Iron-Rich Foods to Boost Your Workout

Editor’s Note: This article is for informational purposes only. You should not use it to replace any professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any health issues. Any questions about your blood health should be directed toward a physician, hematologist, or other licensed healthcare professional.

The Benefits of Eating Iron-Rich Foods Before Working Out

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned athlete, eating iron-rich foods can help you get the most out of your workouts. Iron is an essential mineral that helps transport oxygen to your cells, giving them the energy they need to perform.

Eating iron-rich foods can help ensure that you have enough of this important mineral in your body to power through even the toughest workouts. Here are some of the best iron-rich foods to include in your diet before working out.

1. Lean Red Meat

Lean red meat such as beef and pork are great sources of iron. A 3 oz serving contains up to 2 mg of iron which is roughly 10% of your daily recommended intake. Not only that, but lean red meat also contains other important vitamins and minerals like zinc and B12 which can help boost energy levels and aid in muscle recovery post-workout.

2. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are superfoods for athletes! Not only do they contain more than 20% of your daily recommended intake for iron but they also contain powerful antioxidants which can reduce inflammation caused by intense exercise. Plus, eating leafy greens has been linked with improved physical performance due to their high content of magnesium and potassium – two minerals that play an important role in muscle contraction.

3. Legumes & Beans

Legumes & beans like chickpeas and lentils are excellent sources of plant-based protein as well as iron. They’re also packed with fiber which helps keep you full longer, so you don’t experience those mid-workout hunger pangs! A 1/2 cup serving contains up to 6 mg of iron – nearly 30% of your daily recommended intake – making it a great choice for pre-workout fuel. Some other iron- rich legumes are tofu, tempeh (fermented soybeans), dried or canned peas, tomato products, corn syrup, maple syrup, and molasses.

4. Fruits & Vegetables

Eating right can mean the difference between an ok workout and a stellar one. While protein is important in helping with muscle recovery and repair, what some may not know is that eating certain fruits and vegetables can help give you an extra edge during your fitness routine. Fruits like figs, oranges, strawberries, apples, raisins, dates, and avocados are all rich in iron which helps to keep energy levels up during tough workouts. Vegetables like kale, spinach, peas, and broccoli are also full of iron and can provide lasting fuel for endurance exercise. Incorporating these iron-rich fruits and vegetables into your diet is a great way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your workouts.

5. Seafood

Eating iron-rich seafood such as shellfish and canned sardines is a great way for athletes to give themselves an extra boost before and during a workout. Fish is a great source of lean protein that helps keep energy levels high and can help build muscle mass. Iron from seafood helps deliver oxygen to the muscles so they have more strength and endurance during exercise; it also aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates, essential for intense activities like weight training. So for anyone looking for an edge when it comes to fitness, try upping your intake of iron-rich seafood!

According to American Red Cross Blood Services, other foods you may add to your diet that may not commonly be known as rich in iron are: 

  • Wheat products
  • Enriched rice
  • Rye bread
  • Oat cereals

Eating iron-rich foods before exercising is a great way to ensure that your body has enough energy to power through even the toughest workouts. Lean red meat, leafy greens, legumes, beans, fruits, vegetables, and seafood are all excellent sources of iron that should be included in any pre-workout meal plan! So if you’re looking for an energy boost before hitting the gym or track, reach for these nutrient powerhouses!

Plan Your Iron-Rich Meals

Ever wonder how top athletes are able to perform at their peak? Well, their secret might very well be in their diet. Track your hemoglobin level estimates with AnemoCheck to know when to incorporate iron-rich meals! 

Click here to download the app via the iOS or Android app stores.

Join the Conversation

Read More