When the body’s iron levels drop due to heavy bleeding it can lead to anaemia. We need iron to produce red blood cells to transport oxygen around the body. Symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia can include dizziness, weakness, pale skin and feeling next-level knackered.
If you’re diagnosed with anaemia, your doctor may prescribe you iron tablets. But for mild anaemia, you can often boost your iron levels by changing your diet. Here are 10 iron-rich foods that can give you a boost before, during and after your period.
It might not be the first thing you gravitate to on a menu, but a plateful of nutrient-rich liver is a powerhouse of iron. It also contains a high level of vitamin A that helps the body get rid of toxins as well as regulating blood sugar and fat. Try it.
2. Leafy greens
Broccoli, collard greens, kale and the leafy green favourite, spinach, are all rich in iron and minerals and super-easy to slip into your meals every day. Make them a side portion of your main meal or whizz up in a smoothie for a hit of iron. FYI – cooked spinach provides a greater amount of iron than eating it raw.
Also known as pulses, legumes are beans, peas andand are high in iron, calcium, zinc, protein and B vitamins and are a great replacement for red meat. Toss them into a salad or whip up a hearty stew.
They’re usually known for their aphrodisiac properties, but every now and again a sexy serving of fresh oysters (hello holiday food!), can give you an iron boost, too. 85 grams of the slippery stuff can provide more than 30% of your daily iron intake.
Deliciously sweet strawberries have hidden benefits, not only are they a great source of iron, they are rich in vitamin C, helping your body to absorb more of the iron that it needs.
6. Fortified cereals
Choose an iron-fortified cereal to get your morning off to an iron-rich start. Check the labels to find a cereal that contains up to 100% of your recommended daily amount of iron per serving. Job done.
7. Dried apricots
Did you know that those squidgy little dried apricots are an excellent source of iron and nutrients? Keep a stash in your bag to snack on in the day or eat with yoghurt and honey for a healthy desert. Yum.
8. Sesame seeds
Packed with copper, phosphorus, vitamin E, and zinc, sesame seeds are a rich source of iron and are easy to sprinkle onto salads and sandwiches. Just don’t spill the bag, that’s beyond annoying.
9. Brown rice
It’s a smart move to make the simple switch from white to brown rice because brown rice is naturally rich in fibre as well as containing more iron than the white stuff – cook with vitamin C rich foods, such as red and yellow peppers, tomatoes and broccoli to up your iron intake.
Highly versatile but often dismissed as a tad bland, tofu is a mega source of iron but the secret is nailing some tasty recipes to cook it up in. Tofu takes on the taste of the sauces and seasonings it’s combined with so experiment with flavour–rich ingredients and you might learn to love it.