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Food Guide: Foods Rich in Iron

Iron is the most important component in the protein called hemoglobin; it is contained by the red blood cells, which are in charge of carrying oxygen through the body. If you do not have enough iron in your system, the body can develop anemia, a condition which makes you feel exhausted and weak.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following iron ingest: 8 mg per day for men and 18 mg per day for women. The difference between men and women intake is due to women’s monthly cycle. For athletes is essential to have an iron-rich diet since their training is very demanding on their bodies and their muscles need extra oxygen.

To get the daily iron requirement, you can try different foods with high iron content, like:


Oysters and clamps are among the biggest sources of iron; both contain between 24 mg and 10 mg of iron per three ounces, which is the recommended daily intake. You can find these at the seafood market for a fresh and organic approach or buy the canned presentation if you live too far from the sea.

Fortified cereals

These are an excellent choice for breakfast since there is nothing better than starting the day with a good and healthy meal. Let’s be clear, these are not the sugary cereals that kids love; they are natural cereals made from dry fruits, like granola and whole-grain products. You can find them in specialized fitness stores. One cup of one of these cereals alone contains 18 mg of iron.


This food group has one of the highest iron contents, while white beans are the best. One cup contains 8 mg of iron, and the best part is that they are very versatile, you do not have to eat them just as a soup, you can add them to a salad or have them as a cold dish with pasta or a stew.

Dark chocolate

The benefits of chocolate are many, but especially the dark version, since it is low in sugar and high in cacao. One small bar contains 7 mg of iron. Besides, it gives you energy if you eat it first thing in the morning and can also help with food anxiety in the afternoon.

Organ meats

People usually discard organ meats and considers them to be disgusting, but they are actually a great source of nutrients, iron being one of the main ones. For example, 3 oz of beef liver contains up to 5 mg of iron.


The king of the vegetarian diet, but as a meat lover, you can add soybeans to salads or make a recipe with rice and other veggies because a ½ cup of this legume contributes 4.4 mg of iron to your body.


A ½ cup has 3 mg of iron. Like beans, they are versatile and work perfectly with other grains like garbanzo; you can even prepare a lentil burger!

The iron requirements vary by age and gender, but you must know how much you will need by visiting a doctor, especially if you are an athlete burning tons of calories training daily. You can increase your iron intake with these recommended foods and change your diet. Remember to be creative and try out new recipes.

How to have proper nutrition for playing sports
Hemoglobin is an essential protein inside red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to different parts of the body.

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