Iron is an essential mineral that has numerous important functions in the body. The main function of iron is to carry oxygen throughout your body as a part of red blood cells. This mineral is important to the functioning of the hemoglobin, a protein that helps to transport oxygen in the blood.
Eating healthy food involves eating foods with the right nutrients and minerals. Some minerals like iron are not produced by the body and must be taken daily in the form of food. The Daily Value (DV) of iron is 18 mg.
An important reason why you should take enough iron-rich foods daily is to prevent iron deficiency anaemia.
iron-deficiency anemia is caused by insufficient iron in the body. When there is not enough iron, your body can’t produce enough hemoglobin, which as I said, is a substance in the red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen. As a result, iron deficiency anemia may leave you tired, fatigued, and short of breath. Menstruating women are particularly required to eat foods that are rich in iron because they are at a high risk of deficiency. Pregnant women are also required to eat a lot of iron-rich foods.
Fortunately, there are loads of good food that are packed with iron and can satisfy your daily iron needs. However, since we are Nigeria’s best health blog, we will focus on the Nigerian foods that are rich in iron.
Beans are one of the legumes that are loaded with so many nutrients. They contain a huge amount of iron. In fact, 100 grams serving of beans contains 5.1 mg of iron, which is about 28% of the Daily Value. Beans are readily available and widely sold in Nigeria. It also one of the best Nigerian foods for weight loss.
2. Vegetable Soup
Vegetable soup or edikang ikong is one the most popular soups in Nigeria. It is made of mostly fluted pumpkin leaves and many other healthy ingredients. Fluted pumpkin leaves and seeds are extremely high in iron.
Millets are naturally rich in iron; they even contain higher amounts of iron than that found in spinach and chicken. Many Nigerian foods that are made out of millet include akamu, fura da nono, and kunu drink.
4. Red meat and chicken
Most meats are highly packed with iron. 100 gram serving of beef contains 2.7 mg of iron, which is 15% of the Daily Value. While 100 grams of chicken contains 1.3 mg of iron. Turkey meat is also rich in iron. Furthermore, organ meats such as liver are tremendously packed with iron.
5. Fish and sardines
Fish is a highly nutritious food. It contains a lot of important nutrients and is equally low in calories. Sardines are particularly high in iron. In fact, 85 grams of sardines contains 2.4mg of iron
Fish is also rich in with omega-3 fatty acids, which are a type of heart-healthy fat that are link with a plethora of health benefits.
6. Cashew nuts
Cashew nuts are known to contain a good amount of iron. It would interest you to know that 100 grams of cashews has around 6.7 mg of iron. Other nuts like walnuts, tiger nuts, and dates (dabino) also have a decent amount of iron.
Potatoes, especially baked potatoes, are a rich source of iron and can help fight anaemia.
8. Bitter leaf soup
Vernonia amygdalina (Bitter leaf) is widely used in many homes in Nigeria as a vegetable for preparing bitter leaf soup. It is known locally as ewuro (Yoruba), etidot (Efik), onugbu (Igbo), ityuna (Tiv), and oriwo (Edo). A 2006 study found out that bitter leaves contain a high amount of iron. Other dark leafy green vegetables like spinach also contain plenty of iron.
9. Brown rice
Rice is arguably the most consumed food in Nigeria. However, brown rice contains more iron compared to white rice. Ofada rice is a type of local rice found in Nigeria, and rich in iron.
Semolina is a coarse flour that is made from a hard type of wheat, known as durum wheat. Semolina is an excellent source of iron with 100 grams of uncooked, enriched semolina containing 4.4 mg of iron, which is 13% of the DV for this nutrient. Semolina is a popular swallow in Nigeria, and you can learn more about the health benefits of semolina.
Iron is a crucial nutrient that the body requires. There are so many Nigerian foods that are rich in iron, whether plant sources or animal sources. Make sure you eat foods that contain iron daily, so you can be healthy and boost your blood circulation.