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Top 10 Foods Highest in Iron


Iron is an essential mineral used to transport oxygen to all parts of the body. A slight deficiency in iron causes anemia (fatigue/weakness), and a chronic deficiency can lead to organ failure. Conversely, too much iron leads to production of harmful free radicals, and interferes with metabolism, causing damage to organs like the heart and liver. The body is able to regulate uptake of iron, so overdose is rare and usually only occurs when people take supplements. Iron from natural food sources, like the ones listed below, are considered safe and healthy. While iron is better absorbed from heme (meat) sources, non-heme (plant) iron is better regulated causing less damage to the body. The current percent daily value (%DV) for iron is 18 milligrams (mg). Below is a list of high iron foods. For more high iron foods see the lists of high iron foods by nutrient density, iron rich foods (heme and non-heme), and the list of fruits and vegetables high in iron.

#1: Mollusks (Clams, Mussels, Oysters)
Iron in 100g3oz (85g)20 Small Clams (190g)
28mg (155% DV)24mg (132% DV)53mg (295% DV)
Similar Foods High in Iron (%DV per 3oz (85g)): Oysters (57%), Cuttlefish (51%), Whelk(48%), Octopus (45%), Mussels (32%), Abalone (18%), and Scallops (14%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.


#2: Liver (Pork, Chicken, Turkey, Lamb, Beef)
Iron in 100g4oz Serving (113g)1 ounce (28g)
23mg (129% DV)26mg (146% DV)7mg (36% DV)
Click to see complete nutrition facts.


#3: Squash and Pumpkin Seeds
Iron in 100g1 cup (227g)1 ounce (142 seeds) (28g)
15mg (83% DV)34mg (188% DV)4mg (23% DV)
Other Seeds High in Iron (%DV per ounce (28g)): Sesame (23%), Sunflower (11%), and Flax (9%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.


#4: Nuts (Cashew, Pine, Hazelnut, Peanut, Almond)
Iron in 100g1 cup (129g)1 ounce (18 cashews) (28g)
6.1mg (34% DV)7.8mg (43% DV)1.7mg (9% DV)
Other Nuts High in Iron (%DV per ounce (28g)): Pine nuts(9%), Hazelnuts (7%), Peanuts (7%), Almonds (7%), Pistachios (7%), and Macadamia (6%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.


#5: Beef and Lamb (Lean Tenderloin)
Iron in 100gYield from 1lb roast (251g)3 ounce serving (85g)
3.7mg (21% DV)9.3mg (51% DV)3.1mg (17% DV)
13% DV Iron in 3oz (85g) of Lean Lamb Roast. Click to see complete nutrition facts.


#6: Beans and Pulses (White Beans, Lentils)
Iron in 100g1 cup cooked (179g)1 Tablespoon (11g)
3.7mg (21% DV)6.6mg (37% DV)0.5mg (2% DV)
Other Beans High in Iron (%DV per cup cooked): Soybeans (49%), Lentils (37%), Kidney beans (29%), Garbanzo beans (Chickpeas) (26%), and Lima beans (25%), Navy (24%), Black Beans (Frijoles Negros) (20%), Pinto (20%), and Black-eyed Peas (20%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.


#7: Whole Grains, Fortified Cereals, and Bran
Iron in 100g of Quinoa1 cup of Quinoa (185g)
1.5mg (8% DV)2.8mg (15% DV)
Other Grains High in Iron (%DV per cup cooked): Oatmeal (12%), Barley (12%), Rice (11%), Bulgur (10%), Buckwheat (7%), and Millet (6%). Fortified cereals provide up to 140% DV of iron per cup. Check nutrition facts, and also be careful of the high sugar level in commercial cereals. Bran from whole grains can harm absorption of iron supplements, while whole grains are a good source of iron, they should not be consumed with iron supplements. Click to see complete nutrition facts.


#8: Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach, Swiss Chard)
Iron in 100g1 cup of Cooked Spinach (180g)
3.6mg (20% DV)6mg (36% DV)
Other Greens High in Iron (%DV per cup): Cooked Swiss Chard (22%), Cooked Turnip Greens (16%), Raw Kale (6%), and Raw Beet Greens (5%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.


#9: Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powder
Iron in 100g1 cup grated (132g)1 Square (29g)
17mg (97% DV)23mg (128% DV)5mg (28% DV)
1 cup of Cocoa Powder provides 66% DV. A 1.5oz (44g) candy chocolate bar provides 6% DV. Click to see complete nutrition facts.


#10: Tofu
Iron in 100g1 cup of firm tofu (126g)1/4 Block (81g)
2.7mg (15% DV)3.4mg (19% DV)2.2mg (12% DV)
Calcium can interfere with non-heme iron absorption. Try to buy tofu without added calcium for greater iron absorption. Click to see complete nutrition facts.



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The Top 10 High Iron Foods by Nutrient Density (Iron per Gram)

#1: Dried Herbs (Thyme, Parsley, Spearmint, Black Pepper, Marjoram) 124mg (687% DV) per 100 grams3.7mg (21% DV) per tablespoon (3 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Dried Herbs
#2: Fortified Cereals 68mg (376% DV) per 100 grams28mg (158% DV) per cup (42 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Enriched Bran Flakes
#3: Cocoa Powder 36mg (200% DV) per 100 grams1.8mg (10% DV) per tablespoon (5 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Cocoa Powder
#4: Spirulina (Dried Seaweed) 29mg (158% DV) per 100 grams2mg (11% DV) per tablespoon (7 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Spirulina
#5: Mollusks (Clams) 28mg (155% DV) per 100 grams24mg (132% DV) in a 3oz serving (85 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Clams
#6: Bran 19mg (103% DV) per 100 grams22mg (122% DV) per cup (118 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Rice Bran
#7: Liver 18mg (100% DV) per 100 grams15mg (85% DV) in a 3oz serving (85 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Pork Liver
#8: Squash and Pumpkin Seeds 15mg (83% DV) per 100 grams4mg (23% DV) per ounce (28 grams or 142 seeds)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Squash and Pumpkin Seeds
#9: Caviar (Fish Eggs) 12mg (66% DV) per 100 grams2mg (11% DV) per tablespoon (16 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Caviar (Fish Eggs)
#10: Sun-Dried Tomatoes 9mg (51% DV) per 100 grams0.2mg (1% DV) per piece (2 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Sun-Dried Tomatoes


Other Iron Rich Foods (Non-Heme)

Artichokes3.4mg (19% DV) per 100 gram serving5.1mg (28% DV) in 1 cup of slices (119 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Jerusalem Artichokes
Molasses4.7mg (26% DV) per 100 gram serving15.9mg (88% DV) per cup (337 grams)1mg (5% DV) per tablespoon (20 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Molasses
Sorghum Syrup3.8mg (21% DV) per 100 gram serving12.5mg (70% DV) per cup (330 grams)0.8mg (4% DV) per tablespoon (21 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Molasses
Dried Apricots6.3mg (35% DV) per 100 gram serving7.5mg (42% DV) per cup (119 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Dried Apricots
Prunes3.5mg (20% DV) per 100 gram serving4.7mg (26% DV) per cup (132 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Prunes
Raisins (Seedless)1.9mg (10% DV) per 100 gram serving3.1mg (17% DV) per cup (packed) (165 grams)0.8mg (5% DV) in a small 1.5oz box (43 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Seedless Raisins
Tempeh2.7mg (15% DV) per 100 gram serving4.5mg (25% DV) per cup (166 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Tempeh
Vital Wheat Gluten5.2mg (29% DV) per 100 gram serving1.5mg (8% DV) per ounce (28 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Vital Wheat Gluten
Whole Wheat Bread2.4mg (14% DV) per 100 gram serving1.4mg (8% DV) in two slices (56 grams)0.7mg (4% DV) per 1oz slice (28 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Whole Wheat Bread

