Why is iron important you ask? Well here is an explanation from one of our favorite books and websites, World’s Healthiest Foods. If you don’t already use them as a resource we highly encourage you to check them out:
“All of the tissues in our body need a near constant supply of oxygen to maintain life. We maintain this oxygen delivery by the red cells in our blood. These have an iron-containing protein called hemoglobin, which is a perfect transporter for oxygen, in that it both picks up and releases oxygen in an exact and targeted way.
The average man has about 2 grams of iron in his blood cells at any given time while women have about 1.6 grams. If the dietary iron intake falls below daily needs and this storage amount goes down, the ability to tolerate bursts of exercise will deteriorate. The reduction in blood count related to having low iron stores (or other nutrient deficiencies, including of vitamin B12, folate, copper, and vitamin A) is called anemia.” World’s Healthiest Foods
Well said WHFoods! Due to blood loss during menstruation, women in their reproductive years have the hardest time meeting daily iron needs. Since 15-18 mg of iron sounds like a lot, We created an infographic to show you what you need to consume each day to meet your daily iron needs.
1 cup of spinach + 1 cup of lentils + 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds + 1 cup of broccoli + 4 oz. beef + 1/2 grapefruit or other vitamin C-rich food (this doesn’t contain iron but acts as an iron enhancer, allowing you to absorb iron more efficiently.)
Calories: 720; Iron: 19 mg; Carbs: 54 g; Fat: 29 grams; Protein: 63 grams; Sodium: 1,558 mg ; Sugar: 9 grams
As you can see, there is plenty of room in your diet for a variety of other foods that will complete your daily dietary needs. This particular combination of foods is high in protein and fiber and low in sugar. If you are vegetarian, you can replace the 4 oz. of beef with 1 Tbsp. of blackstrap molasses, which contains 3.5 mg of iron. (Crazy, right?!?) Just be sure to consume it at least one hour before or after you consume any iron-blocking foods (see above).
The Glisten Girls