Getting Enough Iron: What’s a Gurl to Do?

by July 2, 2012
filed under Life
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You may have heard it before: You’re not getting enough iron. As women, we tend to be iron deficient because we lose so much during our periods. This makes for decreased oxygen supply to our organs and tissues, which in turn leaves our bodies feeling weak. It often causing headaches and insomnia – as if our ‘monthly gift’ needs another reason to be dreaded.

Women are recommended to have 18 mg of Iron per day. Sounds pretty simple, right? It’s not as easy as you may think. 3.5 ounces of beef has 2.72 mg. A cup of brown rice contains 0.8 mg. A cup of spinach only contains 1.0 mg. Combine those foods for dinner, and you aren’t getting any more than 5 or 6 mg.. Iron supplements seem to be a quick fix, but you usually need a prescription from your doctor. So what’s a gurl to do?

Would you believe me if I told you there is a low calorie, high protein meat that beats out all the others with its iron content? At first, I didn’t either. It’s called Bison. It’s a meat we don’t typically consider for a meal, as we opt for chicken, beef or fish instead. Well, I think it’s time we start putting it on our grocery lists. A 3.5 oz serving of bison contains 3.42 mg of iron, which is nearly triple the value of iron in chicken! Bison surpasses pork, beef, and salmon with its rich iron content. Substitute your usual chicken breast or pork tenderloin at dinner with a serving of bison and you are well on your way to reaching those 18 mg per day.

But Bison doesn’t receive the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation’s “Heath-Check” symbol just for being rich in iron. Compared to a serving of skinless chicken, with 7.41 g of fat, bison wins out with only 2.42 g of fat. Bison is also less calories then chicken, which itself is often chosen over beef and pork. The high vitamin of B-12 can’t hurt either. Not only is Bison a great choice for upping iron intake, but it also fits perfectly into a healthy lifestyle.

As great as adding this meat into your diet sounds, it isn’t as easy as running to the supermarket. You’ll have better luck at local meat shops, farmer’s markets and even Planet Organic. There may very well be a Bison farm near you. And by going to a local meat shop or a farmer’s market, you know the product will be fresh and come from close to home. The small farms that supply local shops don’t pump their animals full of steroids or any other junk we don’t want to be eating.

Next time you’re planning what to have for dinner, try picking up some ground Bison and add it to spaghetti, or throw a Bison steak on the grill. With everything the meat has to offer, how can you go wrong?

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