Even More Iron Rich Foods (Heme)

Beef Lean Chuck Pot Roast2.9mg (16% DV) per 100 gram serving31.7mg (176% DV) per roast (1095 grams)2.5mg (14% DV) per 3oz serving (85 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Beef Lean Chuck Pot Roast
Turkey Meat (Dark)2.3mg (13% DV) per 100 gram serving2.1mg (12% DV) per pound of turkey (~91 grams)3.3mg (18% DV) per cup (140 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Turkey Meat (Dark)
Chicken Leg (Roasted)1.3mg (7% DV) per 100 gram serving1.2mg (7% DV) per leg (99 grams)1.8mg (10% DV) per cup (140 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Roasted Chicken Leg
Chicken Breast (Roasted)1mg (6% DV) per 100 gram serving0.5mg (3% DV) per breast (52 grams)1.46mg (8% DV) per cup (140 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Roasted Chicken Breast
Tuna (Bluefin)1.3mg (7% DV) per 100 gram serving1.1mg (6% DV) in a 3oz serving (85 grams)0.36mg (2% DV) per ounce (28 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Bluefin Tuna
Halibut1mg (6% DV) per 100 gram serving0.9mg (5% DV) in a 3oz serving (85 grams)1.7mg (9% DV) in half a fillet (159 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Halubut (Atlantic and Pacific)
Pork Chops (Loin)0.9mg (5% DV) per 100 gram serving0.8mg (4% DV) in a 3oz serving (85 grams)0.7mg (4% DV) per pork chop (79 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Pork Loin (Chops)
White Tuna (Canned)1mg (5% DV) per 100 gram serving0.8mg (5% DV) in a 3oz serving (85 grams)1.7mg (9% DV) per can (172 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Canned White Tuna
Shrimp (Prawns/Camarones)3.1mg (17% DV) per 100 gram serving2.6mg (15% DV) in a 3oz serving (85 grams)0.7mg (4% DV) in four large shrimp (22 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Shrimp (Prawns/Camarones)
To find even more high iron foods, use the nutrient ranking tool.


Heme Iron vs. Non-Heme Iron

  • Non-heme iron comes from plant foods, heme iron comes from animal foods
  • Heme iron can be absorbed more effciently by the body
  • The body can better regulate absorption of non-heme iron, helping to protect against toxic effects

Factors which Affect Iron Absorption and Retention

  • The most important factor is your existing iron level. A low iron level will increase absorption, while a high iron level will decrease absorption. In general, you absorb 10-15% of the iron from foods.2
  • Meat proteins will increase the absorption of nonheme iron.2
  • Vitamin C will increase the absorption of nonheme iron by as much as 85%.2,3
  • Tannins, oxalates, polyphenols, and phytates found in tea and coffee can reduce the absorption of non-heme iron by up to 65%. Black tea reduces absorption more than green tea and coffee.2,3,4
  • The following teas and beverages also inhibit iron absorption: Peppermint tea, cocoa, vervain, lime flower, chamomile, and most other herbal teas with polyphenols.4
  • Calcium, polyphenols, and phytates found in legumes, whole grains, and chocolate can reduce absorption of nonheme iron.
  • Some protein from soy products may inhibit nonheme iron absorption.2
  • Calcium, milk, and antacids can inhibit absorption of iron supplements.5
  • High fiber foods, such as whole grains, raw vegetables, and bran can inhibit absorption of iron supplements.5
  • Foods or drinks with caffeine can inhibit absorption of iron supplements.5

High Risk Groups for an Iron Deficiency

  • Menstruating Women - Due to blood loss during menstruation women of child bearing age are at risk of iron deficiency, the greater the blood loss the greater the risk.
  • Individuals with Kidney Failure - People with kidney failure, and especially those on dialysis, are at high risk of iron deficiency anemia. This is due to an inability of the kidney to create adequate amounts of the hormone erythropoietin which is necessary for red blood cell creation, and therefore, retaining iron.
  • Pregnant and lactating women - A developing fetus requires a high amount of iron, likewise, there is a high amount of iron lost through breast milk after birth.
  • Older infants and toddlers
  • People with low levels of Vitamin A - Vitamin A greatly helps move iron from storage in the body, without adequate amounts of vitamin A the body cannot regulate iron properly leading to an iron deficiency.
  • People with gastrointestinal disorders - Diarrhea, ulcers, and other gastrointestinal disorders and diseases can lead to an inadequate iron absorption.

Recipes High in Iron

Low Sugar Chocolate Banana Pudding
Vegetarian Kibbeh (Kibet Adas)
Spicey Lentil Cabbage
Split Pea Salad
Spicey Lentil Cabbage
Vegetarian Gumbo with Navy Beans
Pumpkin Soup with Yellow Split Peas
Lentil Soup

Warnings

  • Liver, clams, oysters, mussels, caviar, and shrimp are high cholesterol foods which should be eaten in moderate amounts and avoided by people at risk of heart disease or stroke.
  • Dark Chocolate, Pumpkin Seeds, Squash Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Dried Apricots, and Molasses are high calorie foods and should be eaten in moderate amounts by people with a high body mass index.





