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Iron is needed for various vital functions in the body from maintaining your haemoglobin levels in the body to preventing anaemia.But not many people may like eating spinach or beetroot every time. And if you are one of them, here are 10 ways to load up your iron intake through your diet from our expert Dr Swati Dave, nutritionist, Ahmedabad.
#1 Rice flakes (poha)
One of the quick and tasty ways to get iron from your food is to snack on rice flakes. All you need to do is eat a bowl of roasted rice flakes (poha/chiwda in hindi) with curry leaf (karipatta) seasoning. You can even try eating poha with lemon juice for the breakfast. Eating 100 mg of rice flakes or poha will provide you 20 mg of iron. You don t have to eat this daily, including it 1 2 times a week in your diet is enough. Dont' know how to make poha? Here is a healthy kanda poha recipe from an expert chef.
You can even try eating some boiled soyabean and sprouted moong-chana chaat as a snack once or twice a week. But don t forget to sip a glass of lemon water after you are done as this will help in the absorption of iron in the body. Eating 100 mg of this mixture gives you around 10.4 mg of iron.
How about eating one rajgeera ladoo twice a week? Well, this will provide you around 27.3 mg of iron. To prepare these ladoos, all you need to do is dry roast rajgeera seeds, add jaggery to this mixture and make ladoos. This will not only satiate your sweet cravings but also load up nutrients.
#4 Bengal gram greens (Chana leaves)
If you love eating soya chunks then make a curry with chana leaves. And what s more, eating 100 mg of this curry provides you around 24 mg of iron. So make sure you that you add these leaves, the next time you wish to eat soya chunks (1 2 times a week).
#5 Cauliflower leaves (phul gobi ke patte in hindi)
Are you throwing away cauliflower leaves every time you buy this vegetable? Well, according to our expert, these 100 mg of these leaves contain 40 mg of iron and thus, are one of the good sources of this mineral. But make sure you cook this vegetable in tomato gravy to obtain iron. Eating this once or twice a week is sufficient to reap its benefits.
Dr Swati recommends one should eat 4 5 dates (khajur) or 8 10 raisins (kishmish) daily. This provides you around 7.3 mg of iron, which fulfils your daily recommended dosage of this mineral. You can snack on dates in the night before going to bed or can eat dates/raisins during your snack time.
#7 Niger seeds (kala til in hindi)
Not people are aware of the fact that niger seeds are loaded with iron. You can use these seeds in roasted form and can be added to any preparations like salads, soups and curries. Add them to your diet without fail as 100 mg of this seeds provide 56.7 mg iron that can be attained only if you include them in your diet daily.
#8 Garden cress seeds (halim in hindi)
Did you know you can get 100 mg of iron from 100 mg of garden cress seeds? As you can t eat them raw, what you can do is add them in the roasted form in your foods like soups, salads and curries. But ensure that you add these seeds to your diet daily.
#9 Lotus stem, dry (kamal kakdi in hindi)
Lotus stem curry is a delicious way to include this vegetable in your diet. Not only is it healthy, but provides around 60.6 mg iron (from 100 mg of vegetable). Don t know the recipe? It is very simple. Wash the lotus steam and peel it off. Now cut small pieces and boil them for 10 15 minutes in water. Now, onion, green chillies and garlic in oil, add the boiled vegetable, allow it to cook a little. Add salt and tomatoes, cook and then add turmeric, hing and chilli powder. Now add some water and cook for 5 minutes and garnish with coriander.
#10 Red meat
If you are a non-vegetarian, then a low-fat preparation of red meat is what you can have, says Dr Swati. For every 100mg of red meat you consume, you get only 18.8 mg iron. Hence, it is important to ensure that you eat it occasionally like once a month (and not eat daily).
While you start off with these recipes and tips to load up iron in your body, here are few expert tips you need to keep in mind.
Vitamin C: This vitamin is needed for the absorption of non-heme iron and reverses the inhibiting effect of tea and calcium phosphate. Iron absorption is directly proportional to the quantity of ascorbic acid present. Ascorbic acid forms a chelate (a bond) with ferric iron at acidic pH and helps it get absorbed. So increase your intake of foods rich in vitamin C when you include iron-rich foods in your diet. . Eating heme - iron-rich foods with vitamin C such as oranges, orange juice, lemon juice, tomatoes and capsicum in a meal, enhances absorption of non-heme iron consumed in the same meal.
Calcium: It inhibits the absorption of iron. So don't take your iron and calcium supplements at the same time and also don't drink milk with your meals for the same reason. Make sure there is a time interval of around 2 - 3 hours between the intake of iron and calcium supplements.
Tannins: Present in tea and coffee, tannins reduce the amount of iron your body can absorb from foods. Avoid having tea or coffee with any meal or with an iron supplement. If you wish to have one, then drink it at least an hour before or after your meal.
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