Iron rich foods

Iron rich foods

The best way to prevent and treat anemia is to consume iron rich foods. The treatment of anemia may also be successful with the usage of iron supplements. When it comes to iron-rich nutrition, we can recognize two types of iron:

Heme iron: Iron found in hemoglobin in blood, therefore red meat
Non-heme iron: Iron found in vegetables, dairy products and eggs

Non-heme iron: (iron found in vegetables) is harder to absorb than heme iron (found in meat) and that is why vegetarians are at a greater risk of developing iron deficiency anemia.

Iron rich foods that are good sources of heme iron include: 

– Beef, chicken and pork liver

– Clams and oysters

– Fish and shrimp

– Turkey, chicken, beef and pork








Iron rich foods that are good sources of non-heme iron include:

– Fortified cereals, grains and pasta

– Beans and lentils

– Pumpkin seeds

– Canned beans

Today we are able to choose between a variety of iron rich foods and even the picky ones have an opportunity to have a healthy nutrition. First we will start by mentioning the best ones:


– Red meat

– Dried fruit (prunes, figs, raisins)

– Turkey and chicken

– Iron fortified foods (grains and cereals)

– Dark green vegetables such as spinach and kale

– Beans (kidney, lima, navy etc.) soybeans and lentils

– Liver

– Egg yolks

– Seafood such as fish, oysters, clams and shrimp


Not only do we have a plentiful of iron rich foods today but we also have iron fortified foods. These foods contain iron that has been added to them and they are especially good when it comes to “picky eaters” since some of the natural resources of iron may sometimes appear tasteless. These foods include:

– Cereals

– Oatmeal

– Pasta

– Iron fortified bread

There are many other iron fortified foods as well, so make sure you look for them on labels while shopping for groceries.But why should we stop here. As we mentioned before there is a variety of choices when it comes to iron rich foods. For example: nuts, hazelnuts and almonds are a good source of iron and we can add curry, rosemary, cinnamon and sesame seeds to our daily diet to improve iron levels in our body. There are also many vegetables that can be added to this list of iron-rich foods and they include broccoli, parsley, brussel sprouts, swiss chard etc.

The biggest intake of iron is necessary during pregnancy, childhood and adolescence. These are the most sensitive stages of life and proper nutrition is the key for preventing anemia. Women in pregnancy, for example, need up to 27 mg of iron in their daily diet so it is crucial for them to eat iron rich foods, not only for them to be healthy, but for the baby’s development as well. Women who have two pregnancies close together or are pregnant with more than one child are at a greater risk for having anemia if they are not careful during their pregnancy.

Iron from iron rich foods is best absorbed if those foods are consumed with vitamin C. And it is best if these two are combined together in your meals.

Here are some foods rich in vitamin C:

– Citrus fruit

– Green vegetables

– Apples

– Bananas

– Fortified juices

– Green vegetables

Proper nutrition is especially important for persons who have lost larger amounts of blood. This is why women need more iron during their periods. The dominating iron – rich foods in their nutrition should be fish, red meat, clams and oysters, dried fruit and beans. Some iron – rich foods are not only rich in iron, but they are also rich in copper which helps enormously with the absorption of iron. These foods include seafood, liver, green vegetables, dried figs, apricots, etc.

You should note that it is best not to eat whole grains, which are rich in iron, in combination with other iron rich foods since they contain phytates that decrease iron absorption through food. The same note goes for spinach, which is rich in oxalate substances which decrease the absorption of iron.
Unvarying nutrition, an exaggerated use of alcohol and coffee, vegetarianism, drastic diets for losing weight and an insufficient intake of iron through food are all possible causes of iron deficiency anemia. The consummation of groceries rich in vitamin C enlarges the absorption of iron, and it is highly recommendable to use vitamin C supplements (up to 2g daily). It would be best if every meal contained fish or meat and vitamin C.

Anemic persons should also spend much time in fresh air and walk at least one hour daily. Diverse nutrition, a regular intake of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as minimal consummation of alcohol, coffee, cocoa, aerated drinks and tea, are the best way to prevent anemia. If the iron intake through food is not sufficient, people suffering from anemia may also use supplements, which work best if taken on an empty stomach. Some may also use vitamin B and vitamin C supplements in addition to the corresponding therapy recommended by their doctor.

You can combine iron – rich foods into many delicious meals. You can take fresh apples beetroot and carrots and make a tasteful juice out of them by adding honey. Nettle is also very useful as you can make a salad out of it which you can combine with lemon juice and olive oil or you can drink nettle tea which is also very useful in fighting anemia.
If you suspect that you have anemia, you should definitely talk to your doctor because sometimes an underlying illness may be the cause of your anemia. You should also be very careful with food allergies since some of the mentioned iron–rich foods may pose a threat of an allergic reaction. For example, many people are allergic to nuts and seafood and this is especially important to know when it comes to children since they are the most sensitive age group.

Children and toddlers also consume a lot of milk, and dairy products are not that good for the absorption of iron through iron–rich foods, so they are a risk factor for iron deficiency anemia. Toddlers need about 7 to 10 mg of iron a day which is a lot less from the needs of 18 mg in adults so you should be careful, when giving iron rich foods to your child, not to exaggerate since too much iron can be toxic and very dangerous for children.


The most important thing to remember when it comes to your child’s healthy nutrition is that iron is best absorbed when combined with vitamin C. Foods that are high in vitamin C help with the absorption of non heme iron and this is very useful, especially when it comes to children. Having this in mind, you can easily combine meals for your child. For example, cereals with fruit rich in vitamin C, or with vitamin C fortified juices is certainly a good choice for breakfast. Here you have iron from the cereals and vitamin C from the fruit or juice which makes it a great combination.
At first, your newborn will receive all the amounts of iron it needs through breast milk which also contains vitamin C. Later your child will have the need for additional iron which can be compensated through iron fortified baby cereal. From this point your child will need extra iron which you can find in iron rich baby foods so make sure you check food labels in order to find the best of them. You can make iron rich baby foods in your own kitchen as well. Choose the best iron rich foods and turn them into mash or adjust the portions to your child’s needs.