Comments.
Name:Anoti Sol Osita
Location:Nigeria
Subject:Foods in Nigeria that contain Iron with Less Cholesterol
Most of the foods or recipes mentioned are mostly found in Europe and in the Americas. Any sugestion for Western Africans, especially Nigeria? Thank You.
Posted on 2011-04-21 01:09:32
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Foods in Nigeria that contain Iron with Less Cholesterol
Hi Anoti, thanks for your question. How about focus on eating beans and lentils? Lima beans, Navy beans, Black beans, and Pinto beans are all high in iron. What kind of beans do you have in Nigeria? You can also try eating more cooked spinach, which is low in cholesterol, and promotes heart health. If you must eat meat, go for lean beef, which is high in iron. Be sure to pick cuts without any fat so you do not eat any cholesterol. If it is available, eat dark chocolate, which is very high in iron, and a cholesterol lowering food.
Posted on 2011-04-21 03:11:21
Name:Pani
Location:Lodon
Subject:Cocoa-Iron
Does cocoa interfere with iron absorbtion?
Posted on 2011-05-06 15:02:13
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Cocoa-Iron
Hi Pani, thanks for your question. The short answer is that the polyphenols in dark chocolate (cocoa) have been shown to inhibit some iron absorption, however, you still absorb iron from dark chocolate. The long answer is that nutrient absorption is complex, and there are many factors affecting absorption of iron which are different for everyone. The polyphenols in chocolate (and other plant foods) which inhibit some iron absorption also carry a lot of health benefits. Further, iron from plant foods like dark chocolate and spinach has been shown to better regulate iron absorption than iron from animal foods. This regulation helps to prevent iron toxicity and related health problems from too much iron in the blood. Iron from plant foods, even those with polyphenols, is recommended over iron from animal sources.
Posted on 2011-05-08 19:29:09
Name:Jennifer
Location:Tampa, FL
Subject:Why hasn't this been mentioned?
An excellent source of iron is farina. I suppose its not as common as the mentioned items but its quite healthy and can be flavored accordingly. Its available in most grocery stores and/or health food stores. If you like oatmeal, you should definitely give farina a try.
Posted on 2011-05-11 18:44:49
Name:Jay
Location:US
Subject:Excess Iron is Detrimental to Longevity
Iron in cellular lysosomes generate hydroxyl radicals which utimately leads to formation of lipofuscin. Search www.pubmed.gov for "lysosome iron".
Posted on 2011-05-20 21:18:00
Name:Anonymous
Subject:Beef and Iron
Beef is high in iron. Why did you not list it? Most of your list is not heme iron, and therefore, second rate sources. For this nutrient, beef is essential.
Posted on 2011-06-28 21:07:41
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Beef and Iron
Thanks for your comment. Beef is listed under the additional tables below the top 10 list. If you look at the values you will see that beef is actually not that high in iron compared with other sources. People have their own opinions on whether plant (non-heme) vs. animal (heme) iron is more healthy. Both heme and non-heme sources of iron are listed in this article.
Posted on 2011-06-29 07:30:49
Name:Kirsty
Location:Morocco
Subject:Thanx
Who would have thought dried herbs, a surprise. Here in Morocco 'Zatar' is a thyme used for tea when one has a cold. Spearment and wormwood (usually fresh) are regularly used for tea. So how much iron do you think comes out from herbs in tea? Thanx
Posted on 2011-07-05 08:18:37
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Iron and Tea
Hi Kirsty, thanks for your question. Unfortunately most of the iron would remain in the dried herb with very little of it entering the tea. Further, the tannins found in some non-herb black or green teas can inhibit iron absorption. Despite this fact herb teas are a great low calorie drink that are good for your health. Further dried herbs are an extremely nutrient dense food appearing on most of the top 10 nutrient density lists of HealthAliciousNess.
Posted on 2011-07-05 09:11:52
Name:Marlene
Location:Montreal
Subject:Anemia
Is "anemia" a synonym for "low iron" ?
Posted on 2011-07-08 15:05:44
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Anemia
Hi Marlene, thanks for your question. Anemia is defined as having inadequate levels of blood or hemoglobin in the body. Common symptoms of anemia include weakness, fatigue, tiredness, the inability to concentrate, and even heart palpitations. Even though low iron levels can cause anemia, having anemia does not mean that your iron levels are low! Anemia can also be caused by a deficiency in vitamin B12, a deficiency in folate (vitamin B9), and a variety of other conditions. In short, anemia does not necessary indicate low iron levels.
Posted on 2011-07-08 17:30:01
Name:Juvilyn Bautista
Location:Philippines
Subject:Calcium
Does calcium decrease absorption of iron?
Posted on 2011-07-16 17:12:38
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Calcium
Hi Juvilyn, thanks for your question. There is evidence that calcium decreases iron absorption, however, this is more from calcium supplements than eating high calcium foods. It seems the more calcium you eat the less iron you absorb. You can avoid this problem by eating calcium 2 hours before, or 2 hours after you eat high iron foods.
Posted on 2011-07-16 17:31:11
Name:Jay G
Location:Washington DC
Subject:Hemochromatosis
Any advice on how to put a diet together wiht this problem so I can reduce my iron count. I also can eat gluten so that makes it more complicated. Thanks.
Posted on 2011-07-22 06:32:12
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Hemochromatosis
Hi Jay, thanks for your question. Your body can better regulate iron absorption from plant (non-heme) sources, so cutting back, or eliminating, animal foods can help maintain your blood iron at normal levels. Further, vitamin C enhances iron absorption. Cutting back on foods high in vitamin C may help reduce iron absorption. If you have iron stored in your body vitamin A foods can help to remove it from storage and lower your iron levels.
Posted on 2011-08-02 10:26:54
Name:Reece
Location:Texas
Subject:Spinach
Hi. I'm somewhat confused with spinach. Overall, it is an excellent source of iron, but I have read that the oxalates in spinach actually carry iron away from the body. Also, spinach is high in calcium, as well. So wouldn't the presence of the two interfere with absorption of each other?
Posted on 2011-08-15 10:37:48
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Spinach
Hi Reece, thanks for a great question. As stated in a post above, most of the interference from calcium comes only when consuming calcium supplements, and not from natural sources of calcium, like spinach. Further, while spinach contains oxalates which do inhibit absorption of iron, spinach also contains vitamin C which promotes absorption of iron. Basically, you will still absorb iron from spinach, and like all plant sources of iron, it will not be absorbed as efficiently as meat sources, but will be better regulated by your body and will still be a good source of iron.
Posted on 2011-08-15 10:42:52
Name:Tsholofelo
Location:Botswana
Subject:Iron and Vitamin C
Hi I am currently eleven years old. I lack iron and vitamin c, any advice on what i should eat?
Posted on 2011-08-21 09:04:04
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Iron and Vitamin C
Hi Tsholofelo, thanks for your question. You should focus on eating fruits and vegetables high in iron since fruits and vegetables are also high in vitamin C. Particularly try eat more dark leafy green vegetables like spinach, and kale. Also, try to eat more lentils like peas, split peas, and lentils. Click here for a recipe of pumpkin split pea soup where you can replace the pumpkin with other vegetables like spinach. Hope that helps, remember every little bit counts.
Posted on 2011-08-21 10:24:14
Name:Hope
Location:Gaborone
Subject:Fruit or Vegetable with the Most Iron And Vitamin C?
Hi, I'm asking for just one fruit or vegetable that has the MOST iron and vitamin C.
Posted on 2011-08-21 22:11:11
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Fruit or Vegetable with the Most Iron And Vitamin C?
Hi Hope, thanks for your question. The one fruit or vegetable with the most vitamin C is raw spinach. Raw spinach has more vitamin C than cooked spinach, so try make sure it is uncooked raw spinach.
Posted on 2011-08-22 06:51:31
Name:Elizabeth Smith
Location:United States
Subject:Thanks!!! :)
Wow!!! I just wanted to say thank you for all of the wonderful information you have on iron. It has helped me a lot. Thanks so much!
Posted on 2011-09-20 09:51:09
Name:Laurie
Location:Edmonton,Alberta Canada
Subject:Extremely Low Iron
I have extremly low Iron, my number is only at 3 for Feritin. I was doing transfusions of just iron, but I am looking to put together a meal plan high in Iron can you please help?
Posted on 2011-09-27 13:26:36
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Extremely Low Iron
