Top 8 Vegetables High in Iron – Boost Health at the Cellular Level

Have you ever wondered how your body receives oxygen? While you may know your blood is responsible for delivering oxygen throughout your body, did you know iron plays a direct role in the efficiency and quality of this vital delivery system. Therefore, if you’re deficient in this essential mineral, your entire body is negatively affected. Although you can ensure proper iron intake through supplementation, many health and wellness experts suggest obtaining the recommended 18 milligrams of iron through food sources. There are many foods with an iron concentration; however, the following eight vegetables feature the highest iron concentrations for full-body health.

How The Following Vegetables Were Chosen

This list was not created at random. Upon review of several nutritional databases, we’ve gathered vegetables with not only the highest iron concentrations but also those with significant concentrations of essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

How to Interpret the List

All measurements are based upon 1 cup of the vegetable. Below each nutrient is the daily value percentage you’ll receive upon consuming 1 cup of the food. Therefore, it’s possible to adjust your intake by eating more or less than the measurement baseline.

THE TOP 8 VEGETABLES HIGH IN IRON


1. SPIRULINA SEAWEED

chuka-seaweed-20150819003537

  • Iron 31.92 milligrams
  • Protein 64.37 grams. Daily Value – 128.74%
  • Carbohydrate 26.77 grams. Daily Value – 9%
  • Fiber 4 grams. Daily Value – 16%
  • Sugars 3.47 grams. Daily Value – 4%
  • Calcium 134 milligrams. Daily Value 13.4%
  • Potassium 1572 milligrams. Daily Value – 45%
  • Folate 105 micrograms. Daily Value – 26.25%
  • Vitamin C 11.3 milligrams. Daily Value – 19%

Health Benefits of Spirulina Seaweed

Considered a “super food” by health and wellness experts, spirulina grows is fresh, warm water and, as you can see, features a high nutritional content. According to several studies, the contents in spirulina have been shown to encourage the development of healthy gut flora (bacteria), which has been shown to reduce the formation of candida or yeast. Other benefits include boosting the immune system in those who suffer from an autoimmune disease, such as Chrohn’s disease and HIV. Perhaps one of the most celebrated uses of spirulina is its ability to reduce the severity of seasonal allergies.

It’s believed spirulina seaweed supports:

Healthy Brain Function A study published in the Journal of Experimental Neurology found spirulina significantly reduced the brain damage while supporting the rejuvenation of brain neurons following a stroke.

Reduce Allergy Symptoms Spirulina may work to reduce the severity of allergy symptoms by slowing or inhibiting the release of histamines, which are responsible for common allergy symptoms, such as watery eyes, hives and runny nose. A recent study found consuming two grams of spirulina significantly reduced runny noses in those with allergies.

Liver Protection While not fully confirmed, preliminary studies found the active compounds in spirulina may protect the liver from damage due to chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis. Further studies are required to determine the full efficiency of spirulina for this purpose.


2. MOREL MUSHROOMS

morel-mushrooms

Iron 8.04 milligrams

Daily Value – 44.6%

Potassium 271 milligrams
Daily Value – 7.8%

Protein 2.06 grams
Daily Value – 4.12%

Carbohydrate 3.37 grams
Daily Value – 1.12%

Fiber 1.8 grams
Daily Value – 7.2%

Folate 6 micrograms
Daily Value – 1.5%

Health Benefits of Morel Mushrooms 

Considered a true delicacy by many cultures, morel mushrooms not only provide a luxurious texture to culinary dishes, but its high concentration of iron, vitamin D and antioxidants make it an excellent medicinal food source. Its potent antioxidant compounds have been found to slow or completely inhibit lipid peroxidation, which is a unique biological process where tissue damage often results in chronic inflammation and ultimately cancer. Along with its high nutrient count, morel mushrooms features a polysaccharide known as galactomannan. Its high concentration (roughly 2 percent of a dry mushroom) enhanced macrophage activity, which directly supports your immune system by adapting its function due to exposure to viruses and other harmful compounds.


