Making Delicious Dishes with Iron Rich Foods

It might take a while before you realize that you have an iron deficiency. It’s not uncommon for people to misdiagnose themselves since the main symptom is general fatigue. People usually know something is wrong because it’s not the type of fatigue associated with a loss of sleep or hectic lifestyle. It’s a general feeling that stays with you throughout the day no matter what you do. Some people try to solve the problem by taking a few extra naps or going to bed earlier at night. The problem lies in an iron deficiency in your bloodstream, and that’s what we call anemia. The good news is you can fix the condition without any complicated medical plan or expensive pills. Sometimes you just have to adjust your diet to include a few more iron rich foods on a daily basis.

You might be thinking to yourself right now that foods high in iron don’t sound particularly appetizing. But there might be some foods that feature iron that you already love. Here are some suggested ways that you can jazz up your daily menu while giving yourself a boost of iron at the same time.

Iron Enriched Cereals – you can cut right to the chase with some foods that come enriched with various minerals and vitamins. There’s no better way to start off the day with an iron enriched cereal partnered with fresh fruit. If that sounds a bit too boring, then you can certainly opt for a tastier version of oatmeal that is similarly enriched with nutrients. There’s lots of benefits to starting off a day like this the side getting more iron, and you’ll appreciate the extra fiber and energy from a source like this.

Dried Herbs – common cooking elements like oregano, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves contain iron that can be absorbed in your system and used in some creative dishes. If you haven’t visited your dried herbs selection in quite some time, it’s time to put them back into the mix. They can work wonders on a simple sauce or a multitude of things ranging from soup to stew. And since their main purpose is the addition of flavor and culinary nuance, you’ll end up enhancing any dish you prepare.

Artichokes – when was the last time you had an artichokes? Some people have never even tried this rather strange vegetable. But if you want to take some time to revisit this often-forgotten choice, you’ll find a great source of iron in a neat little package. You can use a variety of cooking techniques but some of the most flavorful include grilling or roasting. Obviously they aren’t going to be a main dish, but you might just find yourself with a tasty side alternative to mix things up a bit.

Mollusks – what are mollusks you ask? They are more commonly known as oysters, clams, or mussels, and they happen to be a great source of iron. These aren’t the types of food you eat every day but I can make a nice treat every once in a while. You can even add a friend from the sea such as shrimp to create a seafood celebration of iron. Lots of possibilities here include pasta sauces, gumbo, stew, or enjoying these tasty shellfish lightly steamed with a touch garlic.

Beans and Legumes – the most obvious use here comes in the form of chilli where you can add in all kinds of other elements for a nutrient bonanza. In fact, all of the items previously listed would work well in a chilli depending on how you want to spice things up. Beans are often a forgotten element in everyday side dishes but they work well on their own or with something like rice.

Red Meat – of course there is no better source of iron then meet alternatives and this category includes things like liver as well. You know by now that red meat is not an element you can eat on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean you have to be scared of it either. Just take a look at the cooking process and make sure you aren’t adding any extra calories, sodium, or cholesterol. With careful planning and moderation, you can still have red meat as a main component in your diet and enjoy it every step of the way.

Keep in mind that other foods might not contain iron but they helped the overall absorption in your body. For example, citrus fruits really help your body to absorb iron and there’s no shortage of options here. There’s nothing better than a fresh orange or grapefruit, and you can enjoy them at any time of the day. Broccoli, brussels sprouts, and tomatoes not only contain valuable antioxidant properties, they serve the same purpose as fresh fruits. So while you should definitely keep an eye out for different iron rich foods you might enjoy, make sure to incorporate these elements as well.

This article comes to us from our friends at rabbitsadvice.com where you can find more information on healthy eating as it relates to a fitter lifestyle that moves away from excess calories and high cholesterol foods.

 

Brown Rice vs. White Rice

It’s a popular modern debate: brown rice vs. white rice. But which is better?

I don’t know about you, but I never saw brown rice until I went to college. I was raised strictly in a Minute Rice family and aside from the occasional side of gravy, my rice remained white throughout my formative years. As I got older, I developed an affinity for brown rice. Its naturally “nutty” texture and flavor just seemed more fulfilling and it prompted me to do the research on the difference between these two “grain cousins. “They’re actually not cousins at all: both brown and white rice are the same rice. It’s the process it follows from the field to your table that differs.

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: the Process

The first step rice takes on the way to your kitchen is the removal of the hull. Once the hull is removed, you’re left with brown rice. In order to obtain white rice, there are a few more steps, however. Following hull removal, rice is then milled and polished. As with any processing, these additional steps remove a fair amount of the nutritional value from rice. In fact, a good rule of thumb when considering the nutritional value of any food is to consider how much processing went into making it. Not to suggest that white rice is bad for you, but it certainly lacks some good stuff that brown rice keeps.

The Result

Brown rice is the least processed of the two varieties of rice and thus retains more of it nutritional value. On the average, brown rice boasts greater levels of naturally occurring vitamins B1, B3 and B6 as well as significantly greater levels of dietary fiber, selenium and manganese (all of which contribute to colon health). While all white rice in the United States must be enriched with vitamins B1, B3 and B6, the vitamins aren’t nearly as bioavailable as their natural sources found in brown rice.

Preparation of Rice

When buying any kind of rice, be sure to rinse the grains under cool water to remove any debris before cooking. To conserve water, rice is best cooked using the absorption method. Add one part rice to two parts water, bring to a boil and then cover at a simmer until the water is absorbed. This keeps you from having to add additional water and allows you to use as little water as possible during the cooking process by making the most of the steam and condensation.

 

 

Nathan Joynt works with Gaiam.com, a leading yoga and healthy living company in Boulder, Colorado.