We all know about pumping iron, but what about dietary iron? Iron is consumed through the food we eat, and it’s an essential part of hemoglobin, a protein which transfers oxygen from your lungs and throughout your body’s tissue.
In addition, iron is vital for supporting the function of healthy connective tissue and muscle metabolism. Without enough iron in your body, you could develop anemia, leading to symptoms like lowered immunity, impaired cognitive function, and fatigue. Men who have an ulcer (leading to bleeding) or drink alcohol frequently may be at risk of anemia.
Supplements vs iron-rich food?
Where possible, you should always aim to get your nutrients and minerals through your food as much as possible; this is because foods have more than just one nutrient, so you get various benefits. However, there may be times when you must take a supplement.
Common reasons for iron deficiency other than anemia are if men aren’t getting enough iron in through their diet.
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So, for example, if you don’t eat a lot of heme iron which comes from foods such as red meat, beans, lentils, and spinach. If you’re concerned about your iron levels, speak to your doctor.
7 iron-rich foods to add to your diet
Don’t worry, you don’t need to load up on liver or other organ meats to get your iron fix. Here are our top seven iron-rich foods that are delicious and will add iron into your diet in an enjoyable way.
Black beans are nutrient powerhouses; they’re packed with protein and antioxidants. Just one cup of cooked beans contains 3.61mg of iron (45% of your daily intake), 1.5 times as much iron as 3 ounces of flank steak.
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In addition, black beans are a great iron option for veggies and vegans because they need double the iron compared to meat eaters. This is because plant protein isn’t as easily absorbed as animal sources. Plus, they’re a great source of soluble fiber, which may be helpful for weight loss.
For every cup of cooked spinach, it contains 6g of iron. Spinach is great as an added extra in your meals, whether added to omelets, protein bowls or even sauteed with olive oil and seasoned as a side dish.
Often overlooked, molasses is a nutrient-rich sweetener, boasting 4g of iron per tablespoon. So, whether you use it to make baked beans or drizzle over pancakes, it’s a great way to get extra iron into your diet.
Turkey breast is an excellent source of heme iron, the most easily absorbed type of iron. For every 3.5 ounces of turkey, there’s 1.4mg of iron. In addition, in just 161 calories, there is a whopping 30g of protein.
When combined with a veggie-rich diet, it’s linked with a decreased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. If possible, opt for freshly sliced instead of deli meat to avoid extra sodium, additives, or preservatives.
A good source of iron with an ounce providing 2.5mg of iron is about a third of your daily iron intake. In addition, they’re an excellent source of magnesium, which helps your muscles to relax. Plus, people who include pumpkin seeds in their diet have been found to have a reduced risk of certain cancers.
Dried apricots are a great way to add more iron into your diet (as long as there’s no added sugar). They’re one of the most iron-rich fruits, with 0.5 of a cup providing 4mg of iron – half of a man’s daily needs.
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In addition, they’re packed with flavonoid antioxidants that help to neutralize free radicals, protecting you against conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
There are so many uses for tofu, and for every 0.5 cup, you get 3g of iron. Plus, it’s also rich in protein and fiber, helping you stay fuller for longer. One of our favorite ways to use silken tofu is adding it into your smoothie for an extra protein punch and creamy texture.
So, there you have it, our seven favorite iron-rich foods that will help you to get more iron into your diet without compromising on flavor.
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