 shallots
- 1 tbsp. chopped capers
- 1 lemon
- 1 lb. of chicken livers
- 1 scoop of cornmeal flour
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- 1 loaf of sourdough bread, toasted for serving
- Combine barley and tarragon to create salad
- Add shallots, capers and a squeeze of lemon juice to salad
- Roll chicken livers in cornmeal flour
- Heat olive oil in a pan on the stove and cook livers until chicken is no longer pink
- Drizzle balsamic vinegar over livers and remove from pan
- Place livers on sourdough toast and top with salad
Spiced Carrot & Lentil Soup (Non-Heme Iron)
Slow cooker meals are ideal on busy days and during the cold winter months. This a meat-free, and vegetarian-friendly recipe that has a high iron content and is low-fat as well.
- 2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 tsp. chili flakes
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 8-10 medium-size carrots
- ¾ cup lentils
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- ½ cup milk
- Naan bread for serving
- Heat a large pan on the stove and add cumin and chili to cook for about a minute
- Remove half of the spices and set aside
- Place remaining ingredients in pan and boil
- Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until lentils are plump and soft
- Serve soup with warm naan bread
- Note: soup can be added to a food processor for smoother texture if desired
The Role of Supplementation
While healthy, natural, and whole foods are the best sources of iron, sometimes it’s not enough for people suffering from iron deficiency anemia. For those who do not get enough iron in their diets from food alone, supplementation may be necessary as well.
Fergon is a high potency iron supplement that is recommended for adults and is a tablet taken once daily with food. People experiencing symptoms of iron deficiency anemia should discuss recommended amounts of iron with their doctor to achieve a nutrient balance through food and supplementation as needed.
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