Both broccoli florets and leaves contain decent amounts of iron. It can help us meet our daily needs.
Health benefits of iron
Adequate iron intakes are important for good health.
First, iron is a key component of hemoglobin; a protein of red blood cells that transfers oxygen from the lungs to the tissues.
Also, iron is vital for muscle metabolism, healthy connective tissue, energy metabolism, cellular functioning, physical growth, neurological development, and the synthesis of some hormones, amino acids, and collagen.[1,2]
Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide, though! It may lead to serious side effects, such as gastrointestinal disturbances, impaired cognition, weakened immune function, fatigue, and low body temperature. Moreover, iron deficiency during pregnancy may increase the risk of premature delivery, and miscarriage.
What’s the recommended daily intake?
The recommended daily intake of iron is 18 mg for women of reproductive age, and 27 mg for pregnant women.
Men and women older than 51 years require only 8 mg of iron a day.
As women require high dosages of iron, they have an increased risk of getting less iron from their diet than they need. Thus, they may benefit from taking a dietary supplement. You’ll find a wide variety of iron supplements on iHerb.
What’s the iron content of broccoli?
Broccoli can help us meet our daily needs of iron. It contains 0.69 mg of iron per 100g. This amount is 2.5% of the recommended daily intake.
Furthermore, a serving of broccoli contains about 0.52 mg of iron.
How much iron is in broccoli leaves?
Not only broccoli leaves are edible, but also, they have a great nutritional value! They’re high in protein, fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C!
In addition, broccoli leaves contain 27% more iron than broccoli florets! Broccoli leaves have 0.88 mg of iron per 100g.
Do we absorb iron of broccoli?
We absorb only a small percentage of iron of broccoli or broccoli leaves. Actually, iron of all plant-based foods has a low bioavailability. We absorb only 5-12% of iron of plants.
On the other hand, we absorb 14-18% of iron from animal-based foods.
Although, broccoli has low amounts of iron, it helps absorb iron of other foods. Vitamin C enhances iron absorption! Broccoli is among the richest foods in vitamin C. It contains more vitamin C per 100g than the recommended daily intake!
Animal-based foods, like meat, poultry, and seafood, enhance iron absorption as well.
In contrast, avoid consuming whole grains and beans with other foods high in iron. Phytates and polyphenols in these foods may inhibit iron absorption.
Too much calcium might reduce the bioavailability of iron as well. So, avoid consuming cheese, milk, or yogurt with other iron-rich foods. After all, all dairy products are poor dietary sources of iron.
Other foods high in iron
Common foods high in iron are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, whole grains, legumes, as well as certain fruits and vegetables.
Spinach, kale, potatoes, chocolate, and beans are among the richest common plant-based foods in iron!
Actually, there are many plant-based foods containing decent amounts of iron, which can help us meet our daily needs. For instance, a serving of cabbage provides about 2.5% of the recommended daily intake.
Certain fruit juices, such as prune and raspberry juices, are particularly rich in iron as well.
Health benefits of broccoli
We should eat broccoli regularly. It’s packed with nutrients. For instance, broccoli is a great dietary source of vitamins C, E, K, and folic acid, carotenoids, sulforaphane, chlorophyll, and many powerful antioxidant compounds.
It’s ideal food for weight loss!
Furthermore, broccoli consumption may improve digestion, glucose levels and insulin sensitivity. It protects the heart against oxidative stress, and boosts the immune system.[5,6,7]
Also, it has anticancer properties.
Besides broccoli, all cruciferous vegetables, such cauliflower and cabbage, have great health benefits because they’re pretty rich in glucosinolates. These compounds have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.