General Diet Plans and Questions - High iron, low calorie

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11-01-2010, 05:54 AM
I am extremely susceptible to iron deficiency anaemia, and in only 3 weeks of dieting I managed to bring myself to practically comatose and the colour of a winter sky. I've had my supplements so I am back to having iron in my blood and in my stores, but I do struggle with sources of iron other than red meat. Is there anything low calorie that is high in iron, high enough to be a major iron source for someone that demands a lot of iron, and you get that iron from eating normal portions, portions that are properly calorie controlled. There is iron in broccoli, but I'd need 16lbs a day to fulfil my elevated needs - and I'm allergic to cruciferous vegetables anyway.

I hate iron supplements, but at a bit of a loss how to get enough from food in weight-loss portions. I'm allergic to some other things too, mainly fish products. What has enough iron in it that you can eat sufficient each day without blowing your calories or having a tiny portion?

11-01-2010, 11:12 AM
What about spinach? Or strawberries? (not sure how MUCH iron is in them - but it might be worth a look?)

katy trail
11-01-2010, 11:20 AM
what about beans, lentils? and if you still need an iron pill, it helps with the constipation. cream of wheat and other cereals have lots of iron, i'm not sure how well they absorb. you want to eat vitamin C and iron together. they are best friends. calcium is eaten seperately if you can. calcium can interfere with iron absorbtion. i always get mixed up on which foods to combine so they can absorb best. it's a good idea to do more research on this. maybe find a book on it in your library. maybe even a textbook. i'll look up some high iron foods, and post them.

katy trail
11-01-2010, 11:54 AM
ok so you know heme iron comes from animals, so it's more easily absorbed by the body. non-heme iron comes from plants. you probably already knew that.

i found a chart of iron rich foods with cal count and amounts of iron in the foods. this is on weightlossforall dot com

before that i found lists of foods that are enhancers and inhibitors to iron absorbtion. so i'll post those too. this is a great thread, i'm sure it will help many people.
iron absorbtion enhancers:
fruits with vitamin C:oranges, cantalope, strawberries, kiwi wasn't listed, but has lots of vit. C and many other fruits.
broccolli, brussel sprouts( oh i heard you! those aren't gross they are delicious roasted.)
(white) baked potato with skin
red and green peppers
white wine

i also found a website that said sea vegetables are high in iron, i don't know what that means, or if you may be allergic to it.
Iron absorbtion inhibitors
red wine, coffee, tea(apparently anything with tannins, green tea doesn't have tannins.)
veg:spinach, chard, rhubarb, sweet potato
whole grains, bran
soy products.
i didn't find calcium information

i think your best bet is to cook beans and lentils often, and eat lots of plant foods with Vitamin C and iron.

katy trail
11-01-2010, 12:32 PM
found a better chart on whfoods dot com, better because it has portion sizes along with mg's of iron.

1 cup boiled spinach 41 cal. 6.43 mg iron

1 cup swiss chard 35 cal 3.96 mg

2 cups romaine 15 cal 1.23mg

4 oz raw tofu 86cal 6mg

2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses 32 cal 3.96mg

8oz. raw shritake mushrooms 87 cal 3.59mg

1 cup cooked soybeans(i think these are like edamame?) 297 cal. 8.84mg

1 cup cooked lentils 229cal 6.59mg

.25c (1/4 of a cup) quinoa 158.9 cal 3.93mg

other types of beans are listed, but they are all similar in iron comtent and cals, in my opinion.

11-01-2010, 12:48 PM
Do you cook in cast iron? Do you take iron supplements?

Here is a good list:

Sea vegetables look to be a really good source. One of my favorite recipes is a chickpea 'tuna' salad. Basically chickpeas mashed with mustard with dill relish (or diced dill pickles), celery and some small bits of sea vegetables.

It looks like Tofu has a good amount of iron in it as well.

11-01-2010, 04:17 PM
Thanks, looks a lot like I'm going to have to keep up with the horrible supplements, I'm on 90mg a day for anemia correction and 30mg a day for prevention. I could have soybeans 3 times a day every day or I'm going to have to keep up with the supplements.

I'm not sure if this is a "nations divided by a common language" thing or not, but there's things in that list I've never heard of! What is a romaine, and what is a chard?

11-01-2010, 04:40 PM
prune juice has a lot of iron in it. 8 oz has about 3mg - which is about as much as beef. As it's a juice, it's not the lowest calorie option, but it's not horrible. You might want to try adding it to your baked goods or oatmeal or a smoothie as a sweetner.

Oysters are super expensive here (not sure about Scotland, perhaps cheaper since you are by the sea?), but 1/2 cup has 8 mg.

In the US, they also fortify many cereals with iron (like Total). I don't eat cereal, but if you do you might want to check out some of the labels.

ps - romaine is a type of lettuce (salad) and chard is similar. It's a green, sort of like spinach.

katy trail
11-02-2010, 11:37 AM
it looks like you are just looking at the highest iron food on the list. all the beans group is high in iron. chickpeas also known as garbanzo beans, black eye peas(really are a bean), kidney beans, black beans. you could make a hummus dip with any kind of beans you like.

cream of wheat is what it's called in the us. it's farina. i think it's a type of grain. we make it as any other hot cereal like oatmeal. oatmeal has iron in it too, cream of wheat has more, and no fat.

i think the best plan for you, to reduce the supplements, is to combine foods. if you combine any types of greens (assuming you don't hate them) with a type of beans. in a cold salad, or cooked in a pan with a little bit of olive oil and garlic, or in a soup. minestrone soup is good. has different kinds of beans and greens in it. 'greens' would be any kind of leafy veggie you like, spinach, swiss chard, kale, collard greens, beet greens.

i'm happy to try to translate any terms you didn't understand. i only posted some of the foods listed on the charts i was talking about. i thought if i made the list too long, it would be overwhelming.