Hi Laurie, thanks for your question and sorry to hear of your low iron. Maybe instead of a meal plan, you should incorporate high iron foods in a new way. For example, sprinkle dried oregano on all your salads, sauces, sandwiches, and soups. Buy and eat more dark chocolate. At least 80% cacao. Liver is high in cholesterol, but will get your iron numbers up, try p‚tť on a sandwich, or buy some liver sausages. Clam chowder is also high in cholesterol, but maybe try eat it once a week. Snack on pumpkin and squash seeds, try using tahini (sesame butter) instead of peanut butter. Further, eat foods high in vitamin C as these help your body absorb iron. Has your health provider given you any insight to this issue? Your low iron level may not be able to be corrected by diet alone and you should consult with your health provider to be sure what exactly is causing your low iron levels.
Posted on 2011-09-27 13:46:02
Name:Greg
Location:Cornwall UK
Subject:Hemochromatosis
I am trying to get my head around this newly diagnosed condition. At the head of this article, it states that vitimin a helps move iron from storage in the body, but later messages say that vitimin a is used to store iron in the organs. Too much iron has given me diabetis. I am to be bled weekly to reduce my iron level. It is further stated that we need iron to feed our red cells and give us energy, I have to much iron, but am always tired? I am not certain what I can do to help myself, any advice welcomed.
Posted on 2011-10-01 16:44:53
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Hemochromatosis
Hi Greg, thanks for your comment and question. To clarify, vitamin A helps regulate iron in the body. A deficiency of iron in the blood could suggest that iron is stuck in storage in the liver and vitamin A is needed to help release this iron to bring levels back to normal.2 From the point of view of having too much iron, vitamin A would help get iron out of your liver, but only if the iron level in your blood falls. Basically vitamin A helps regulate the level of iron in your blood by freeing it out of storage. The best thing you can do right now is to become vegan and cut all animal foods: meat, dairy, eggs, etc...This is because iron is more efficiently absorbed from animal based foods and the body can not regulate iron from animal foods as well as it can from plant foods. Further, even though proper levels of iron are needed to ensure good energy levels, fatigue and tiredness are symptoms of having too much iron. You can find more information about high iron levels (Hemochromatosis) at the pubmed page on the subject.
Posted on 2011-10-01 18:58:54
Name:Denise
Subject:Needed quick iron rich food information
Thank you for such a comprehensive nutritional site. I found my information quickly and can make diet changes immediately. Be well!
Posted on 2011-10-04 08:14:37
Name:Kevin
Subject:How much is too much iron from juicing and eating?
I am thankful I found this site, because I have been organic juicing produce for a month, and have developed new symptoms (health is messed up from possible M.S/brain lesions). Anyway, so I had an online naturopath tell me I could be iron deficient, and another told me I could have too much iron because I have been juicing 1 beet or 1/2 beet daily with other veggies (carrots, parsley, kale, collard green),and eating some iron type foods - dried apricots, brown rice, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds. So, now I am concerned. I do try to balance my mostly vegan diet. I know beets are potent, that's why I dont do much of them, so I doubt I did enough to do damage. Now I'm even worried about juicing parsley, kale. Thank you.
Posted on 2011-10-06 18:22:49
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: How much is too much iron from juicing and eating?
Hi Kevin, thanks for your question. It is unlikely that your juicing has caused you to have high iron levels. This is because the body can effectively regulate iron absorption from fruits, vegetables, and other plant sources. Further, if you had high levels of iron your might experience nose bleeds or diarrhea. If you are feeling weak or anemic, there is a chance that you have iron deficiency, or perhaps a deficiency in vitamin B12 since you are vegan. If you can, get your blood tested for iron content.
Posted on 2011-10-07 14:59:17
Name:Zoe
Location:U.S.
Subject:How much iron each day?
I am having symptoms of anemia, and I believe it is due to iron deficiency. I am a vegetarian, I eat cheese and milk but rarely eggs. I am also going through a growth spurt. (Although I know it is not due to blood loss, I have not yet begun menstruating). When I think about it, I have a diet very low in iron, and in the past couple of days, I have been feeling terribly tired and having trouble concentrating at school. Today I started taking an over-the-counter, slow-release iron supplement. It is 45mg (from 143mg ferrous sulfate), and the dosage is 1 per day. I was wondering if that was too little or too much for someone my age and size if I think I am iron deficient?(13 year old girl, roughly 100 pounds) I also wanted to know how much iron I should be eating daily, because I want to include more iron-rich foods in my diet along with the iron supplement, but I don't want to end up with too much iron. Thanks!
Posted on 2011-11-07 22:42:21
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: How much iron each day?
Hi Zoe, thanks for your question. According to the U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements the percent daily value of iron for a girl your age is 8mg. So the supplement you are taking is definitely providing more than enough iron. It would probably be best to focus on getting iron from vegetarian sources like dark chocolate, sesame butter, or fruits and vegetables high in iron. Please note that too much iron can be harmful to your health. Also, as you are a vegetarian, there is a chance that your anemia is caused by a deficiency in vitamin B12. Try eating more vegetarian sources of vitamin B12. Also, consider consulting your health care provider if your symptoms get worse, or do not improve soon.
Posted on 2011-11-07 22:50:34
Name:Kathy
Location:New Mexico
Subject:Hemochromatosis and Diet
I was just diagnosed with Hemochromatosis. Normal range is 20 - 288. My level is 591! I have been advised to eliminate all iron rich foods/drinks, take Lactoferria and Liver Maintenance. Also, to donate blood - re-check in 3 weeks. I trust my nutritional consultants completely. Do you have any other advise or information?
Posted on 2011-11-11 23:38:54
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Hemochromatosis and Diet
Hi Kathy, thanks for your question. In addition to your current lifestyle changes, you may also consider becoming vegan, since absorption of iron is better regulated from plant foods. Do you know what has caused your Hemochromatosis? Is it diet alone? Finding out the cause will be essential to getting your iron levels back to normal. Hemochromatosis can have a genetic compenent. Ask your relatives if any of them have had similar symptoms and what they did to get better. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2011-11-12 09:08:27
Name:Sonia
Location:UK
Subject:Low Ferritin Levels
After childbirth in 2010 I ended up with a blood transfusion due to blood loss. My hb is now 12.8 however my iron stores (ferritin) is 18. I'm due to give birth again in 3 months and the doctors would like to see my ferritin levels at 70 in case of any further blood loss. I'm a strict vegetarian (no meat, fish, or eggs) however do drink milk and eat cheese. Can you suggest any foods in particular that will increase my ferritin levels within 12 weeks? Will a glass of fresh orange and spinach juice do the trick?
Posted on 2011-11-15 20:25:56
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Low Ferritin Levels
Hi Sonya, thanks for your question. First to clarify, ferratin is a protein that attaches to iron in your body and therefore can be used to measure iron stores in your body. Ferratin is ubiquitous and plentiful in your body, so when you ask to boost your ferratin levels you are really talking about increasing your iron stores. 12 Weeks is a good time frame to boost your iron stores with food, however, please note that the amount of iron you absorb can also depend on genetic factors. Even though you are vegetarian, iron is more effeciently and effectively absorbed from animal foods. If you are willing to make an exception to eat shellfish, this will likely be the fastest way to boost your iron levels. However, many vegetarian options also exist, consider eating more dark chocolate, sun dried tomatoes, and dried apricots, in addition to your orange/spinach juice. Here also is a list of fruits and vegetables high in iron. Hope that helps and good luck increasing your iron levels!
Posted on 2011-11-15 20:25:56
Name:Aliana
Location:Hawaii
Subject:Can being anemic cause a miscarriage?
Hi, I recently had a miscarriage at 5 weeks and my OB found out I was anemic, could this have caused a miscarriage to the unborn fetus? Is there anything I could do for the future of a successful pregnancy? Thanks.
