If you frequently feel fatigued or if you think you tire more easily than you should, your diet might be lacking an essential nutrient – iron. Iron is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the United States, especially among women. Keep reading to learn more about the role iron plays in a healthy diet and the top five foods that contain iron.
Where shall we start...
Moroccan Beef Stew
This recipe for Moroccan beef stew includes each of the five iron-rich foods mentioned in the previous section. Not only is it rich in iron, but this tasty stew is a hot and hearty meal the whole family is sure to enjoy. So, what are you waiting for? Give it a try!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ pounds grass-fed sirloin, cut into cubes
- Salt and pepper
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 3 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups beef broth
- ½ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- ½ cup seedless raisins
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Season the beef with salt and pepper then add it to the saucepan.
- Brown the beef on all sides then transfer it to a plate and reheat the saucepan.
- Add the onion, carrot, and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened.
- Stir in the paprika, cumin, and ground cinnamon along with the beef broth.
- Add the olives, raisins, black beans and cilantro.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat and stir in the spinach and beef.
- Simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens then serve hot.
The Nutritional Benefits of Iron
The primary reason iron is so important in a balanced diet is that it helps to transport oxygen throughout the body. This nutrient is a major component in hemoglobin, the substance in your red blood cells that carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of the body. About two-thirds of your body’s iron stores are found in hemoglobin and if you don’t have enough of it, your body won’t be able to make red blood cells and you’ll develop anemia. When your blood is too low in hemoglobin, your organs don’t get the oxygen they need and you are more prone to fatigue.
The Top 5 Iron-Rich Foods
If you suspect that you may be deficient in iron, you can ask your doctor about a blood test to check. The amount of iron you need each day will vary depending on your age, sex, and health status – children need more iron than adults to sustain their growth. If you want to increase your daily iron intake, you could take a nutritional supplement. In many cases, however, natural sources for key nutrients are better for you. So, try to include the following five iron-rich foods in your diet as much as possible:
- Grass-fed beef
- Black beans
There is no need to obsess over your iron intake but if you have a deficiency, you should make a conscious effort to increase your daily intake. To make it easy, we’ve created a delicious recipe that utilizes the top five iron-rich foods mentioned here.
Doesn’t that sound easy? If you’re looking for a simple way to boost your iron intake, give this Moroccan beef stew a try – you’re sure to love it!
Megan is a freelance writer who loves to share recipes and write about women’s health and beauty.