Which ingredient is highest in iron ?
A. Meat 🍖
B. Spinach 🍃
C. Salmon 🐟
It’s Spinach! 100 grams of spinach contains 1.1 times more iron than the same amount of red meat and 2.2 times more than 100 grams of salmon. This is also 3 times more than 100 grams of boiled eggs and 3.6 times more than the same amount of chicken.
Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard and beet greens contain between 2.5–6.4 mg of iron per cooked cup, or 14–36% of the average recommended daily intake (RDI). But because of their light weight, some people find it difficult to consume 100 grams of raw, leafy greens. In this case, it’s best to eat them cooked.
But why is iron important? It’s an essential nutrient that plays an important role in many bodily functions. A diet lacking in iron can result in low energy levels, shortness of breath, headaches, irritability, dizziness or anemia.
Iron can be found in two forms in foods — heme and non-heme. Heme iron is only found in animal products, whereas non-heme iron is only found in plants.
The recommended daily intake (RDI) is based on an average intake of 18 mg per day. However, individual requirements vary based on a person’s gender and life stage.
And, since non-heme iron tends to be less easily absorbed by our bodies than heme iron, the RDI for vegetarians and vegans is 1.8 times higher than for meat eaters. Though vegetables contain non-heme iron, which is less easily absorbed, they are also generally rich in vitamin C, which helps enhance iron absorption.
📷 Pictured is Mama Mgcina from Masijonge Place of Safety in Nyanga, Cape Town, with kale delivered this week.