How To Boost Iron Consumption From Food


I was recently told by my doctor that I have a very low iron, so I was referred to a dietitian to help me with food suggestions that can boost my iron consumption and help my body store more iron. We all need iron to help build red blood cells and also help carry oxygen from the lungs to every cell in our body.

The importance of iron cannot be overemphasized, a woman between the ages of 18 to 49 years old needs 18 mg of iron daily. If you are pregnant you need even more iron to sustain you and the baby. If you don't get enough iron, you may feel tired, out of breath, irritable, lack concentration or look pale.




The first thing I was told by my dietitian was about the 2 types of iron that we get from the food we eat, one is heme and the other is non-heme. Heme is the foods that our body can easily absorb iron from, which includes Beef, Chicken, Turkey, Liver, Lean fish and Seafood. While non-heme food is also high iron but our body do not absorb the iron easily, the foods in this category are Beans, Eggs, Dark Green Vegetables, Bread, Pasta, Lentils, Dried Fruits, Breakfast Cereal (iron fortified), Spinach, Seeds like Peanuts, Sesame, and pumpkin.



When eating non-heme foods, you need to support it with Vitamin C rich foods or fruits, such as Oranges, Blueberries, Kiwi, Clementine, Raspberries, green/yellow/red peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, Strawberries, or Juice which could be orange or apple with added vitamin c. This would not only help your body absorb more iron, it would also help your body store iron as well.



You are more than likely going to need more Iron every day if you avoid meat, fish or poultry product. Iron supplements can also be used to boost your iron intake, but you need to talk to a registered dietitian or family physician for the right recommendations.

An easy snack or salad to make, that has become my go-to food almost every day is the combination of ;



1 handful of spinach,
1 tablespoon of the sesame seed,
1 chicken thigh,
2 handfuls of Blueberries or 1 clementine and
2 tablespoons of low-fat salad dressing.



Mix all together and you have an iron-rich, tasty and nutritious salad for yourself. Whenever I eat beans, eggs, bread, pasta, I make sure I eat any of these fruits; oranges, grapes, Blueberries strawberries, clementine or just drink a 1/2 cup of juice to help my body absorb the iron in the food.



Did you know that tea and coffee contain something called polyphenols? This can make your body absorb less iron from your non-heme foods, it is advised to wait 1 hour after eating before drinking either tea or coffee to help your body absorbs all the necessary nutrients.




4 comments

  1. Those snacks look DELICIOUS! I am positive I need to probably add extra iron in my diet and these are great tips to do that. Especially since I'm breastfeeding currently- thank you for the reminders!

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  2. Great ideas here for boosting iron in foods. Will try these tips. I need to improve my diet.

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  3. Wow these are some really great tips I was not aware of. I drink tea daily and now I will be sure to be more conscience of when I eat so that my body can absorb the appropriate nutrients. Great article and quite helpful!

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  4. Ok not only you actually helped but also kept it delicious and yummy. Thankfully I consume most of these but I can see a few additions I can make! Thanks so much!

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