Are you living with anemia? Anemia is caused by insufficient iron intake, creating an iron deficiency within the body. But it’s a health condition that causes much more than a nutritional deficiency.
When you have anemia, your body’s blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells. Without the right amount of iron, your body can’t create enough red blood cells to transfer oxygen throughout the body. As a result, this can leave you feeling tired and weak. And it can also cause other symptoms like chest pain or shortness of breath.
Fortunately, managing – and fighting – anemia isn’t difficult. You simply need to increase your iron intake. And one easy way to do this is to change your diet. The following are 10 foods that are rich in iron and perfect for fighting anemia.
1. Leafy Greens
One of the best sources of iron when it comes to fruits and vegetables are leafy greens. From Swiss chard to spinach, kale to collard and dandelion greens, leafy greens contain iron and vitamin C.
While iron alone is important for anyone who’s anemic, vitamin C can be greatly beneficial too. Vitamin C can help your body better absorb iron – so consuming leafy greens will ensure you not only eat more iron, but also help your body better take advantage of it.
Garlic is a handy addition to any meal – it adds some tremendous flavor to any recipe or food. But did you know it can also up your iron intake?
Garlic is actually a great source of iron. And it can also help improve your overall health, as a Tufts University study found. Increased garlic consumption may be linked to a decrease in risk around Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and dementia.
3. Red Meat and Poultry
All poultry and red meat contain some iron; however, red meat, venison, and lamb are considered the best sources. Red meat is packed with iron, and adding these meats into your meals can help fight anemia.
Though chicken and poultry have lower amounts of iron, they’re still considered good items to reach for if you have an iron deficiency. Served along with some leafy greens, these meats can be the centerpiece of a high-iron meal.
Most people don’t tend to think of potatoes as iron-rich; after all, they’re better known as a carbohydrate-filled food. However, adding potatoes to a meal can help to increase your body’s iron intake.
The biggest amount of iron is hiding in the potato’s skin, not the white potato itself. Within one 3.5-ounce potato (make sure you eat its skin), there are seven milligrams of iron to help you battle anemia.
Fish is always a healthy choice. But if you’re anemic, eating seafood is especially beneficial. Certain types of fish are high in iron, including canned-oil sardines, fresh or canned tuna, fresh haddock, salmon, perch, and halibut. Additionally, some shellfish such as clams, shrimp, and oysters are thought to be good sources of iron.
It’s important to note that, while canned and fresh salmon are great for iron, canned salmon can be high in calcium. Calcium can be problematic for iron consumption – calcium can bind with iron and therefore decrease your body’s absorption.
Most vegetarians and vegans turn to beans as an excellent meat substitute. Beans are full of protein, but they’re also a fantastic food due to their high iron content.
Beans are also very versatile for meals – and they’re inexpensive. Some solid iron-rich options include chickpeas, kidney beans, soybeans, black-eyed peas, lima beans, and peas. You can eat them on their own or incorporate them into various recipes and dishes.
Replacing your white flour with oat flour when you bake can be an easy way to increase your iron consumption, and you can have a little fun doing it!
While traditional white flour is the popular choice for baking, it isn’t very nutrient-dense. Oat flour, on the other hand, is a great source of iron. Within every cup of oat flour, you can get over nine milligrams of iron. That’s approximately 50 percent of the daily recommended amount for women who are premenopausal.
8. Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and nuts are popular snacks – and if you’re anemic, you’ll want to have them on hand anytime you’re hungry. Not only are these foods great to snack on, but they’re also a healthier alternative to chips and crackers. And they’re high in iron.
There are many different types of nuts and seeds that are rich in iron. Some that contain high iron are: pumpkin seeds, pistachios, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, and cashews. Keep in mind, while almonds are a great source of iron, they may also have high levels of calcium too.
A sweet snack filled with not only iron, but also plenty of vitamin C, dried apricots are an easy, tasty food that can help with anemia.
When you choose apricots, make sure you only buy dried apricots that don’t have added sulfites or sugar within. Opting for sugared dried apricots can cause bloating.
10. Fortified Iron Foods
Did you know that you can easily find foods that have added iron at your local grocery store? Items like cereals, pasta, white rice, and orange juice, along with other foods, are often sold with fortified iron or added iron. These foods are fortified with iron, so you’ll be sure you’re getting the right amount of nutrients when you choose these products.
Next time you’re shopping, make sure to look for fortified iron foods. You’ll find there are plenty of these types of items you can add to your diet that can help with anemia.
Manage Your Anemia By Eating These Foods
Anemia is quite common in the United States, with 10 million individuals dealing with the condition. And 5 million of those people – half of everyone living with anemia in America – are struggling with iron deficiency anemia.
Fortunately, making small changes to your diet and opting for foods that are high in iron can make a big difference. The right iron-rich foods, like those mentioned here, are a great place to start if you’ve just been diagnosed with anemia.
While diet can help with your anemia, it’s important to talk to your doctor about iron supplement options too, as every person and anemia case can be unique. Not everyone can enhance their iron intake with diet alone.