If you’re not a big supplement fan, but want to boost your iron intake, grab a bowl of pasta. Really? Yes, really. And you probably thought I was going to tell you to eat your spinach or, even worse, liver. Nope, if you choose the right pasta, you can get as much as 33% of the recommended daily dietary allowance for iron from a 2 oz serving of pasta. How great is that?!
Most of us are at least vaguely aware that we need to consume iron so that we produce lots of healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen through our system. If you don’t absorb enough iron and can’t produce enough red blood cells, you develop iron deficiency anemia.
Without enough oxygen due to anemia, your body will become fatigued and your brain and immune system functions may diminish. A lack of iron may also prevent your body from maintaining or producing healthy cells, skin, hair, or nails.
For most of us, low iron levels will be avoided by simply consuming sufficient iron in our diet, but almost 10% of women in the US are iron deficient. In fact, according to WebMD(1), low iron is the most common nutritional deficiency in the US.
Pasta seems like a natural part of the solution for this deficiency. For one thing, we eat a lot of pasta. What kid doesn’t like mac & cheese, or spaghetti? Food Network lists both of these pasta dishes in their list “America’s Best: Top 10 Comfort Foods”. For another thing, pastas high in iron are readily available.
Not every type of pasta is high in iron, but those made of chickpeas or lentils are filled with it. Banza® Rotini delivers 30% of the daily value in a 2 oz portion and 50% in a 3 oz portion. Tolerant® Organic Red Lentil Penne also delivers 50% in a 3 oz portion. These pastas are gluten-free and they deliver a healthy portion of protein and fiber. They are also lower in net carbs than pastas made from wheat flour, corn, or rice. This makes them a good choice for those with, or at risk for, diabetes.
While a sophisticated palette may detect some differences, these pastas are pleasing enough for most of us especially when covered in cheese or red sauce. Why fight with yourself over eating liver or spinach when you can chow down on the mac and cheese you really wanted anyway? Go ahead, have a helping of pasta and boost your iron.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”