5 Meals to Replenish Your Iron Stores

Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies for everyone. If you’re experiencing iron deficiency it is important to adapt your diet in order to maintain and replenish your iron stores. Please keep in mind that getting a proper diet is NOT enough if you present really low stores of iron or anemia. In those case, you’ll need to reach out to your doctor to get the proper supplementation.

Why Might Your Iron Stores Be Low?

You can experience iron deficiency through multiple mechanisms. The most common is simply a lack of daily iron intake. You are particularly at risk if you’re following a restrictive diet (vegetarian, weight loss, paleo, etc.), if you’re naturally inclined to not eat a lot, or if you do not have a very balanced diet. This last point is particularly important for children as they are pretty often touched by iron deficiencies. Other possible reasons of iron deficiency can be excessive menstruations, digestive disorders, or inflammatory intestinal disease.

Low iron stores can be detected by a number of physiological signs. Some of the signs that you’re body might experience low iron stores include but are not limited to:

  • General physical fatigue
  • High tendency to get sick and slow recovery from diseases
  • Difficulty to focus and/or mood swing
  • Restless leg syndrome – an unpleasant feeling in your leg giving you the urge to move them (often experienced at night)
  • Insomnia
  • Hair loss

Even iron deficiency can present some signs, if you have any doubts then head for a biological analysis to evaluate your ferritin levels. If you discover a deficit then it is important to talk with your practitioner to identify the causes and correct them in a specific manner. In any case, it will also be important to complement this deficit by an increase in your iron intake.

What Are the Best Foods to Replenish Your Iron Stores?

If experiencing a nutritional imbalance, you can replenish your iron stores with diverse type of foods. It is important to know that 2 kind of irons exists (heme and non-heme iron) with different properties.

  • Heme Iron

This will be find in animal sources and is the type of iron having the best bioavailability in your body. This means that your body will assimilate it better than non-heme iron. In general, meats will be your primary source of heme iron but fish and eggs can also constitute great sources of heme iron.

  • Non-Heme Iron

Found in plants and enriched foods, non-heme iron has a lower bioavailability than heme iron (from half to 5x less depending of your iron stores level). Dry legumes are one of the best source of non-heme iron. It is important to note that non-heme iron absorption by your body can be greatly impacted by other components. For example, vitamin C can greatly boost non-heme iron absorption while phytates will inhibit it.

Iron is essential to your good health but there is one main thing to worry about when trying to boost your iron levels: Iron plays an important role in oxidative reactions. An increase in iron intake will in turn show an increase free radicals. This is why you should systematically combine an iron rich alimentation with anti-oxidant foods to counteract this effect.

Now that we’ve spoke a bit about iron, let’s see 5 delicious meals that will help you boost your iron stores! And as always, don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you have any question or comment on this topic 🙂

The Iron Supercharge

A superb way to supercharge your iron stores. Get plenty of heme iron from your steak as well as non-heme iron from your green beans. Your non-heme iron will be boosted by the high vitamin C content of the lemon and cherry tomatoes and you'll benefit from the antioxidant effect of those foods. Tasty, easy and highly effective!

Prep Time15 minsCook Time15 minsTotal Time30 mins
 3 scallions
 6 oz green beans
 1 cup cherry tomatoes
 fresh basil
 1 lemon
 2 sirloin steaks

Ingredients

 3 scallions
 6 oz green beans
 1 cup cherry tomatoes
 fresh basil
 1 lemon
 2 sirloin steaks

Directions

1

A superb way to supercharge your iron stores. Get plenty of heme iron from your steak as well as non-heme iron from your green beans. Your non-heme iron will be boosted by the high vitamin C content of the lemon and cherry tomatoes and you'll benefit from the antioxidant effect of those foods. Tasty, easy and highly effective!

