Around this time last year, I fell sick. I started having headaches, laziness and breathing problems. Upon the advice of my doctor, I had a simple blood test done and it turned out that I was anemic. Iron Deficiency Anemia is a very common problem, especially in women and children. It happens when your body goes low on iron and cannot make enough red blood cells to keep you perky and alert. (That is all the biology you’ll ever get from me.)
It was almost impossible for me to swallow iron supplements everyday. You don’t have to take them as long as you make up for all the lost iron by eating natural high-in-iron foods. These are the meats, fruits and vegetables that my doctor suggested and my mother insisted I eat. And here are my favorite five high-in-iron recipes that you’ll love eating.
1. Grilled Turmeric Chicken Liver:
I tried a few types of livers last year and chicken liver was the only one I found bearable. It is not chewy if cooked properly, it doesn’t smell and according to WeightLossForAll.com, one serving of liver contains 9 mg of iron, which is excellent!
Take about 1/2 cup of liver, washed and cleaned. Slice it up if you like or keep it whole. Marinate it in 2 tbsp yogurt, 1/4 tsp salt, red chili powder and turmeric each and a pinch of cumin seeds. Fry for 3 minutes on each side in a grilling pan or a frying pan over medium heat. It should be crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. The turmeric just adds more iron to the liver. IronRichFood.org says 1 tsp of turmeric contains 2 mg of iron.
2. Tuna and Egg Sandwich:
If you’re anemic, your doctor might have suggested that you eat fish, at least once a week. I know for a fact that you can find canned tuna anywhere in the world. Besides being delicious, it high in iron and so are egg yolks. Like all other sandwiches, this is very easy to make.
Take two slices of brown bread (iron? check! one slice = 0.9 mg). Spread some canned tuna on a slice, top with a boiled sliced egg (iron? check, check! one egg = 0.43 mg) and some salad leaves (more iron? check, check, check!) of your choice. Close the sandwich and eat up! Delicious!
3. Kidney Bean Salad:
We make this salad quite often for lunch. I am trying to find a picture of it in my computer but I can’t seem to. All types of beans are high in iron, red beans or kidney beans specifically contain 1.6 mg of iron in every half cup. You will need:
a cup of red beans, (boiled)
a cup macaroni (cooked and drained)
1/4 cup of green capsicum (chopped)
1/4 cup of tomatoes (de-seeded and chopped)
1/4 cup of onion (chopped)
garlic paste (1 tsp)
3 tsp olive oil + 1 for frying
1 tbsp of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
In a pan, heat up a tbsp of olive oil. saute the garlic paste, throw in the onions, stir, add the green capsicum, stir more, add the tomato, stir a little more and set aside. In a bowl mix macaroni, beans, and sauteed vegetables. In a smaller bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour over salad and eat. If you want you can top the salad with some boiled eggs.
4. Whole Wheat Cereal with Fruit:
This is the ideal high iron breakfast. It is not a recipe rather a suggestion. Go buy a pack of good quality, whole wheat cereal. Read the labels and see the iron content. The new Kellogg’s Special K cereal is a good choice. I don’t know how fat free this is but it is rich in iron!
According to the side labels, every 100 g of this contains 11.3 mg of iron. Have it with some cold milk and some diced apples and bananas (they also contain good iron content).
5. Garlic Sauteed Spinach and Green Beans:
This recipe is the richest of all. I love, love, love spinach in garlic. I can never say it enough. It is SO good. You need your greens for iron and a cup of cooked spinach contains approximately 3.5 mg of it. A cup of boiled green beans contain 1.6 mg of iron. Excellent!
Boil half a cup of green beans in salted water for 5 minutes. Drain. Take a fat bunch of fresh baby spinach, wash. Saute 1/2 tsp of chopped garlic in a tsp of oil. Throw in the spinach and just when it starts to wilt, add the cooked green beans, a pinch of salt and pepper. Shake a little and its done. Pour over some lemon juice and if you like, some grilled cottage cheese chunks. The flavors are absolutely divine.
That’s it. I hope this post was helpful. If you want to know more about high-in-iron foods, read: Top 10 Real Food Sources of Iron: Superfoods to Build Muscle by thedailygreen.com. Thank you for reading!