Are you up on iron?
Iron is an essential mineral—it supports your metabolism, and it’s a primary component of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells. If you don’t get enough, you can develop anemia, which can lead to fatigue, nausea, and heart troubles. This is why doctors often prescribe supplements to pregnant women, women with heavy periods, infants, children, vegetarians, frequent blood donors, and people with gastrointestinal diseases or some cancers. For nearly everyone else, eating a well-balanced diet that includes meat will keep you up to par. Daily requirements vary depending on age and gender, according to the USDA’s Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Men need 8 mg; women need 18 mg; pregnant women need 27 mg. Just remember that too much iron can be dangerous; the upper limits for people over 14 years of age is 45 mg. Excess iron causes minor symptoms such as nausea and can lead to organ damage, so always check with your doctor before starting supplements. If you don’t think you’re getting enough of the following iron-rich foods, be sure to check if you may be having these silent signs of iron deficiency.
While not a popular dinner entrée these days, liver is one of the best sources of iron. A 4-ounce slice provides a whopping 7 mg of iron. Packed with protein, vitamins A and B12 (among a slew of others), liver is also high in cholesterol. But you probably won’t eat enough for that to be a concern.