Aside from weight loss one of the tenets of the keto diet is to keep you healthy. And while keeping track of your macros is an important task while you’re on keto, it is also equally important to check if you’re eating food that has enough micronutrients that are vital for the body to properly function.
One important micronutrient that we should have adequate amounts of is iron.
But what is iron and why is it important to the body? What are the foods that are rich in iron that you can eat while on keto?
Here’s what we found out.
Iron and why it’s important
An important mineral, iron’s main function in the body is to help in blood transportation throughout the body. It helps the body in producing and is actually incorporated in hemoglobin which plays a vital role in the circulatory system.
There are two types of them: heme (non-plant based) non-heme (plant-based).
Making sure you have enough iron and are eating enough iron-rich foods is important to keep your body healthy and to help it function properly. Iron is important even if you’re not on keto and deficiencies in iron may actually cause anemia.
Where to get iron while on keto
Now that we know what iron is we can now delve deeper into actually knowing the food that is not only high in iron but is also low-carb so we can incorporate them into our diet.
Here are some foods you can eat to help up your iron intake.
- Spinach – known for being extremely low-carb. Spinach is also a great source of iron with 2.71 mg per 100 g. Spinach is non-heme so it’s hard for the body to absorb. Luckily, spinach is also rich in vitamin C which boosts iron absorption. We recommended that you steam or boil your spinach before eating to get rid of oxalates which hinders nutrient absorption.
- Pumpkin seeds – pumpkin seeds are also known as pepitas are packed with iron, with a hefty 4.2 mg of iron per ounce these tasty treats are also loaded with magnesium which reduces the risk of diabetes and depression. We recommend you pack some of these in your car for a healthy snack.
- Turkey – turkey is a great option if you’re looking to up both your iron and protein intake. With 2.3 mg of iron per 100 ounce, we recommend you use dark turkey meat for an extra boost of iron rather than the white which has only 1.3 mg of iron.
- Octopus – foods from the sea are actually high in iron, octopus especially. Every 100g containing 9.54mg of iron!
- Liver – Organ meats, especially liver, are extremely nutritious and great sources of iron. With beef liver containing 6.5mg per 100g and chicken having a whopping 11.63 mg per 100g! We recommend you start adding them to your diet.
- Broccoli – a member of the cruciferous family (cauliflower, brussels sprouts) this vegetable has a relatively low amount of iron with only 0.7mg per 100g but it definitely packs a punch with its high amount of vitamin C and K which boosts iron absorption.
- Tofu – A popular vegetarian choice and often seen in Asian cuisine this soy-based food also contains high amounts of iron with 5.3mg per 100g. It also contains calcium and magnesium so start looking up tofu recipes online.
- Dark chocolate – Yes! Finally! Junk. But not really since dark chocolate contains 11.9mg per 100g! However, be wary of store-bought chocolate since they may contain high amounts of carbs and sugar.
- Oyster – This superfood form the sea is one to be taken seriously since it contains about every micronutrient there is! Plus the iron content of is no joke with 9.20mg per 100g.
- Red meat – a great way to get your protein and iron fix. Red meat is also heme which makes it easy to absorb not to mention that it’s readily available makes a top-class source of iron.
While making sure you hit your macros is important, it is also equally important to keep track of the micronutrients you eat since however small they are there’s no denying that they play an important role in your body’s function.