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What Indian foods are good for dietary iron?
For non-vegetarians highest concentration of dietary iron is in spleen. For vegetarians, it is the dried beans followed by colored vegetables
Iron absorption from animal foods is very efficient from 15% to 35%. Iron absorption from plant foods may vary from 2% to 20%. Animal foods and Vitamin C increase bioavailability of iron in plant foods. Black tea and Dairy products (Yogurt, Paneer, Khoya, Milk, Cream) reduce bioavailability of iron from plant foods.
Basic Animal Foods
Animal foods can be ranked starting with the highest iron concentration as follows
2. Liver (Chicken liver is higher than Lamb), Kidney (Lamb kidney is higher than Chicken)
3. Heart, Lung, and Marrow from bones
4. Red meats muscle (Beef Mutton Lamb Goat Buffalo)
5. Dark Poultry meat (Chicken or Turkey Thigh leg), Pork, Egg Yolk
6. White Poultry meat (Turkey or Chicken breast), Fish
Basic Plant Foods
Plant foods can be ranked starting with the highest iron concentration as follows
1. Dried Bean (Soybean Red Kidney Bean Chickpeas Pigeon-peas..)
2. Green Red and Purple Vegetables
3. Nuts (Almonds) Seeds (Pumpkin seeds), and Dried fruits (Prunes, Apricots, Raisins)
4. Whole-grains (Brown Basmati, Roti, Bajra Roti)
Prepared Indian Foods
Seeds Nuts and dried foods have iron concentration. They are good snacks (Pumpkin seeds, Almonds, Raisins), but excluded from this list. Indian foods can be ranked starting with the highest bio-available iron as follows
1. Spleen Roast (Bhuna Tilli). In Hindi, Spleen is called Tilli. You may use Goat Mutton Lamb or Beef spleen
2. Curried Liver (Kaleja Fry). In Hindi, Liver is called Kaleja. You may use Goat Mutton Beef or Chicken Livers. Lamb, Beef-Calf, and Kid-goat liver are less stringy. Chicken livers have more iron than goat sheep or beef livers.
3. Curried Kidney (Gurda Fry). In Hindi Kidney is called Gurda. You may use Goat Mutton or Lamb Kidneys. Iron content of Lamb Kidney is almost as high as iron content of chicken livers.
4. Nihari. This is made from thigh portion of the leg including the round bone of Mutton, Goat or buffalo. This has the highest concentration of Bone-marrow
5. Shorba. Shorba is primarily made with bones and small amount of muscle. Chicken Lamb Goat or Mutton may be used. Yakhni is also a type of Shorba.
6. Bone-in red-meat curries. Bones add marrow that has a high concentration of iron.
7. Bone-less red meat curries. Lamb Goat Mutton Buffalo Beef
8. Saag wala meat. Boneless red meat curries cooked with Spinach, or Mustard greens. The meat makes the iron from spinach/mustard-greens more bio-available than without meat. These curries should not be cooked with yogurt. Yogurt will reduces the iron bio-availability of spinach/mustard-greens.
9. Cooked dried beans. Soybeans have the highest concentration. Red kidney beans, Garbanzo beans, Urad, Lentils, Moong, Pigeon-peas. Tofu. These Dal should not contain any dairy products. You may add tomatoes to increase bio-availability.
10. Saag Green leafy vegetable curries (Spinach, Mustard Greens, Methi, Kale, Beet greens, Turnip greens). Do not add Paneer (Indian Cheese) or Yogurt. Paneer or Yogurt will reduce the bio-availability of iron. You may add vegetables high in Vitamin C to increase the bio-availability (Tomatoes, Bell Peppers)
11. Green Red Purple Color Vegetable curries (Broccoli, Beets, Bell Peppers, Red Cabbage)
12. Chicken dark meat (Thighs legs) curries. Pork, Oyster, Salmon, Clams
13. Halibut, Crab, Tuna, Shrimp (Jhinga), Chicken breast curries
14. Whole-grain Wheat or Bajra Roti. Whole-grain Brown Basmati Rice. Naan has more bio-available iron due to fermentation (yeast).
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