Posted on 2011-11-20 18:54:59
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Can being anemic cause a miscarriage?
Hi Aliana, sorry to hear of your loss. The causes of miscarriages are unknown and it is unlikely that your anemia caused the miscarriage. What is more likely is that your pregnancy lead to your anemia. That said, preventing your anemia for the next time is certainly the right thing to do, and will only increase your chances of having a successful pregnancy. Increase your intake of foods high in iron, vitamin B12, and folate (vitamin B9). Hope that helps and best wishes for the future.
Posted on 2011-11-22 21:23:40
Name:Nethma
Location:Sri Lanka
Subject:An Egg Per Day
Hello, I do not eat meat or fish but I take 3 cups of milk tea and 1 egg per day. So I just wanted to know is it ok to get an egg per day as it contains lots of cholesterol? Is it good to take milk (powdered) with tea? Thank you.
Posted on 2011-12-16 17:01:06
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: An Egg Per Day
Hi Nethma, thanks for your question. If you do not eat any other animal products and only eat 1 egg per day, then it is unlikely you will experience cholesterol problems. This is true only if you do not eat butter, or any other high cholesterol foods. That said, neither eggs, nor powdered milk are a good source of iron. You would be better trying to get iron from beans, lentils, and dark leafy greens like spinach.
Posted on 2011-12-16 17:01:06
Name:Jisang
Location:Thimphu
Subject:Heavy Bleeding during Menstruation
I am a pure vegetarian women, one day when I was in office I became unconscious and hospitalized for few days. I was bleeding heavily the past few days before this incident. The doctor told me I had low BP and my body contained less blood. They told me to eat iron rich food items. So, can you kindly suggest me what type of food items are best for a pure vegetarian women like me to improve my blood volume? And also tell me what caused me to bleed heavily during my period? Is heavy bleeding a serious issue for me? Please tell me how to stop this problem?
Posted on 2012-01-16 01:15:49
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Heavy Bleeding during Menstruation
Hi Jisang, thanks for your questions and sorry to hear of what happened. Dried herbs, dark chocolate, sesame seeds, squash seeds, or sun flower seeds are all excellent vegetarian sources of iron. Also consider beans, lentils, tofu, spinach, kale, and any other non-heme source of iron. There is also a list of fruits and vegetables high in iron. The amount you bleed during menstruation can depend on a variety of factors including your genetics and hormones. If you experience heavy bleeding for several consecutive months, your health care provider can perform tests to identify the cause, however, in some cases, it is simply genetic. Keep eating high iron foods, and also be sure you consume enough milk, yogurt, eggs, and other vegetarian sources of vitamin B12, as well as high folate foods to prevent anemia. Good luck!
Posted on 2012-01-18 21:05:24
Name:Nancy Dyer
Location:Prague, Czech Republic
Subject:Iron levels in Egg Yolk
Hello, Regarding your last comment that eggs are not a good source of iron, I wonder if you could expand as I have previously heard that egg yolk is one of the best sources of iron. I have also heard of people being recommended to have Guinness due to the high level of iron it contains - what are your thoughts on it? Thank you in advance, Nancy.
Posted on 2012-01-18 21:25:55
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:Iron levels in Egg Yolk
Hi Nancy, thanks for your questions. Looking at the nutrition facts for egg yolks and eggs you can see that a large egg yolk provides 0.5mg (3% DV) of iron, and a large whole egg provides 0.9mg (5% DV) of iron. A single table spoon of dried thyme, by contrast, will provide 3.7mg (21% DV) of iron. There is no analysis available for the iron content of Guinness Beer, but given that the nutrition facts for regular beer only yields 0.07mg (0% DV) of iron, it is unlikely that Guinness is a good source of iron.
Posted on 2012-01-18 23:31:32
Name:Lisa
Location:UK
Subject:Iron and Calcium
Hi there, I have recently been informed that I am not eating enough iron and calcium. I don't really eat meat (I'm not a vegtetarian but I like to keep a slim figure and so prefer chicken, fish, and vegetarian dishes to meat for that reason). I am looking for low calorie foods which would provide a lot of iron and calcium. Could you help? Thanks.
Posted on 2012-01-28 23:55:56
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Iron and Calcium
Hi Lisa, thanks for your question. The best low calorie foods for both iron and calcium are dried herbs and dark leafy greens. One cup of cooked spinach will provide 36% DV of iron and 24% DV of calcium for just 42 calories. One cup of cooked kale will provide 9% DV of calcium and 7% DV of iron at just 36 calories. If you make a lot of bean dishes or stews, trying added a tablespoon of dried thyme. This will add 27% DV of iron and 8% DV of calcium for just 11 calories. You can see the complete nutrition facts for these foods here. For more food ideas try using the nutrient ranking tool.
Posted on 2012-01-29 02:34:30
Name:Roni
Location:Israel
Subject:Coumadin and foods, excepting green vegetables
I am taking coumadin and not allowed to eat green vegetables. What can I take to increase my iron supply, which is low?
Posted on 2012-02-01 15:52:42
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Coumadin and foods, excepting green vegetables
Hi Roni, thanks for your question. When you are taking Coumadin, you need to avoid foods high in vitamin K, since vitamin K causes blood to coagulate and counteracts the affect of Coumadin. Most foods high in vitamin K are green vegetables, but not all, so be sure to limit your intake of vitamin K. As for iron, you can eat roasted sesame seeds (also tahini), sunflower seeds, dried apricots, olives, and Jerusalem-artichokes (but not Globe or French artichokes). If you eat meat then eat shell fish (oysters, clams), and octopus should be fine, but check nutrition facts of each type of fish/meat before eating to be sure. For more ideas you can use the nutrient ranking tool to find foods with the highest iron to vitamin K ratio. You can also talk to your doctor about taking an iron supplement.
Posted on 2012-02-01 21:48:33
Name:G
Location:New Jersey
Subject:Iron Cookware?
My folks always cooked with iron cookware and used to say it increased their iron intake. It sounds logical. What's your take? Trying to increase my one year old's intake of iron since it's been low (and mine - we're vegetarian). Trying to get it from all angles...
Posted on 2012-02-08 21:36:47
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Iron Cookware?
Hi G, thanks for your question. At least one study supports that cooking with iron cookware increases iron content of foods and iron absorption. This is especially true for acid liquid like applesauce and spaghetti sauce. This webpage has more information on iron increases from iron cookware.
Posted on 2012-02-09 06:00:56
Name:Lee
Location:Australia
Subject:Dried vs fresh
Hi, Are the iron levels the same, when herbs are fresh? If not, can you tell me how they increase with drying? Fascinating! I use lots of fresh herbs, but not many dried. Thanks.
Posted on 2012-02-14 20:21:13
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Dried vs fresh
Hi Lee, thanks for your question. The concentration of iron increases in dried herbs because they don't have the same water content of fresh herbs, and therefore, weight less, and contain more iron gram per gram. In general dried foods will concentrate nutrients, with a few exceptions, like vitamin C. Look at the nutrition comparison of a teaspoon of fresh time vs a teaspoon of dried thyme to get more detail. Basically, it would be good to add more dried herbs to foods when you can, while maintaining your current consumption of fresh herbs.
Posted on 2012-02-15 16:57:54
Name:Selma
Location:UK
Subject:Ferritin Levels
I understand that Ferritin levels can be low, but the health service will record this as 'low normal', and not act with regard to nutrition/supplements, yet many women of menstruating age, have very low levels of ferritin. (A female friend who is a psychiatrist, and was herself, low in ferritin, conducted some research and discovered that many women are erroneously diagnosed with depression, but if their nutritional requirements are addressed, they are fine. This advice would apply to many ailments i.e. address ones nutrition, treat the cause, not the symptoms). I currently have menorrhagia, brought on by long term stress. I eat a healthy diet, rich in heme & non-heme iron. I now take Ferrous gluconate 1 x 300mg per day, (prescribed by my doctor), and this has had a marked positive effect on my energy/stamina/sleep. I take Cod Liver Oil, with added Vitamins A, D & E in the morning, with breakfast (from a bottle, far more economical than capsules), and have Magnesium OK tablet and Evening Primrose capsule at lunchtime, and take the Ferrous Gluconate with an evening meal, taking care not to have calcium/dairy rich food, with it, as this can inhibit absorption of iron. Also - many foods are high in specific vitamins/minerals, but that does not mean that they are readily absorbed.
