Iron is one of the body’s essential elements and can be found in the myoglobin of muscle cells and also in the hemoglobin of red blood cells.
Myoglobin is a heme-containing protein which is involved in the storage and transport of oxygen to the working muscles, while hemoglobin, found at the center of red blood cells, plays a vital role in oxygen transportation throughout the body.
This mineral plays an important role in the development of the brain and this is the main reason pregnant moms are guided to increase their consumption of iron-rich foods. It also plays a role in regulating body temperature.
Moreover, it improves the quality of sleep and sleeping habits by regulating the circadian rhythms and is also useful in treating insomnia.
Iron deficiency anemia is the most frequent nutritional disorder around the world, according to the WHO.
More importantly, this type of anemia is estimated to affect two billion individuals worldwide and is believed to be a high-risk factor for different disorders.
During pregnancy, this condition increases the risk for the newborn being underweight and for a premature birth. In addition, menstruating women who don’t eat foods rich in this mineral are at high risk of deficiency. Symptoms of anemia include:
- irritability, fatigue, headaches, and dizziness;
- chest pain;
- shortness of breath;
- brittle nails and pale skin;
- fast heartbeat;
- unusual cold hands and feet;
- reduced appetite.
Note – consuming too much of this mineral may have adverse effects on children under three years of age and people with a hereditary metabolic disorder, named hemochromatosis.
Here is a list of best nuts with the highest iron content:
Peanuts, also named groundnuts, actually belong to the legume family and are a good source of fat, dietary protein, and other essential nutrients. They grow underground, as opposed to nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts, which grow on trees.
Consuming peanuts regularly lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes Mellitus, certain cancers, and heart disease.
Macadamia nuts are an important source of protein, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B9 (folate), and niacin. One oz. of macadamia nuts also contains around 2.3 grams of dietary fiber.
Moreover, macadamia nuts are a storehouse of healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) that are known to be cardioprotective by helping to clean the arteries and to lower the LDL cholesterol level.
The cashew tree is a tropical evergreen tree which produces the cashew apple and the cashew nut. Cashews have been used in natural medicine systems for millennia to heal numerous disorder, plus, cashews are a good source of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Daily consumption of cashews can considerably lower the risk of developing gallstones.
Pine nuts are the seeds of pine trees and are packed with lutein and beta-carotene, both of which are known to improve eyes health.
Additionally, they are an important source of the B-complex group of vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, niacin, folate, and pyridoxine.
Hazelnuts, also known as filberts, can be enjoyed roasted, raw, in a paste or as an ingredient in many healthy dishes.
Furthermore, hazelnuts are an excellent source of vitamins, dietary fiber, minerals, and other nutritious phytochemicals.
Almonds have key nutrients to heart health, including magnesium, arginine, manganese, copper, potassium, and calcium.
They are a good source of antioxidants which help to defend against oxidative stress, that can lead to premature aging and diseases such as cancer, also causing a damage to the molecules in cells.
The minerals, vitamins, unsaturated fats, protein, and dietary fiber found in pistachios are all very important for your health.
For instance, they contain 60 percent of the daily required phosphorous, a mineral that can prevent diabetes.
The polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids found in walnuts have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. Moreover, walnuts contain considerable amounts of alpha lipoic acid.
Pecans are probably the most popular edible nuts native to Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Pecans contain essential nutrients, like – antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins which improve your health.
Brazil nuts are the densest food source of selenium, an essential mineral which acts as an antioxidant and has many important roles in our body. They are also great for inflammatory problems in the physical body.
Chestnuts are popular edible nuts of the northern hemisphere origin and have considerable nutritional value.
Other iron-rich plant foods:
- Vegetables – spinach, asparagus, beet greens, potatoes, and kale.
- Legumes – chickpeas, soybeans, red kidney beans, lentils, white beans, and lima beans.
- Seeds – pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds.
- Dried fruits – apricots, prunes, and raisins.
- Grains – rice, millet, barley, oat bran, oatmeal, buckwheat.
- Blackstrap molasses.
Coffee, tea (due to tannins), wine, prolonged use of antacids, and chronic diarrhea can negatively influence iron absorption. More importantly, eggs and dairy products (due to the certain forms of calcium and casein content from milk), such as – cheese (all types), yogurt, and milk also interfere with the absorption of this mineral.
However, foods high in vitamin C, like tomatoes, kale, oranges, grapefruits, kiwis, guava, berries, and broccoli, can improve the absorption of iron.