Iron is an essential nutrient in our diet that keeps the body healthy. One of the main roles of iron is to help our RBCs (Red Blood Cells) transport oxygen to all parts of the body. It also plays an important role in specific processes within the cell that produce the energy for our body.
A diet low in Iron can lead to iron deficiency thus leading to anaemia which will then show up in various ways such as low energy, dizziness, pale skin etc. Research also have stated that about 80% of people don’t get the daily iron requirement through their food choices, hence it is very important to cleverly plan you meals and include all essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals in the right amounts.
So the next time if you are looking in for getting more energy or getting more oxygen into your body then pump in more iron to your diet which will get more tastier and keep you fit and healthy. It is also said that for pregnant women require an extra 10-20 mg of iron during this stage of life.
The main reason for this increased requirement is for the growth of foetus that builds up its own iron reserves and it does this by taking the iron from your body. Hence this makes it important to include a variety of iron rich foods for the expecting mothers.
Iron is strongly linked to the hemoglobin which serves as a carrier of oxygen from the lungs to all body cells. It plays a vital role in the growth and physical development of children and teenager helping their bodies grown in a healthy and harmonious way. Apart from hemoglobin, Iron is stored in the liver, spleen, bone marrow and other tissues.
Types of Iron: There are two type of iron: Haem Iron and Non-Haem Iron. The first type of iron is generally found in animal based foods like red meat (mutton rogan josh), poultry and fish. This type of iron gets easily absorbed by the body while the second type of iron is found in plant based foods like cereals, vegetables and legumes. The non-haem iron does not get absorbed easily by the body.
Iron rich foods: Many vegetarians worry about getting the right amount of iron in their daily diet as generally meat is considered the main source of iron. Fortunately there are a variety of easy to prepare and delicious vegetarian food choices that rich in iron and vegetarian friendly.
Vegetarian Iron rich foods include soybeans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentil, peas, and spinach. Nutritionist state that in two cups of soybeans, you will find about 30 mg of iron, while a ½ cup of cooked peas has a 2-4 mg of iron. Spinach is a supercharged food, power-packed with various nutrients especially iron content.
Two cups of cooked spinach has 12.8 mg of iron. This green leafy vegetable is extremely versatile and can be included in soups, salad or cooked included in any side dish curry. Dietary recommendations suggests that include foods rich in vitamin such as oranges, grapefruit, guavas, tomatoes, citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, fresh vegetable and salads during each meal.
It is always best to avoid drinking tea, coffee or cool drinks with meals as it decreases the amount of iron that the body absorbs and include wonderful and tasty food choices to increase the amount of dietary iron. Although serving various foods raw or cooked would not change the amount of iron but the iron content in few raw green vegetables like spinach and chard can be easily absorbed when they’re sauteed.
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