Posted on 2012-02-17 19:32:05
Name:Sara
Location:Thailand
Subject:Hemoglobin and Pregnancy
Im 22 and I'm trying to concieve. My hemoglobin level is 10.6. Do low hemoglobin levels prevent conception?
Posted on 2012-03-09 13:08:51
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Hemoglobin and Pregnancy
Hi Sara, thanks for your question. Currently there are no studies or data to suggest that low hemoglobin levels will affect your chance of pregnancy. However, you do want to be sure to have normal hemoglobin levels (12.1 to 15.1 gm/dL) to ensure proper transport of oxygen and proper development of your child once you do become pregnant. Eat more iron rich foods and try to get your level up!
Posted on 2012-03-09 13:15:08
Name:Minoo
Location:California
Subject:Hemoglobin and wine
Hi, I was wondering if drinking wine can prevent the absorbance of iron in my body? I am 56 years old, with an iron level of 11.9. Thanks.
Posted on 2012-03-16 15:04:52
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Hemoglobin and wine
Hi Minoo, thanks for your question. Wine contains polyphenols which some studies have suggested may inhibit iron absorption. This study suggests that red wine inhibits more iron than white wine, but in the end, concludes that drinking wine does not have any significant effect on iron levels. Basically, wine is probably not the reason you have slightly low iron levels. Tea and coffee however may inhibit iron absorption. If you drink tea or coffee you may consider cutting back on your consumption. If you are not vegetarian eat more heme (meat) sources of iron which can be more effectively absorbed by your body. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2012-03-17 01:02:51
Name:Anon
Location:Australia
Subject:Low Iron
Hi... I was wondering what foods are best for me since my iron levels are on 3...and I don't eat any meat except for chicken and occasionally tuna....Im 14 years old and I udnerstand that having iron this low is not generally 'normal'?
Posted on 2012-03-17 14:50:17
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Low Iron
Thanks for your question. Do you have any symptoms of anemia or iron deficiency like weakness and fatigue? It seems your iron level is quite low. If you are willing to change your diet try to eat shellfish like clams and oysters. Animal food sources are more effective sources of iron, but you can also try some of these fruits and veggies highest in iron. Lastly, you may also consider an iron supplement.
Posted on 2012-03-17 14:50:17
Name:Sonja
Location:OC CA
Subject:Low ferritin iron and hypothyroidism
Thank you for your article and time. Is there a relationship between hypothyroidism and ferritin levels?
Posted on 2012-03-25 18:46:50
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Low ferritin iron and hypothyroidism
Hi Sonja, thanks for your question. One study suggests that iron deficiency anemia can impair the function of thyroid hormone, however, there are not any other studies to suggest a relationship between low ferritin levels and hypothyroidism. Further, if you are taking thyroid hormone, the Library of Medicine suggests you should not take any iron supplements as well as fiber, calcium, multivitamins, aluminum hydroxide antacids, colestipol, or medicines that bind bile acids. Given this fact, it is unlikely that there is any significant relationship between low ferritin levels and hypothyroidism.
Posted on 2012-03-25 21:53:28
Name:Myrna Loucks
Location:Cornwall, ON Canada
Subject:Low Iron
Recent bloodwork showed my iron level was 6. The range is 11-300. I am concerned because of upcoming surgery. They recommend 1 or 2 infusions of iron. Any drawbacks with this? Could I not increase levels sufficiently with high iron food sources? Comments appreciated.
Posted on 2012-03-30 14:27:34
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Low Iron
Hi Myrna, thanks for your question. Whether or not you can increase your iron level from foods depends on a variety of factors, including if you have a gastrointenstinal disorder, or some other condition that prevents you from absorbing iron and maintainings iron stores. You can talk to your doctor about postponing your surgery and try to eat high iron foods from animal or (heme) sources, especially liver and clams, to see if you can get your levels up in a 1-2 month period. According to this study the iron infusion does have drawbacks including possible allergic reactions, nausea, severe diarrhea, metallic taste, moderate hypotension, and local phlebitis (inflammation). It would be worth trying a supplement or the dietary route first if you can.
Posted on 2012-03-30 16:07:51
Name:Donna
Location:St. Lucia
Subject:Low iron and intake levels
Hello, thank you for the useful information. Recently both my son and myself tested for low hemoglobin and the doctor suggested increasing iron intake. I searched the web and found out that for a 4 year old he should get 10mg a day. My questions is: since his levels are low, would 10mg be enough or should he be taking more until the hgb is normal? Also, I understand that if he consumes 10mg of iron this does not mean that he actually absorbed the whole 10mg, is that correct? The doctor suggested a multi vitamin with iron. I found one organic children multi vitamin which has 9mg and I plan to give him red meat, chicken, spinach, dark chocolate etc at qty which he will take, like all children his age, sometimes he eats more and sometimes less so I figure the chewable tablet will at least cover the 9mg on days that he won't eat the meat. What do you think? I do not want to give him too much but my logic tells me that if he is deficient then he should be getting more than the reccomnded amount until his levels are back to normal...is this correct?
Posted on 2012-03-30 16:16:08
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Low iron and intake levels
Hi Donna, thanks for your question. You are right that not all the iron listed in nutrition facts will be absorbed (bioavailable) and it is ok to give your son foods that have more than 10mg of iron. It should be noted that iron in high doses can be dangerous, especially from supplements. However, iron is well regulated by the body, and excess iron is typically stored, thus, giving your son more than the percent daily value (DV) will help build his iron stores. Focus on giving him sources of iron from animal foods like liver, tuna, or beef as these heme sources are more easily absorbed into the body. When your son's iron levels improve you will want to give him more spinach and dark chocolate as the iron from those non-heme sources will be better regulated by his body, reducing his chances of having high blood iron levels.
Posted on 2012-03-30 16:27:01
Name:Donna
Location:St. Lucia
Subject:Spinach
Thank you for the answer. I have further questions if you don't mind. Do you know the amount of iron in mg per ml of juiced spinach? Would the juice of raw spinach contain as much iron as the whole leaf or cooked spinach? Would mixing spinach juice with apple juice or honey be a good idea? Thank you again for the useful information.
Posted on 2012-03-31 12:11:43
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Spinach
Hi Donna, more questions are always welcomed. It is difficult to know the amount of iron that would be retained in spinach juice and would depend on how filtered or strained the spinach juice is. In general, cooked spinach contains more iron gram per gram than raw spinach. This is because cooked spinach has less water than raw spinach, and mixing in purreed cooked spinach will likely provide more iron. Apple juice and honey is an interesting strategy and should be fine. You might also try mixing spinach juice with orange or strawberry juice, as both fruits are high in vitamin C, and vitamin C can help enhance iron absorption. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2012-03-31 12:22:13
Name:Myrna
Subject:Things Affecting Iron Absorption
I've recently had my iron show a low reading of 6 and wonder if my drinking lots of coffee and tea daily affect my iron levels. If it does have a negative effect, is it the caffeine that is found in these two drinks? Would sodas have the same effect? I don't drink more than 1 soda a week but I've developed a bad habit of drinking between 6 and 8 cups a day. Appreciate hearing your comments.
Posted on 2012-04-01 12:57:36
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Things Affecting Iron Absorption
Hi Myrna, thanks for your question. According to this study tea can lower iron absorption by 65% and coffee by 35%. This is not because of the caffeine in these drinks, but because of the polyphenols, phytates, and tannins.ref Interestly the same study found that orange juice (due to vitamin C) can increase absorption by 85% and sodas can slightly increase absorption. However, due to the high sugar content in sodas, you may want to reduce your soda consumption. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2012-04-01 13:21:32
