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Iron is a critical component of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries the oxygen our cells need to produce energy. Too little iron can leave us feeling weak and fatigued, and looking pale, Bowden says. Premenopausal women need to be especially careful about meeting their RDA, as their levels are depleted each month during menstruation. A plate of beef liver will do the trick—but fortunately, there are other options: many leafy greens, various types of beans, and other cuts of beef. (Postmenopausal women need much less iron than other women—only 8 milligrams, or about 44 percent of the RDA outlined here.)

100% of your RDA of iron:
  • About ⅔ cup cooked chickpeas OR ½ cup canned white beans (about 22 percent)
  • 3 ounces flank steak OR 1 veggie burger patty OR ½ cup firm tofu (about 17 percent)
  • ½ cup Cream of Wheat OR ½ cup instant oatmeal (about 28 percent)
  • 2 cups raw spinach OR 1½ cups Swiss chard (about 33 percent)