Anemic? 10 Iron Rich Foods

If you are one of the many people who are anemic, having a diet that is rich in iron is very important. The problem is that not everyone knows what foods are rich in iron. Another problem, sometimes, is how to easily incorporate those foods into your diet so you get all the iron you need. Aside from foods rich in iron, iron supplements are also recommended to aid you in getting all the iron you need on a daily basis.


Anemia is a disease that stems from a lack of healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells transport oxygen all over the body and to the organs. If you blood is likewise lacking in hemoglobin, this means that your body is definitely not getting enough oxygen to function properly. Being anemic is the most common blood condition in the United States.

Iron deficiency anemia is caused by faulty production of red blood cells. Without enough iron in the body, it cannot produce hemoglobin properly. This condition can be caused by the following:

  • Diet poor in iron
  • Endurance training
  • Donating blood too often
  • Pregnancy
  • Menstruation
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Some foods
  • Too much caffeine

Sources of Iron

There are two types of iron you can get into your system–heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron can be found mostly in animal sources and is easily absorbed. The following foods are excellent sources of heme iron:

  • Mussels
  • Pork Liver
  • Oysters
  • Clams
  • Chicken Liver
  • Beef Liver
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Sardines
  • Shrimp

The other type of iron, non-heme iron, is found mostly in vegetables and not as easily digested or available. Some of the foods that are excellent sources of non-heme iron include:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Breakfast cereals that are enriched with iron
  • Blackstrap Molasses
  • Cooked lentils and beans
  • Baked potato, with the skin still on
  • Enriched pastas
  • Canned beans
  • Canned asparagus

Getting More Iron

Heme iron is absorbed into your system much more efficiently than non-heme iron. However, if you combine heme iron and non-heme iron sources in the same meal, the absorption of the non-heme iron is dramatically increased. When the two types are combined, absorption of the non-heme iron increases due to the better absorption rate of the heme iron. Here is a list of some iron-0absorption-enhancing foods:

  • Fruits, such as oranges and strawberries
  • White Wine
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Vegetables such as broccoli, potatoes, and red and green peppers

Foods to Avoid 

Just as there are foods that are rich in iron or help iron absorb into your system, there are foods that do the exact opposite. These foods actually slow the absorption rate of iron into the system and they should be avoided if you are anemic and in need of as much iron in your diet as possible:

  • Soy
  • Whole grains
  • Bran
  • Coffee
  • Red Wine
  • Tea
  • Vegetables such as spinach and sweet potatoes

While there are multiple possible causes for iron deficiency, one that is easily remedied is a diet that is poor in iron. Along with eating foods that are rich in iron, taking iron supplements can help a great deal when treating anemia.



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