Meat is one of the best suppliers of iron. But some plant-based foods also have an actual iron content and therefore do not have to hide behind steak & Co.
Red meat is considered to be THE top supplier of iron. A steak (150 grams) alone provides 3.2 milligrams of the vital trace element we have to ingest daily with our food. Even better: offal. The liver, kidney, and heart of cattle, calves, etc., reach peak values of up to 17 milligrams per 100 grams. Among other things, iron is a component of the red blood pigment hemoglobin and is responsible for oxygen transport in the body. In the muscles, the iron is bound by myoglobin and thus supplies the muscles with oxygen, which is particularly important for athletes. Therefore, it is essential to consume foods high in iron daily.
Foods High In Iron: Vegetable Vs. Animal Sources Of Iron
Iron from animal foods has good bioavailability and can therefore be absorbed by our body three times better than vegetable iron. But plant-based foods also provide a lot of iron. We can’t utilize it quite as well. However, vegetarians and vegans are no more likely to suffer from iron deficiency than meat-eaters. The trick: Always eat vegetable sources of iron and beneficial substances, such as vitamin C, which improves iron absorption. In practice, this means: Drink a glass of orange juice with your vegetable iron supplier (see below) or combine vegetables or fruits rich in vitamin C in the meal. So nobody has to eat a steak or even an offal every day, significantly since consuming too much red meat increases cancer risk.
These Foods Are Purely Plant-Based And Contain More Iron Per Serving Than A Steak:
Iron Supplier: Oatmeal (4.3 mg Per 80 g Serving)
Oat flakes are the ideal grain for athletes because they provide you with essential vitamins, vegetable protein, minerals, and trace elements – such as iron. Oatmeal also contains many carbs, but don’t panic: These are long-chain carbohydrates that are gradually broken down by the body, which means that you stay full longer and are continuously supplied with energy.
Iron Supplier: Kale (3.8 mg Iron Per 200 g Serving)
Of all types of cabbage, kale has the highest iron content and scores with lots of vegetable protein. The fiber also boosts digestion. And the mineral and vitamin composition of kale is also impressive: potassium, calcium, and vitamins from the group of B vitamins, vitamin C, and vitamin E can be found in winter vegetables.
Iron Supplier: Swiss Chard (5.4 mg Per 200 g Serving)
Are you feeling tired? Then you may be iron deficient. To work smoothly, muscles need enough oxygen, which iron carries into the red blood cells and gets into the blood. 100 grams of Swiss chard provide more iron than, for example, 100 grams of beef fillet – which can be absorbed even better by adding vitamin C (for example, with a squirt of lemon juice).
Iron Supplier: Quinoa (4.8 mg Per Serving Of 60 g Raw Weight/Side Dish)
The pseudo-grain quinoa is not only a good supplier of iron (8 milligrams to 100 grams of raw weight), quinoa has several top properties that are important for muscle building: On the one hand, it provides high-quality vegetable protein (twice as much as rice!) . And also contains Plenty of magnesium and lysine: The mineral magnesium has a crucial function in muscle contraction. The amino acid lysine is a significant muscle and protein-building block.
Iron Supplier: Whole Wheat Pasta (5.8 Mg Per Serving Of 150 g Gross Weight)
While pasta is made from durum wheat, semolina is a real carbohydrate bomb that provides quick energy. Still, unfortunately with only a few nutrients, the whole grain variant is healthy: Whole wheat pasta does not contain fewer calories than regular pasta, but whole wheat pasta is ahead when it comes to fiber and protein content. Incidentally, the iron content of whole wheat pasta is more than twice as high as that of ordinary durum wheat pasta, which is why whole wheat noodles are one of the healthy foods with a lot of iron.
Iron Supplier: Millet (4.1 mg Per Serving of 60 g Raw Weight/Side Dish)
Millet has unfortunately been forgotten a little and is currently being replaced by hip quinoa. The healthy, slightly nutty-tasting cereal, which can be served as a side dish like quinoa or rice, doesn’t have to hide: it contains a lot of vegetable protein and numerous minerals and vitamins. So that the iron from the millet can be optimally absorbed, combine the grain with vegetables with a high vitamin C content, such as peppers and types of cabbage, such as broccoli, kale, or kale.
Iron Supplier: Spinach (6.8 mg per 200 g Serving)
Spinach has become known as THE food with an exceptionally high level of iron. Until it came to light that the high salary was based only on a decimal point, the spinach’s appreciation sank enormously. Completely wrongly, because with 3.4 mg iron per 100 g, spinach ranks very high among plant foods with a lot of iron. Unfortunately, spinach also contains (actually healthy) substances that, however, inhibit iron absorption. But since spinach is usually eaten together with other foods, the iron availability increases again, so spinach can also contribute to the iron supply. Spinach is also extremely low in calories (17 calories per 100 grams), fat-free, and provides 3 grams of protein per 100 grams. Spinach also provides Plenty of folic acids, vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Iron Supplier: Pulses 4 to 5 g Per Portion Of 60 g Gross Weight/Side Dish)
Legumes are an excellent source of vegetable iron. In dried form, lentils, kidney or soybeans, white beans, and chickpeas provide an average of 4 to 5 milligrams of iron per 60-gram serving. The catch: The preparation of the dry products is a little more time-consuming because you have to soak them for several hours to make them, then cook and process them. Unfortunately, the respective can counterparts of the representatives mentioned have consistently poorer iron values.
Hook number 2: Legumes contain phytic acid, which inhibits the body’s absorption of iron (and other minerals). But there are other good reasons you should incorporate kidney beans & Co. into your nutrition plan more often: Pulses are real protein grenades with around 20 grams of protein per 100 grams. They also contain little fat but a lot of complex carbohydrates and healthy fiber. This combination of proteins, carbs, and fiber keeps you full for a long time, and the carbohydrates also go into the blood more slowly, which prevents cravings and blood sugar spikes. There are Plenty of vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Conclusion: Cleverly Combine Animal And Vegetable Iron Suppliers
Animal iron from (red) meat can be absorbed and used much better by the body – in principle, none of our vegetable iron suppliers can keep up here, even if they have excellent values. But you can’t eat a steak every day. Anyone who combines plant-based and animal-based foods with a lot of iron in their meals and eats a variety of foods can easily cover their iron needs. Theoretically, this is only around 1 milligram per day. However, we have to invest much more with food every day, as our body can only absorb about 5 to 10 percent of the iron contained in food through the intestines. Therefore, the recommendation for a man’s iron needs per day is around 10 milligrams.
And don’t forget: a glass of orange juice, a splash of lemon juice or vegetables, and fruits rich in vitamin C and rich in fruit acids improve the absorption of vegetable iron. On the other hand, coffee and black tea are a no-go for an iron-rich meal because they inhibit the absorption of iron.