Most women don’t get enough iron. And if you’re low in iron, it can leave you feeling weak and fatigued – which is pretty much the last thing any mum needs! You’re already functioning on a permanent sleep deficit and the rugrats are running circles around you – so you need every little bit of energy you can muster to get through the day. Time to stop fighting an uphill battle: get your mineral stores under control with these handy tips to increase iron intake, and you’ll be ready to handle that next tantrum, those 15 loads of washing, and anything else the kids can throw at you!
Here are 14 ways to boost your iron intake, brought to you by Care Pharmaceuticals.
1. Meat it
As we’re sure you know, iron is absorbed most efficiently from meat. So eating more red meat is key to boosting your intake. What you might not know is that chicken liver is particularly high in iron. Eating 100g of the stuff will deliver a whopping 65% of your daily iron intake. Liver is high in cholesterol, though, so best to eat it in moderation, and pregnant women shouldn’t eat it at all due to its high vitamin A content.
2. The world’s your oyster
Next time you’re sipping champagne and necking oysters on a date night, be smug in the knowledge that you’re not only enjoying a luxury treat, you’re also giving your iron stores a top-up! Mussels and clams are also good choices – so whip up that seafood linguini and enjoy.
3. Beans means iron
Soybeans, lentils and all kinds of beans will give you a nourishing dose of iron. Mix up some bean-y Mexican meals, make a three bean salad, prepare an Indian dahl or get creative with a white bean burger. Beans are a hearty addition to meat-free meals and along with lentils, they are a terrific source of iron for vegetarians.
4. Add a supplement
Obviously, not every meal can be a Mexican fiesta or an oyster feast. With all the demands of family life, it can be a struggle to closely monitor your nutritional intake. If you’re worried about maintaining adequate iron levels through diet alone, FAB IRON is an easy-to-digest supplement that’s just the trick. FAB IRON also has the added bonus of energy boosting B group vitamins plus vitamin C to aid absorption.
5. Dip it good
What about getting your iron from your pre-dinner nibbles? Chickpeas are high in iron, so load up on the hommus, or try a tahini dip: it’s made of sesame seeds, which are also iron-rich.
6. Peppy pepitas
Instead of turning to a packet of potato chips to counter the 3pm tummy rumbles, snack on a couple of handfuls of pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas) instead. Pumpkin seeds can also be tossed through salads, sprinkled over your muesli or used to top muffins and cakes. Sunflower seeds are also a great iron-rich snack.
7. The green gang
You can’t go wrong with leafy greens such as broccoli, kale and silverbeet – but cooked spinach is the winning leaf when it comes to iron. Make a spinach tart, a delicious frittata, or sautee leaves with oil and garlic for a simple and delicious side dish.
8. Nuts about nuts and fruits
Break out the trail mix! Dried fruits and nuts (particularly apricots and cashews) offer a convenient snack food with an iron pep. Nuts can be added to a myriad of sweet and savoury dishes and dried fruits are delicious chopped up over breakfast cereals or stewed into a compote.
10. Keen on quinoa
Not just a superfood fad, quinoa can add iron to its long list of helpful properties. Use it to accompany your meal in place of rice or couscous, bulk up a salad, start the day with a quinoa porridge or bake it into patties.
11. Tofu tonight
Tofu has long been the meat-alternative staple for vegetarians – with good reason. Made from soybeans, it’s rich in iron and other minerals. Don’t be put off by the idea that tofu is ‘bland’ – it takes on the flavour of what it’s cooked with, so if you haven’t enjoyed it before you just haven’t tried it the right way!
12. Treat time
And now, ladies, the advice you’ve been waiting for. Dark chocolate (eaten in moderation) is absolutely packed with iron. Yep, we give you permission to get your chocolate fix for the good of your health.
13. Eggs benefits
Eggs don’t have a huge amount of iron, but they have a moderate amount and they’re also packed with other nutrients, so a couple of eggs for breaky is a really good choice. And yummy!
14. Call in the reinforcements
Once you’re working hard to increase iron intake, make sure you’re not working against yourself. Cut back on tea, as tannin can interfere with iron absorption from plant-based foods. Conversely, Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, so try to eat vitamin C rich foods alongside iron-rich foods, to ensure you’re getting every available benefit.
FAB IRON is an easy to absorb iron formulation with essential energy boosting B group vitamins. Visit fabiron.com.au
(This post is sponsored by FAB IRON)