Nutritionists Say These High-Iron Foods Give You Healthy Skin, Hair, and More

Since we were kids, we've been told time and time again to eat our fruits and vegetables. And this statement rings so incredibly true—especially in our adult lives. To maintain energy, healthy bodies, glowing skin, thick and long locks, nice nails, and more, we must eat nutrition-rich food on a regular basis. This is why high iron foods are at the top of the list.

Contrary to the popular belief that red meat is the only iron-rich food, we consulted top dieticians, nutritionists, and health experts to share other valuable options that offer up the daily dose of iron you need to feel your best. 

Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, who is the founder and director of Real Nutrition based in NYC, echoes this statement. "Many people think that you can only get iron from red meat," says Shapiro. "Truth be told there are many plant-based foods high in iron, too. However, our body absorbs animal sources better than plants, but you can still meet your needs through both varieties. Getting adequate iron helps with energy levels, muscle function, brain function, and pregnancy." 

Urvashi Singh, a nutritionist and expert in plant-based skincare science and founder of Aphorism, brings up the glaring fact that women are more likely than men to be iron-deficient. "Iron is essential to our existence as it is needed for hemoglobin, which is how we transport oxygen to our cells," says Singh. 

Iron’s importance in our health is felt more through its absence and deficiency than abundance. On its own and in tandem with zinc, selenium, and folate, it's an essential nutrient for good skin, hair, and nails. A lack of iron can result in hair loss, sallow skin, and unexplained bruising. It also means our cells are not getting enough oxygen to produce energy and cause fatigue and shortness of breath. Women are more likely to be iron-deficient than men as they lose blood every month during their period and need significantly more during their pregnancy and breastfeeding phases of life

Now that it's no question iron-packed foods are a necessary part of your diet, here are all the foods and delicious recipes health gurus love.