by Marissa Lippert, R.D. Men’s Fitness
Working out a lot? These high-iron foods will help keep your energy up—and your immune system strong. These high-iron foods will help you reach your daily needs.
Eat iron. Pump iron. Repeat. It’s a mineral that carries oxygen from your red blood cells to your tissues and muscles, meaning it’s kind of essential to daily functioning and overall health—especially if you’re working out.
As a man, you want to shoot for 8 mg per day, which is fairly easy to get. Heme iron (found in animal protein sources) is generally a bit better absorbed than non-heme iron (found in plant sources), but even if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you can still hit your goal. Promise. And that, in turn, will help keep your energy up and your immune system strong.
So, whether you’re a meat lover or a fan of all things green and grainy, you’ll find an iron source for you in the options ahead. Pro tip: Pair each iron-packed food with a food rich in Vitamin C , like citrus, bell peppers and broccoli. It’ll help your body better absorb this precious mineral. (You’re welcome.)
1 cup of cooked edamame has 48% of your daily value
Those little green pods are much more than just a starter when you order sushi. Packed with protein and iron, these tiny suckers are a great snack or addition to a salad, side dish or stir-fry. Toss 1 cup of steamed edamame pods with sea salt, chili powder and lemon zest.
1 packet of instant plain oatmeal is typically fortified with iron and contains 61% of your daily value
Now your morning oatmeal is even more enticing. Power up for the day with a warm bowl and pop some banana slices and walnuts in for an extra-satisfying iron-rich breakfast.
3 oz. of chicken liver contains 61% of your daily value
OK, understood that the thought of eating liver to get a daily dose of iron is less than appealing. But this does give you more incentive to occasionally indulge in chicken liver pate. Don’t cringe, it’s a delicacy. Embrace the foodie inside you.
3 oz. of oysters contain 32% of your daily value
Figured you’d probably like that as a follow up to liver. Anyway, order a half-dozen oysters for an iron-rich appetizer when you’re dining out, or prepare them easily at home topped with a light sauce of 1 tablespoon melted butter, juice of 1/2 lemon juice, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 teaspoon minced chives or parsley and ¼ cup of whole wheat breadcrumbs. Just broil ‘em for 6 to 8 minutes until golden brown.
1 cup of kidney beans has 29% of your daily value
The options are endless. Add kidney beans into salads, soups, stews, chilis (vegetarian or meat-heavy), work them into bean dips when you’re having friends over for footballs. Not only will you reap some iron, you’ll also get a nice dose of fiber to keep you energized and full
Eat iron. Pump iron. Repeat.