3. SPINACH

spinach-leaves (1)Iron 6.43 milligrams
Daily Value – 35.8%

Potassium 839 milligrams
Daily Value – 24%

Protein 5.35 grams
Daily Value – 10.7%

Carbohydrate – 6.75 grams

Daily Value – 2.25%

Fiber 4.3 grams
Daily Value – 17.2%

Calcium 245 milligrams
Daily Value – 24.5%

Folate 263 micrograms
Daily Value – 65.75%

Vitamin C 17.6 milligrams
Daily Value – 29%

Health Benefits of Spinach

Spinach is among the most common vegetables found on tables throughout the United States, and while many have a vague understanding of its importance, few truly understand true health benefits of this nutritionally dense vegetable. Packed with a myriad of vitamins, minerals and various phytonutrients, spinach provides your body with almost every nutrient needed to live healthy. Three of its most celebrated benefits include:

Cardiovascular System Support With its high concentrations of vitamins C and A, spinach introduces a high concentration of antioxidants, which works to combat the harmful effects of free radicals while simultaneously preventing cholesterol from succumbing to the effects of oxidation.

Digestive Health Its antioxidant concentration – specifically vitamin C and beta-carotene – directly prevent damage to the colon from free radicals.

Anti-Inflammatory Support The various nutrients within spinach are considered to hold potent anti-inflammatory properties, which many alternative medicine practitioners believe reduces the severity of inflammatory-based conditions, such as migraines, asthma, osteoporosis and arthritis.


4. JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES

jerusalem-artichokeIron 5.10 milligrams
Daily Value – 28%

Potassium 644 milligrams
Daily Value – 18.4%

Carbohydrates 26.16 grams
Daily Value – 8.72%

Protein 3 grams
Daily Value – 6%

Fiber 2.4 grams
Daily Value – 9.6%

Sugars 14.40 grams
Daily Value – 16%

Health Benefits of Jerusalem Artichokes

Not to be confused with the common artichoke, also known as a globe artichoke, Jerusalem artichokes is a root vegetables belonging to the sunflower family. Its starchy flavor is common in Mediterranean cuisine and features a high concentration of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Its high fiber concentration makes it an ideal vegetable to promote digestive health while its antioxidant count, found within its vitamin C and A concentration, help prevent illnesses and chronic conditions due to oxidization damage caused by free radicals. Since its iron, potassium and copper concentrations are relatively high, many health experts suggest this vegetable to promote healthy blood pressure and heart rate.


5. HEARTS OF PALM

2728399149_abf78b2e38_zPhoto credit

Iron 4.57 milligrams
Daily Value – 25%

Potassium 258 milligrams
Daily Value – 7%

Protein 3.68 grams
Daily Value – 7.38%

Carbohydrates 6.75 grams
Daily Value – 2.25%

Fiber 3.5 grams
Daily Value – 14%

Folate 57 micrograms
Daily Value – 14.25%

Vitamin C 11.5 milligrams
Daily Value – 20%

Health Benefits of Hearts of Palm 

Derived from the inner portion of a palm tree bud, heart of palm is a highly nutritious vegetable available at most grocery stores throughout the United States. Due to its high iron concentration, this vegetable is commonly recommended for those who are either anemic or borderline iron deficient; however, this is not the only benefit of this veggie. With a high fiber concentration, hearts of palm is capable of treating the lining of your colon, which significantly reduces the likelihood of constipation and hemorrhoids.


6. CURRANTS

red-currantIron 4.69 milligrams
Daily Value – 26%

Potassium 1284 milligrams
Daily Value – 37%

Protein 5.88 grams
Daily Value – 11.76%

Carbohydrates 106.68 grams
Daily Value – 36%

Fiber 9.8 grams
Daily Value – 39.2%

Sugars 96.88 grams
Daily Value – 108%

Calcium 124 milligrams
Daily Value – 12.4%

Vitamin C 6.8 milligrams
Daily Value – 11%

Health Benefits of Currants

The believed health benefits of currants is just as varied as its culinary uses. According to information outlined by Web MD, currants may be used to help reduce the severity of menopause and PMS while also significantly boosting your immune system. Although its nutrient-dense profile provides much of its health-boosting properties, research has found a unique compound known as gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA, may be the primary constituent for its immune system support and antioxidant abilities.


