Iron is an essential mineral that must be supplied with food. Its main purpose is to produce hemoglobin to carry oxygen from the lungs to different tissues. Foods of animal origin are those that provide the most iron. However, there are some iron-rich fruits that shouldn’t be left off the menu for those who need to boost it.
Depending on the food source and the effectiveness of absorption, we find two types of iron: heme, which is absorbed in a high proportion; and the we do not haveof vegetable origin. The latter is less absorbed, between 2 and 10%. So you have to use some measures to make the most of it.
So we will tell you which fruits are richest in this mineral and, therefore, should be part of our healthy diet.
What other functions does iron have?
In addition to forming blood hemoglobin to transport oxygen to different cells in the body, there are other functions of great importance that we will see below:
- Provides energy: When iron needs aren’t covered by food, we feel weak and tired.
- Avoid insomnia: THE Sleep Foundation reported that among the causes of insomnia, especially in women, one can mention a deterioration in iron regulation.
- Oxygenate the muscles: it’s also part of myoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to your muscles.
- Maintains the health of hair, nails and skin: Keratin, which is part of these tissues, needs optimal levels of iron to function.
- Provides Cognitive Health: the constant supply of oxygen to the brain is the key to preventing cognitive disorders.
- Balance Hormones: During the menstrual cycle, the woman loses iron, so it must be compensated for.
- Important during pregnancy: it is recommended to follow a rich iron intake during pregnancy and, if possible, to take supplements.
- Strengthens the immune system: Iron is an important mineral to keep the defenses active. Many times its deficiency, as in the elderly, affects cellular immunity.
How much iron do I need?
THE amount of iron necessary varies according to age and gender. The type of food also affects. An omnivorous diet with foods of animal origin is more likely to guarantee intakes.
Instead, strict vegans need almost double the recommended amount. The iron they ingest is we do not have and it’s low absorption. That is why it is important to select vegetables and fruits with the highest content.
Teens require 11 to 15 milligrams. Adult men 8 milligrams and women 18 milligrams. Pregnancy requires 27 milligrams of iron and nursing mothers 10 milligrams.
The fruits richest in iron to include in your diet
While nutrition professionals know that fruits aren’t high in iron because it’s plant tissue, here are a few that contain more. They are also important to ensure good absorption of the mineral by other routes.
He coconut It is a drupe obtained from the tropical coconut tree species (coconut nucifera), the most cultivated palm in the world. The edible part is the solid egg white or copra, which retains the water inside.
This particular exotic fruit not only refreshes and moisturizes, but also has other properties, such as be a source of potassium, phosphorus and iron. In his opinion Ministry of Health and Sports of Bolivia100 grams of coconut meat provides about 4 milligrams of iron.
Obviously, its high value in calories, fiber and fat could cause laxative effects and increase energy in the diet. However, about 2 tablespoons of coconut a day can provide 1.2 milligrams of iron we do not have.
2. Currants among the fruits richest in iron
THE currant (Phyllanthus acidus L.) They are small fruits of 1 centimeter in diameter. They are meaty, juicy and sour in taste. For every 100 grams of edible portion they contain 3 milligrams of iron.
Additionally, this fruit also provides 17.7 milligrams of vitamin C, which helps the absorption of this mineral at the gastrointestinal level and mobilizes it within the deposits.
THE Raisins It is a dried fruit, in which many of its nutrients are concentrated. Provides excellent values of soluble and insoluble fiber to improve intestinal transit.
Vitamin C is lost during drying, but the iron values are 1.5 milligrams per 100 grams of grapes. However, you have to be careful about the portions you eat due to its laxative effect and high energy value, since its natural sugars are also concentrated. A 40-gram serving is recommended, providing approximately 0.6 milligrams of iron we do not have.
4. Pomegranate juice
The pomegranate or Punica granatum L.. It is a fruit tree common in arid and semi-arid areas of various parts of the world. It is eaten fresh and one of its most common forms is juice.
A expert couple wrote about the pomegranate, describing its iron value as 3 milligrams for every liter of its juice. Similarly, vitamin C is found in good proportion. 1 liter of its natural juice provides 60 milligrams of ascorbic acid.
5. Raspberry, blackberry and strawberry among the fruits richest in iron
Red berries aren’t just a source of powerful antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, which give them their signature red to purple color. Are also source of vitamin Cwhich facilitates the absorption of the iron contained in them.
There are 0.7 milligrams of iron per 100 grams of these delicious fruits. Remember to eat them as whole fruits so as not to waste vitamin C.
The fig is a false fruit that belongs to the Moraceae family.. It has a soft texture and an oval or pear shape.
Their thin skin can be green, black or purple. It has a sweet-tasting white flesh with many seeds inside.
1 serving of 120 grams provides 0.6 milligrams of iron. This value increases considerably when the fig dries up. So does its caloric value.
7. Guava for Vitamin C
Guava is a tropical fruit, originally from America and known in science as Psidio guava. Its iron value is quite low.
In 100 grams of this fruit there are only 0.26 milligrams of the mineral. However it is one of the fruits with the greatest contribution of vitamin C, since its value is 6 times higher than that of oranges and other citrus fruits.
He value of this vitamin it is greater than 300 milligrams per 100 grams of guava. Decidedly, It is a fruit that should accompany our diet if we want to use iron better. It can also be combined with others in salads or smoothies.
Other sources of vitamin C that we could use to improve the absorption of iron from fruit are citrus fruits, such as orange, grapefruit, tangerine and lemon.
What happens if we lack iron?
Iron is one of the minerals most affected by a low dietary intake. By not eating good sources of the mineral, we could suffer from anemia.
In Spain, for example, the Spanish Nutrition Foundation indicates that 14% of children and 18% of women of reproductive age suffer from anemia due to nutritional deficiency.
Also, the lack of iron in the diet it also influences DNA synthesis and collagen formation. Likewise, weakness, tiredness, and difficulty sleeping may occur.
A low iron intake can cause poor performance in daily activities, moodiness, and emotional instability. Other signs and symptoms would be paleness, dizziness, nausea, palpitations, brittle nails and hair loss.
Recommendations to ensure iron in the diet
The best sources of iron are foods of animal origin. Iron from meat, fish, poultry, shellfish, eggs and dairy products is absorbed to a high extent.
Not so in the case of fruits and other vegetables. For this reason it is recommended to select the fruits that contain the most and combine them with those that are sources of vitamin C, such as guava and citrus fruits.
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