Name:Ava
Location:Fayetteville, AR
Subject:Heme comment...
Heme foods are HIGHER in iron, they absolutely are not "better absorbed" by the body, the opposite is true in fact. Non-heme foods (natural foods)are much better absorbed by the body so even though they are in smaller amounts they are "better" irons than Heme iron foods are. It is an annoyingly clingy myth that vegetarians and vegans are more prone to anemia because of this heme vs non heme thing- studies have shown they do NOT have a statistically higher incidence and non-heme irons are certainly better absorbed/processed by the body!
Posted on 2012-05-11 15:51:56
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Heme comment...
Hi Ava, thanks for your comment. It can be said that non-heme sources are better absorbed in terms of being better regulated, however, this article claims that heme sources are absorbed at 15%-35% while non-heme sources are absorbed at 2%-20% of the iron content. The Office of Dietary Suppelements echos that heme sources have a higher absorption rate. Part of the reason for the lower absorption from non-heme sources might be because the body does not need more iron and can better avoid absorbing iron from non-heme plants. You are also right to say that vegans and vegetarians need not be at risk of iron deficiency as long as they take care of their diet, and also that non-heme sources of iron can reduce long term health risks of Hemochromatosis (high blood iron).
Posted on 2012-05-15 11:49:00
Name:Kitty
Location:Britain
Subject:Iron & Running
Hello, I've been told I have low iron and have been given ferrous fumarole tablets to help increase my iron levels. I am a runner and have noticed a significant effect on my running - heavy legs, breathlessness, struggling with runs which were once straightforward distances that I enjoyed and found a breeze...I want to alter my diet to ensure I eat foods which boost my iron levels and protein levels to aid muscle repair and circulation of oxygen but also to avoid foods which prevent iron absorption. Can you please recommend key foods I should avoid and eat. There's so much info out there I'm a bit confused. Although I do eat meat, my diet tends to be more veg and fish. I don't really eat much red meat but willing to give anything a try and feeling a bit despondent about the effect my iron levels has had on my running. Any advice would be much appreciated and welcomed.
Posted on 2012-05-29 03:04:12
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Iron & Running
Hi Kitty, thanks for your question and comment. A new section will be created for the best foods to eat to increase iron levels. For now, the best foods you can eat are shellfish, like muscles, clams, and oysters, as well as liver (P‚tť). This can be in the form of buying a canned soup (clam chowder), or making your own seafod dish. Both shellfish and liver are also high in vitamin b12, which can help to prevent anemia and boost athletic performance. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2012-05-29 03:11:43
Name:Lea
Location:FL
Subject:Spirulina and Quinoa
Can you give any advice on the foods above? My iron is very low and so I wanted to eat foods highest in iron...however I noticed you did not mention either of these two.
Posted on 2012-07-10 21:47:14
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Spirulina and Quinoa
Hi Lea, thanks for your quesiton. One cup of cooked quinoa provides 2.8mg (15% DV) of iron, so it is quite a good source. One tablespoon of dried spirulina provides 2mg (11% DV) of iron, and can be a good source too depending on how much you consume. Hope that helps, here are the complete nutrition facts for quinoa and spirulina.
Posted on 2012-07-10 23:06:49
Name:Lucie
Location:London, England
Subject:Green Tea vs Black Tea
Hi, after noticing that my hair was falling much more than the norm. I asked my doctor to do a blood test. I was told that my iron level was below what it should be and he prescribed me ferrous gluconate 300mg for 2 months. I'm also trying to eat more pulses and green veggies, and cutting down on tea. I've swiched to green tea or white tea instead of the mug of "rocket fuel" very strong black tea with milk first thing in the morning I used to drink. Do you think that would help build up my iron levels??? Also I don't eat red meat only chicken rarely and fish.
Posted on 2012-07-10 23:13:07
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Green Tea vs Black Tea
Hi Lucie, you are doing the right thing, as green tea contains fewer oxalates than black tea. Oxalates are thought to hurt iron absorption. Trying to eat the pulses and green veggies is good too. If your levels don't improve soon you may want to explore other reasons for your low blood iron.
Posted on 2012-07-10 23:13:07
Name:Beth
Location:United States
Subject:Another food to try!
Seaweed is high in iron too!
Posted on 2012-09-13 00:11:36
Name:El
Location:UK
Subject:Eat above the DV?
Thanks for all the information this has been really useful for me. Is it OK to eat above the DV if I have been told I need to increase my HB? Currently it is 10.8 which is not bad, but am due to give birth in the next 4 weeks so advised to get it above 11. Am also taking Spatone sachets (2 per day).
Posted on 2012-09-18 17:10:52
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Eat above the DV?
Hi El, it is ok to eat above the DV. The current tolerable upper intake is 45mg of iron per day. That is 250% of the DV. As you are taking supplements, you probably do not want to exceed 250% DV. However, iron from food sources is also well regulated, so do not worry too much. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2012-09-19 12:05:54
Name:Mariella
Location:Malta
Subject:Iron intake for 14 month old baby
Hi, my 14 month old eats basically anything and has a regular varied diet. So I would like to ask if I include an extra item from your list on a daily basis if it becomes then detrimental that the iron levels increase by too much. Thanks for your info, very helpful site.
Posted on 2012-10-04 08:22:30
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE:Iron intake for 14 month old baby
Hi Mariella, thanks for your question. The basic rule is that iron from plant foods are well regulated and do not raise blood iron levels, while iron from animal foods can get out of control. Does your baby have high blood iron or hemochromatosis? Feeding your baby only plant foods will help regulate absorption and reduce excess iron. Avoid really high iron animal foods like liver and clams. Meats like beef, etc...do not provide that much iron, and should be fine if your baby does not already have high blood iron. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2012-10-04 19:12:49
Name:Nokukhanya
Location:Durban
Subject:Iron supplements causing constipation
Hi, I recently found out that I'm anemic and I'm taking iron supplements but they are causing constipation and this has been going on for a while.
Posted on 2013-01-09 07:20:52
Name:Moncef
Location:Abu Dhabi
Subject:No Absorbtion and Canned Food
Hi and thank you for an excellent article. 2 questions please: the first is that I have been taking iron supplements for months and still no improvement in my iron level, why? Second, do canned shellfish (clams and oysters) have the same iron content as fresh? Thanks for a great site.
Posted on 2013-01-12 07:43:48
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: No Absorbtion and Canned Food
Hi Abu, thanks for your question. After months of supplements, your level should have increased. Perhaps there is some digestive problem which is preventing absorption of iron? Also if you drink tea, it can interfere with iron absorption. Try avoid tea and see if it helps. As for canned shellfish, they provide as much or more iron than fresh or cooked clams. Here are the complete nutrition facts for raw, cooked, and canned clams.
Posted on 2013-01-13 00:50:43
Name:David
Location:UK
Subject:How long is a safe period for taking Iron tablets?
Hi, Thanks for your great info and website, lots of good Q & A's too. My question is I'm a veggie with low iron count, been given Ferrous Sulphate teblets 200mg X 2-3 tablets daily so what is a safe period to take these for? Also will these help my immune system which is bit fragile after a long term illness which I've now recovered from? Thanks for any advice, kind regards Dave.
Posted on 2013-01-18 13:11:54
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: How long is a safe period for taking Iron tablets?
Hi David, thanks for your question. The U.S. National Library of Medicine article on iron supplementation states that 2 months of iron supplementation should be enough to return iron levels to normal. After that time, supplementation should be continued for 6-12 months to replenish iron stores in bone marrow. Consuming too much iron, however, is dangerous so proceed with caution and get your iron level tested when you can.

