You may pump iron at the gym a few times a week, but your body pumps it continuously through the bloodstream every day. Iron is an essential mineral that can be found in our foods and is needed to make hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a part of the red blood cell that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Then, it picks up carbon dioxide and drives it back to the lungs where it is exhaled.

There are 2 kinds of iron – heme and non-heme.

The body absorbs heme iron more easily.  It is found in animal products like:

  • Lean beef
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Lean pork
  • Fish

Heme iron also helps the body absorb non-heme iron more easily.  Try one of these iron-rich recipes from registered dietitians.

Non-heme iron is found in plant foods. Although the body absorbs less of the iron in plants, every bite counts, and adding a source of vitamin C will enhance iron absorption. Some sources of vitamin C include strawberries, cantaloupe, oranges and orange juice, broccoli, bell peppers and potatoes, to vegetarian sources of iron will enhance absorption.

Some of the best plant sources of iron are:

Looking for iron-rich plant based recipes? Try these recipes that already include vitamin C for more efficient iron absorption.

To prevent iron deficiency, eat a balanced, healthy diet that includes good sources of iron. Avoid drinking tea or coffee with meals. These decrease absorption of iron.

What are your favourite sources of iron? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to download Luvo’s 7-day meal and fitness plan for more nutrition tips and recipes.

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