Grilled Steak with Blistered Green Beans and Tomatoes

Get the recipe here

The Lean Meat Charger

This dish use cumin to supercharge your food. Yes that's right! You can use spices to get essential nutrient. Thyme and cumin are 2 good sources of iron and will also enhance taste while not adding calories 🙂

Prep Time5 minsCook Time20 minsTotal Time25 mins
 300 g green beans
 6 skinless, boneless chicken tighs (can be replaced by chicken breast if looking for the leanest option)
 1 tsp cumin powder
 2 tsp whole cumin seeds
 1 tsp chilli powder
 2 tsp chilli flakes
 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Ingredients

 300 g green beans
 6 skinless, boneless chicken tighs (can be replaced by chicken breast if looking for the leanest option)
 1 tsp cumin powder
 2 tsp whole cumin seeds
 1 tsp chilli powder
 2 tsp chilli flakes
 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Directions

1

This dish use cumin to supercharge your food. Yes that's right! You can use spices to get essential nutrient. Thyme and cumin are 2 good sources of iron and will also enhance taste while not adding calories 🙂

Spicy Cumin Chicken with Green Beans

Get the recipe here

The Sea Option

A really healthy mix to get plenty of iron as well as potassium and Omega-3. This dish is really easy to make and will definitely seduce all the mussel lovers!

Prep Time5 minsCook Time20 minsTotal Time25 mins
 200 g long whole wheat pasta (like fettuccine, spaghetti or angel hair)
 2 tsp olive oil
  cup diced onion
 1 garlic clove, minced
 1 pinch red pepper flakes
 1 can whole tomatoes, chopped
 ½ cup white wine
 24 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
 3 tbsp parsley, chopped

Ingredients

 200 g long whole wheat pasta (like fettuccine, spaghetti or angel hair)
 2 tsp olive oil
  cup diced onion
 1 garlic clove, minced
 1 pinch red pepper flakes
 1 can whole tomatoes, chopped
 ½ cup white wine
 24 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
 3 tbsp parsley, chopped

Directions

1

A really healthy mix to get plenty of iron as well as potassium and Omega-3. This dish is really easy to make and will definitely seduce all the mussel lovers!

Whole Wheat Pasta with Mussels and Tomato Sauce

Get the recipe here

The Iron Salad

A tasty salad to get your iron intakes with a fresh and tasty plate. Kale is one of the best leafy vegetable when it comes to iron and will also gives you plenty of antioxidants.

Prep Time20 mins
Avocado Kale Salad
 34 leaves of kale torn or chopped finely
 spicy black beans
 corn
 ¼ small avocado
 1 smoked roasted red pepper, chopped
Sweet Lime Cumin Dressing
  Juice of half a lime
 1 tbsp olive oil
 1 tbsp butter, melted
 ¼ tsp honey (or to taste)
 ¼ tsp cumin
 ¼ tsp dried chile pepper
 1 pinch pepper

Ingredients

Avocado Kale Salad
 34 leaves of kale torn or chopped finely
 spicy black beans
 corn
 ¼ small avocado
 1 smoked roasted red pepper, chopped
Sweet Lime Cumin Dressing
  Juice of half a lime
 1 tbsp olive oil
 1 tbsp butter, melted
 ¼ tsp honey (or to taste)
 ¼ tsp cumin
 ¼ tsp dried chile pepper
 1 pinch pepper

Directions

1

A tasty salad to get your iron intakes with a fresh and tasty plate. Kale is one of the best leafy vegetable when it comes to iron and will also gives you plenty of antioxidants.

Avocado Kale Salad with Sweet Lime Cumin Dressing

Get the recipe here

The Green Smoothie

That's not really a meal but this green smoothie will give you plenty of iron while being refreshing and energizing. This smoothie should suit well any green smoothie lover or people looking for a recipe to get started with green smoothies!

Prep Time10 mins
 1 lime, peeled, coarsely chopped
 1 Granny smith apple, peeled, coarsely chopped
 1 cucumber, coarsely chopped
 ½ cup kale, stem trimmed, coarsely chopped
 40 g baby spinach leaves
 1 tsp finely grated ginger
 400 ml coconut water

Ingredients

 1 lime, peeled, coarsely chopped
 1 Granny smith apple, peeled, coarsely chopped
 1 cucumber, coarsely chopped
 ½ cup kale, stem trimmed, coarsely chopped
 40 g baby spinach leaves
 1 tsp finely grated ginger
 400 ml coconut water

Directions

1

That's not really a meal but this green smoothie will give you plenty of iron while being refreshing and energizing. This smoothie should suit well any green smoothie lover or people looking for a recipe to get started with green smoothies!

Kale, Lime and Coconut Water Green Smoothie

Get the recipe here