7. SUN-DRIED TOMATOES

italian-sun-dried-tomatoesIron 4.91 milligrams
Daily Value – 27.2%

Potassium 1851 milligrams
Daily Value – 53%

Protein 7.62 grams
Daily Value – 15.24%

Carbohydrates 30.11 grams
Daily Value – 10.03%

Fiber 6.6 grams
Daily Value – 26.4%

Sugars 20.30 grams
Daily Value – 23%

Vitamin C 21.2 milligrams
Daily Value – 35%

Folate 37 micrograms
Daily Value – 9.25%

Health Benefits of Sun-Dried Tomatoes 

Perhaps one of the most substantial benefits of sundried tomatoes (when compared to their raw counterpart) is its lycopene concentration, which is roughly 20 times greater than traditional tomatoes. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant capable of lowering your risk of developing certain types of cancers. Along with the extra antioxidant boost this vegetable provides, its high concentration of vitamins C and K help support a host of bodily functions while its iron concentration is ideal for those with low iron.


8. LEMON GRASS (CITRONELLA)

lemon-grassIron 4.91 milligrams
Daily Value – 27.2%

Potassium 1851 milligrams
Daily Value – 53%

Protein 7.62 grams
Daily Value – 15.24%

Carbohydrates 30.11 grams
Daily Value – 10%

Fiber 6.6 grams
Daily Value – 26.4%

Sugars 20.30 grams
Daily Value – 23% 

Vitamin C 21.2 milligrams
Daily Value – 35.3%

Folate 37 micrograms
Daily Value – 9.25%

Health Benefits of Lemon Grass (Citronella)

Lemon grass, or citronella, has many different uses. While you may be more familiar with this vegetable as an essential oil found in many lotions, soaps and candles, it’s plant-based form offers a host of proposed benefits. Through its nutrient-dense profile, lemon grass is believed to help reduce the severity of various stomach disorders, fevers, respiratory system disorders and various inflammation-based diseases. However, its powerful antibiotic properties are among its most celebrated uses. Preliminary research suggests lemon grass may help fight off the potentially deadlyStaphylococcus aureus bacterial strain. When consumed, it promotes heart health by regulating cholesterol levels and supporting whole body health through its immunity benefits.


Blood Health and Beyond The Importance of Iron

If you’ve ever had a physical, you’ve likely had your iron levels checked. As mentioned earlier, the presence of iron within your body is imperative for the production of hemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout your body. However, this is only one of the many uses of iron within your body.

This unique mineral not only supports the transportation of oxygen but directly influences the utilization of this oxygen by cells and tissue. Therefore, if your iron intake and absorption is low, your ability to utilize freshly delivered oxygen is significantly impaired. Iron is among the most essential minerals for neural development. Those who are deficient in iron typically feature signs and symptoms of neural impairment, which is a significant issue for the older population. If you wish to keep your brain fully functioning, then you must sustain proper iron intake.

One of the most important elements regarding iron is not how much you should consume, but what factors influence a deficient state. According to the University of California Department of Nutrition, there are several causes of iron deficiency:

  • A diet low in this mineral or a diet filled with iron in forms that are unable to be properly absorbed.
  • Low body iron stores due to rapid bodily growth, which is relatively common in young children.
  • Rapid blood loss due to injury; however, menstruation and pregnant women are at an increased risk of iron deficiency from blood loss.
  • Excessive calcium intake, which inhibits the absorption of iron if both minerals are consumed at the same time.

There are two types of dietary iron: heme and non-heme. Heme iron is primarily found in animal food sources, such as red meat, poultry and fish. This form of iron is easier to absorb and is typically found in greater concentrations. Non-heme iron consists of roughly 85 percent of the iron consumed in the average American diet and is primarily found in vegetable sources. However, due to its wide availability and high concentrations, many are able to satisfy the daily intake requirements through non-heme iron sources.

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