Tips to Increase Your Iron Intake and Avoid Anemia

Spinach is high in iron, making it a perfect anemia-fighting addition to your diet. (Photo: Rebecca Siegel)

Spinach is high in iron, making it a perfect anemia-fighting addition to your diet. (Photo: Rebecca Siegel)

The lack of awareness and knowledge of anemia and its connection to diet may contribute to its being so common among South Asians.

Red bloods cells are vital to the body since they carry oxygen to tissue from the lungs. In people who have anemia, or iron deficiency, the body does not produce enough red blood cells. As a result of this deficiency, people can experience shortness of breath, headaches, hair breakage, brittle nails, and other mental and physical weaknesses.

In order to prevent and help treat iron deficiency, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends eating foods that have sufficient iron, vitamin B-12, and folate contents.

Some great sources of iron are:

  1. Leafy Greens. aving spinach, broccoli, collard greens, kale, and other leafy greens provides essential vitamins and minerals, especially iron. Simply having a cup of spinach can give you your 35% of daily intake of iron.
  2. Liver. Part of a calf’s, pork, or chicken liver can give you between 16-85% of the daily recommended intake of iron. Even though the liver is used to filter toxins in your body, having liver from an organic animal is a safe way to up your iron intake while avoiding pollutants.
  3. Beans. White Beans, lentils, black beans, dried peas, kidney beans, chick peas and other members of the bean family can provide more than 20% of the daily iron recommended.

Ready to improve your diet? Here’s a great iron-rich recipe you can try:

Spinach Vegetable Curry

Ingredients

  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ cup curd
  • 3 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • ½ cup carrots
  • ½ cup cauliflower
  • ½ cup green peas
  • ½ cup of corn

Preparation

  1. Cut spinach leaves into fine pieces and wash thoroughly. Boil spinach for 10 minutes in half cup of water. Cool spinach to room temperature, then blend with green chilies.
  2. Chop carrots, cauliflower, green peas, and corn into small pieces and fry in pan with one teaspoon oil for one minute, and cook for two minutes with the lid on.
  3. Fry mustard seeds, onions, garlic paste, and salt in two teaspoons of oil until mix is golden brown. Sprinkle in red chili powder and coriander powder.
  4. Add the fried vegetables and cook for 5 minutes. Then mix spinach into the curry. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. After cooking vegetables, add curd into the mix and cook for a few more minutes.
  6. Serve with rice, paratha, or naan.

Recipe adapted from: http://www.easy-indian-cooking.com

Munia Islam is a contributing food writer at Divanee.com.

@munsi13