No, it’s not just red meat that is rich in iron! Some plants also have excellent sources—our advice is to make the most of it.
Lentils, nutritionally exemplary
We can never say it enough; we must rehabilitate pulses: they are rich in protein (13 g in a 150 g serving of cooked lentils), fiber, and various minerals, including iron (4 mg in a serving of 150 g of cooked lentils). In the family of pulses, lentils are the most digestible and the easiest to cook (no soaking, cooking in 15 to 20 minutes). In addition, their different colors (green, blond, black, coral) allow you to vary the pleasures. We think of parsley, which suits them well and boosts iron intake.
What Does Iron Do To Our Body?
Iron is the anti-fatigue champion, the best ally. Not too much is needed, but it accompanies us daily in small doses. Essential for transporting oxygen to each cell of the body, it also participates in energy production. When you lack iron, you get tired quickly, you are pale, without power or defenses, you tend to fall ill for a yes for a no, and, in addition, to sleep poorly! Anti-fatigue is suitable for breathing, and anti-infective iron is also necessary for good mental functioning (especially in children) and sleep. In adulthood, the body contains between 2.5 and 4 g of iron. It is so little… and yet vital!
How To Better Absorb Iron?
To better absorb iron, vegetables are mainly associated with foods rich in vitamin C (lemon juice, orange, kiwi, etc.). For example, when it’s time to eat, you squeeze a lemon on your broccoli or chicer on your just-cooked kale . Or we add lemon juice to a glass of water during the meal.
Do Women Lack Iron?
23% of us lack it, mainly because of heavy periods. But drastic slimming diets don’t help. In contrast, after menopause, only 5% of women are deficient. A bit pale, quickly out of breath? It would be nice to do a blood test. In the event of a deficiency, the ferritin level is below 30. When you have too much (this also happens and should be avoided!), it is above 100.
Iron: What Are The Champion Foods?
Black pudding, liver, charcuterie, beef, egg, oysters, and mussels are at the top because iron of animal origin is generally better assimilated than that of vegetable origin. Other significant sources are cocoa and certain vegetables: asparagus, leek, potato, parsley, and cabbage. To better absorb their iron, avoid drinking tea during meals.
Why Should Vegetable Iron Be Preferred To Animal Iron?
If animal iron is better absorbed, vegetable iron would be less “dangerous.” Trace elements essential to life, iron in excess, are not recommended. Oxidizing, like copper, could increase the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and even type 2 diabetes. fruits and vegetables would be less oxidative or even, on the contrary, protective. As for iron as a dietary supplement, it is better to seek the advice of a doctor before taking it.
Where To Find Vegetable Iron When You Are A Vegetarian?
Iron is essential for premenopausal and athletic women. It ensures oxygen transport to the cells, reducing the time of adaptation and recovery. It participates in the production of neurotransmitters, strengthens the immune system, and helps fight against fatigue.
Suppose heme iron, contained in meat and fish, is better assimilated than non-heme iron of vegetable origin. In that case, one can completely cover its needs ( 16 mg recommended per day for a woman ) by eating vegetarian. Just know the champions in the field (lentils, seaweed, sesame, spinach, soy, and parsley) and combine them with vitamin C sources, enhancing iron absorption.
Why Should You Absorb More Iron When You Are Athletic?
If there is a critical mineral in sports, especially endurance, it is iron. It is part of the hemoglobin structure, which allows oxygen delivery to organs and muscles. However, during physical exertion, a lot of oxygen is consumed. Since hemoglobin is used at full speed, iron requirements are increased.
A deficiency and it is anemia: we are out of breath, the heart beats faster, the circulation is less good, we reach our fatigue threshold more quickly, and our performance is inevitably affected. Since the muscles are poorly oxygenated during exercise, they are forced to use the anaerobiosis pathway (mode of energy production that does not use oxygen), which will lead to the earlier presentation of lactic acid. With the key, sensations of muscle burns during the effort, which can lead to slowing down or even stopping the exercise.
Iron is eliminated daily through sweat, urine, stools, and, each month, through menstruation. In the context of regular sports practice, these losses are increased. During the exercise, our body is moved, especially at the belly level. This causes intestinal micro-tears, which create mini-digestive hemorrhages. And the same phenomenon affects the soles of the feet: with each stride, small blood vessels burst. This is why running is considered to be the sport that generates the most iron losses.
What Are My Needs, And How Do I Meet Them?
Our needs are estimated at 16 mg per day, increased by 6 mg per 1000 kcal, and more than 1800 kcal absorbed daily by a regular athlete. Concretely: a very athletic woman consuming 2,800 kcal daily needs 22 mg of iron. This quota is easily reached by consuming two servings of protein daily to replenish heme iron (present in red blood cells), the form best absorbed by the body.
We take care to vary our diet: red meat (once or twice a week), offal (once a week), fish, seafood, white meat, and eggs. And for an exciting intake of iron of vegetable origin, we introduce a portion of legumes and whole grains with each meal. Finally, note that vitamin C promotes iron absorption, while the tannins of tea, coffee, and wine reduce it.
What About Food Supplements?
There are dietary iron supplements, but taking them without doing a blood test is not recommended because if iron deficiency is harmful, an excess is too. For regular athletes (3 sessions per week) or subjects at risk (vegetarians, vegans), it is advisable to perform a blood test every two or three months to measure your ferritin. Or as soon as signs of deficiencies (fatigue, pallor, shortness of breath) appear.
Five Iron-Rich Foods:
- Black pudding: 22.8 mg/100 g
- Dark chocolate (40% cocoa minimum): 17.1 mg/100 g
- Clam: 15 mg/100 g
- Sesame: 14.6mg/100g
- Chicken liver: 10.6 mg/100 g
Also Read: Nine Foods That Can Keep Us Awake