7 Iron-Rich Fruits to Include in Your Diet

7 Iron-Rich Fruits to Include in Your Diet

Iron is an essential mineral for life. See what plant-based foods you can get and how it helps you.

Last update : June 12, 2022

Iron is an essential mineral that must be supplied with food. Its main purpose is to make hemoglobin to transport oxygen from the lungs to the different tissues. Foods of animal origin are the ones that provide the most iron. However, there are iron-rich fruits that should not be overlooked for those who need to boost it.

Depending on the food source and the efficiency of absorption, there are two types of iron:heme, which is absorbed in high proportion; and the nonheme, of vegetable origin. The latter is less absorbed, between 2 and 10%. So you need to use some metrics to get the most out of it.

So we will tell you which fruits are richest in this mineral and, therefore, should be part of our healthy diet.

Read also: 3 healthy foods high in carbohydrates

What other functions does iron have?

In addition to forming hemoglobin from the blood 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 are not met in the diet, we feel weak and tired.
  • Avoid insomnia: the Sleep Foundation reports that causes of insomnia, particularly in women, include impaired iron regulation.
  • Oxygenates the muscles: it is also part of myoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to muscles.
  • Maintains healthy hair, nails and skin: keratin, which is one of these tissues, needs optimal levels of iron to function.
  • Provides Cognitive Health: the constant supply of oxygen to the brain is essential to prevent cognitive impairment.
  • Balances Hormones: during the menstrual cycle, the woman loses iron, so it must be compensated.
  • Essential during pregnancy: it is recommended to follow a high iron intake during pregnancy and, if possible, to take supplements.
  • Strengthens the immune system: iron is an important mineral for keeping defenses active. Many times its deficiency, as in the elderly, affects cellular immunity.

How Much Iron Do I Need?

The amount of iron needed varies by age and sex. The type of diet also influences. An omnivorous diet with foods of animal origin is more likely to provide intake.

In contrast, strict vegans need almost double what is recommended. The iron they ingest is not not heme and is poorly absorbed. This is why it is important to select the richest vegetables and fruits.

Teenagers need 11 to 15 milligrams. Adult men 8 milligrams and women 18 milligrams. Pregnancy requires 27 milligrams of iron and nursing mothers 10 milligrams.

Women have higher iron requirements due to monthly losses from the menstrual cycle.

The Most Iron-Rich Fruits to Include in Your Diet

Although nutrition professionals know that fruits are not rich in iron because they are plant tissues, here we show you which ones contain the most. In addition, they are important to ensure proper absorption of the mineral through other routes.

1. Coconut

Coconut is a drupe obtained from the tropical species of coconut ( Cocos nucifera ), the most cultivated palm in the world. The edible part is the solid albumen or copra, which retains the water inside.

This particular exotic fruit not only refreshes and hydrates, but also has other properties, like be a source of potassium, phosphorus and iron. According to the Bolivian Ministry of Health and Sports, 100 grams of coconut pulp provides about 4 milligrams of iron.

Sure, its high calorie, fiber and fat content could have laxative effects and increase the energy in the diet. However, about 2 tablespoons of coconut a day can provide 1.2 milligrams of iron. non-heme.

2. The gooseberry among the fruits richest in iron

Currants ( Phyllantus acidus L.) are small fruits 1 centimeter in diameter. They are fleshy, juicy and have an acid flavor. For 100 grams of edible part, they contain 3 milligrams of iron.

In addition, this fruit also provides 17.7 milligrams of vitamin C, which helps in the absorption of this mineral at the gastrointestinal level and mobilizes it within the deposits.

Also read: The different types of drugs used to treat allergies

3. Raisins

Raisin is a dried fruit, in which many of its nutrients are concentrated. It provides very good soluble and insoluble fiber values ​​to improve intestinal transit.

Vitamin C is lost during drying, but iron values ​​are 1.5 milligrams per 100 grams of grapes. However, care must be taken in the portions to be ingested due to its laxative effect and high energy value, since its natural sugars are also concentrated. A serving of 40 grams is recommended, which provides about 0.6 milligrams of iron non-heme.

4. Pomegranate juice

pomegranate or Punica granatum L. It is a widespread fruit tree in arid and semi-arid areas in various parts of the world. It is consumed fresh and one of its most common forms is juice.

A few experts have written about the pomegranate, describing its iron value as 3 milligrams per 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 most iron-rich fruits

Berries are not only a source of powerful antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, which give them their distinctive red to purple color. They are also a source of vitamin C, which facilitates the absorption of the iron they contain.

There are 0.7 milligrams of iron per 100 grams of these delicious fruits. Don’t forget to consume them as whole fruits so as not to waste vitamin C.

6. Fig

The fig is a false fruit that belongs to the Moraceae family.. It has a soft consistency and an oval or pear shape.

Their thin skin can be green, black or purple. It has a sweet-tasting white pulp with many seeds inside.

1 serving of 120 grams provides 0.6 milligrams of iron. This value increases considerably when the fig dries. So is its caloric value.

7. Guava for Vitamin C

Guava is a tropical fruit, native to America and known in science as Psidium guajava. Its iron value is somewhat low.

In 100 grams of this fruit, only 0.26 milligrams of mineral are found. However, it is one of the fruits richest in vitamin C, since its value is 6 times higher than that of oranges and other citrus fruits.

The value of this vitamin is more than 300 milligrams per 100 grams of guava. Without a doubt, it is a fruit that must accompany our diet if we want to make better use of iron. It can also be combined with others in salads or smoothies.

Other sources of vitamin C that we could use to improve iron absorption from fruits are citrus fruits, such as orange, grapefruit, tangerine and lemon.

Guava is recommended for its high vitamin C content, which promotes the intestinal absorption of iron.

What happens if we lack iron?

Iron is one of the minerals most affected by insufficient dietary intake. By not eating good sources of minerals, we could suffer from anemia.

In Spain, for example, the Spanish Nutrition Foundation reports that 14% of children and 18% of women of childbearing age suffer from anemia due to lack of nutrition.

In addition, a lack of iron in the diet also affects DNA synthesis and collagen formation. Also, weakness, fatigue and trouble sleeping may occur.

Low iron intake can lead to poor performance in daily activities, mood swings, and emotional instability. Other signs and symptoms would be paleness, dizziness, nausea, palpitations, brittle nails, and hair loss.

Recommendations for ensuring 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 degree.

This is not the case with fruits and other vegetables. For this reason, it is recommended to select the fruits that contain the most and associate them with those that are sources of vitamin C, such as guava and citrus fruits.

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