Anemia is a commonly occurring health condition, especially in poverty-stricken areas, but this should not be taken for granted. Anemia is an ailment where the body is depleted of healthy red blood cells. A healthy red blood cell is oxygen rich which, in turn, delivers the oxygen for other organs to use. If red blood cells are destroyed, or there is blood loss, or red blood cells are inadequately produced, anemia will occur. While some types of anemia can only be remedied by blood transfusion, most anemia can be resolved if the red blood cells is made healthy by increasing the amount of iron intake of the person. To start, below are excellent food choices that can help in building healthy red blood cells or simply preventing anemia:
There are different types of green vegetables, and almost all of them are good sources of iron. Topping the list of green vegetables with high iron content is fresh parsley. However, fresh parsley is not mostly eaten in huge amounts. Next in line is cooked spinach where a cup contains 36 percent of the required daily allowance. A cup of chopped Swiss chard can also provide 22 percent of the daily value. Other green vegetables are asparagus, broccoli, lemon grass, kale and sauerkraut. What is good about vegetables is not just because of the iron content, but also is the fact that it is high in vitamin C. Vitamin C increases the bioavailability of iron in the body. When taking iron, it should always be paired with vitamin C to increase the absorption of iron in the body. But be careful with iron inhibitors found in some vegetables. Iron inhibitors, such as the phytic acid, will reduce the absorption of iron. So to be sure, increase vitamin C intake to combat these inhibitors.
Almost all types of nuts have iron content. The best source perhaps is coconut. Eating just an ounce of dried coconut can give you 1 mg of iron or 5 percent of the required daily allowance. A cup of raw coconut milk has 3.94 mg of iron. Another great source of iron is the dried whole sesame seeds, which can 20.94 mg per cup. Other iron-rich nuts are almonds, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, sunflower seeds and watermelon seed kernels.
Seafood is not just the fishes; it also includes the sea vegetables and the shellfish. Among the seafood, the highest in iron content are the shellfish which can be eaten raw or prepared baked, fried, steamed or made into chowder. Among the shellfish, it is clams that provide the most amounts. 10 small clams can already provide 150% of the RDA for iron. Next on the list are the oysters and mussels. Sea vegetables, on the other hand, can provide more than iron. Sea vegetables, such as the sea lettuce, nori, wakame, kelp, arame, agar-agar and hijiki, also has rich source of vitamin C, which can help in the absorption of iron in the body. And for those who want to be stylish in their intake of iron-rich seafood, 100 grams of caviar can already provide 66 percent of the RDA.
This amazing product of the honey bees, which is being used as an alternative to less nutritious brown sugar, is also rich in iron. Although only in minimal amount, honey can still contribute to those who want to fight anemia. An ounce of honey is actually 1 percent of the daily value for iron.
Fresh fruits are not really rich in iron, but they are rich in vitamin C that can assist in the absorption of iron in the body. For fruits high in iron, top of the list is the tamarind, and followed by persimmons, rowal, mulberries, abiyuch, elderberries, passion fruits and currants. As for the vitamin C content, there are peaches, papayas, orange, cranberry, strawberry, grapefruit, mango and pineapple. Eating fresh fruits with foods rich in iron, such as nuts and beans, can already shoot up the iron levels of your body, and will therefore prevent anemia.
During the third boiling of the sugar syrup, when the sucrose of sugar has already been crystallized, a concentrated by-product is produced. This by-product is called blackstrap molasses. As it turns out, this type of molasses is rich in iron. A tablespoon of blackstrap molasses can already provide 20 percent of the required daily allowance for iron. By adding molasses to baked beans, or basting your chicken with it, anemia will already be prevented.
Lentils and Beans
In countries where there is a large population diagnosed with anemia, lentils and beans are provided to the underprivileged because of its high iron content. On top of the list of beans with iron is the natto bean, where 100 grams of cooked beans can provide 48 percent of the RDA. Next on the list are winged beans, white beans, lentils, mothbeans, kidney beans, chickpeas, yardlong beans, black-eyed peas and black beans. Beans which are not fermented may have iron, but it mostly contains phytic acid which inhibits the absorption of iron in the body. Fermentation, by soaking the beans overnight, will unlock the iron and therefore increase the iron content of the beans.
There is no doubt that the richest source of iron comes from animal sources, particularly the red meat. For those populations who consume red meat, they are unlikely to have complaints of anemia. This is because the iron contain in the red meats are easily absorbed by the human body, compared to the iron of plant-based sources. Additionally, they seem not to be affected by the iron inhibitors, such as the phytic acid. In fact, studies have shown that iron that are unlocked in plant sources, are absorbed easily when it is paired with the iron coming from the red meat. Acing the list of red meats rich in iron is the raw liver of goose and duck and the raw pork liver. Other iron-rich sources are ground beef, beef liver, chicken breast and thighs, venison, veal and lamb meat.