Iron is obtained from the foods we eat, but only 1 mg of iron is absorbed for every 10 to 20 mg of iron ingested from foods, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Eating foods high in iron can clearly increase iron levels in the blood, but you need to continually eat iron-rich foods to supply the body with enough iron to build healthy red blood cells. Generally a diet high in lean meats and dark leafy green vegetables provides the body with enough iron. Talk to your doctor if you still feel weak and tired after eating iron-rich foods.
The University of Illinois recommends lean beef as a daily source of iron. Buy organic beef to avoid being exposed to hormones and antibiotics. Beef is also high in B-vitamins and protein. However, beef is also very high in saturated fat, so choose lean cuts of beef and strain the fat when cooking spaghetti or burgers. Straining the fat from the meat can dramatically cut down on the amount of saturated fat that you ingest.
Egg yolks are also high in iron as well as protein, enzymes and B-vitamins. Eat hard-boiled eggs for breakfast, and make sure to eat the entire yolk as well as the white. The most dense nutrition is found in the yolk of the egg. You can also combine the egg yolk with the egg whites by scrambling the eggs. Add herbs, pepper and other flavourings to make the dish more appealing. Eggs are also high in omega-3 fatty acids which are also beneficial for the body. The University of Maryland Medical Center says that eggs reduce inflammation and lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and arthritis.
Spinach is another food that can raise iron levels in the blood. Spinach is also loaded with minerals, amino acids and vitamin A. Eat spinach raw because cooking destroys some of the vital nutrients found in this food. Add spinach to smoothies, salads, sandwiches and other dishes.
Chicken is also high in iron, protein and B-vitamins. The University Health Center of Georgia says that women need 18 mg of iron each day, and pregnant women need 27 mg of iron on a daily basis. Most men only need about 8 mg of iron per day. Beside supplementation, eating foods rich in iron is the only way to get enough iron in the body. Chicken is a versatile and low-fat way to get the iron you need. Enjoy chicken for dinner or add chopped chicken to your favourite salads.
The University of Maryland Medical Center lists kidney beans as an iron-rich food. The beans are also high in fibre, protein and minerals, which makes this a well-rounded dish. Try to eat beans on a daily basis by adding them to foods that you would already eat such as soups, salads and even pasta.