Iron supplements do not help your immune system and may even weaken it. Taking zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin A can boost your immune system. Vitamin C has the added bonus of increasing iron absorption. Hope that information helps.

Posted on 2013-01-18 17:09:38
Name:Sylwia
Location:Windsor, Canada
Subject:Tea and iron absorption
Hello, Thank you so much for all this important info. I am vegetarian and iron absorption is a concern of mine. I love black tea and even though I have been cutting down, I still like to enjoy cup or two a day. So I was wondering if one hour before and after eating iron rich foods is enough of a "wait period" to avoid interference with absorption of iron. Would it also apply to eating dairy products? Thank you for your help.
Posted on 2013-02-28 16:18:07
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Tea and iron absorption
Hi Sylvia, thanks for your question. While it is good you are concerned about iron deficiency, are your numbers actually low? If they are not, then you probably don't need to worry. This article states to consume tea between meals. Likely 1 hour is enough time to digest tea and not greatly harm iron absorption. Dairy might need a bit more time, but 2 hours should be enough. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2013-02-28 23:01:16
Name:Jane
Location:USA
Subject:Low hemoglobin due to menometrorrhagia and despite supplements
Hello, wonderful website, I learned a lot from it. I am 47, battling very low hemoglobin for 2 years now due to menometrorrhagia, which is not controlled (for over 6 months). However I am unable to raise my hemoglobin, which even with iron supplements and changes in diet increased only 0.1. I do have some digestive issues which leave me bloated and in pain, with frequent bowel movements on certain days, and normal on others. All tests normal (except low hemoglobin), except mildly fatty liver. The doctoer wants more tests but I am exhausted. I suffer from ocasional bouts of weakness, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue and general feeling of being unwell. I was wondering is there any difference in absorption of ferrous sulfate and ferrous gluconate? I switched from the first to the latter a couple months ago and since then my hemoglobin stagnates. I am eating iron rich foods, taking supplements and nothing. I am desperately trying to get back in track but nothing seems to be working. Please help with advice and thank you.
Posted on 2013-04-07 07:27:35
Name:Lindsay
Location:New Zealand
Subject:Iron overload
At 59 I have for the fist time had my iron levels tested as my nephew found out he had Hemochromatosis. I have a single mutation but my ferritin level is 900. My doctor has told me to cut out red meat & dairy and will not send me to have regular blood taken out to lower my levels, he tells me I need to be higher than 1000 before he will agree. I have joined the blood bank & have had one lot taken but have to wait till June before they will take more. What do you make of all this? Should I go to another doctor for a second opinion?
Posted on 2013-04-09 00:48:44
Name:Maria
Location:USA
Subject:How long does it take to restore iron levels?
My iron levels have been moderately low (based on how I feel, really low), so I looked online to see what food I should be eating, funny thing is I have been craving all these foods! Even food I typically donít like. Itís funny how our bodies alert us! Iíve been eating canned tomatoes for dinner (I know thatís kind of gross) and I am addicted to chewing ice. All this makes sense when I think about my iron being low. My question for you is how long after taking supplements and adding iron rich foods to my diet will I start to feel better? I am pale, weak and tired. Itís been a few weeks and I donít feel any better. Thank you.
Posted on 2013-05-01 15:40:52
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: How long does it take to restore iron levels?
Hi Maria, thanks for your question. The U.S. National Library of Medicine states that, with supplementation and eating high iron foods, blood levels of iron should return back to normal after 2 months. However, it does depend on the cause of your iron deficiency, and your specific situation. Further, your body cycles through blood cells every 3-4 months. This means that after your iron levels have returned to normal, it might take another 3-4 months to have healthy blood and recover from your anemia. I hope that information helps.
Posted on 2013-05-02 10:15:38
Name:Wendy
Location:USA
Subject:Hepatic cellular carcinoma
I have just been diagnosed with hepatic cellular carcinoma (HCC). My father had iron overload resulting in porphuria. I had my spleen removed at 5yrs old associated with hemolytic spherocytic anemia, my daughter has increased reticulocyte production at 30yrs old. It appears I have congenital hematochromatosis as my feritin is high as well as my iron saturation rates. please let your readers understand that hematochromatosis is nothing to fool around with as it can lead to HCC. I can not undergo blood letting as I don't have a spleen. Any other ideas besides nutrition? I am vegan. Thank you.
Posted on 2013-05-02 10:34:18
Name:Lucas
Location:Australia
Subject:Iron in cereal?
Hi I 'm a little confused by your charts. In the top chart it states that fortified cereals contain 1.5mg of Iron per 100g and in the lower chart it states that fortified cereals contain 68mg of Iron per 100g? Thanks.
Posted on 2013-06-11 09:35:20
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Iron in cereal?
Hi Lucas, thanks for your question. The first 100 grams refers to that found in quinoa, the grain naturally highest in iron. The main term to note is "naturally". Fortified foods have iron added to them, and as such, can have as much iron as is added...you need to check the label. The purpose of this article is primary to highlight natural foods, since iron fortified foods can be given to have high iron. So the first number refers to the natural level, and the 2nd fortified number is listed for informational purposes to give an idea of what can be obtained. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2013-06-12 04:42:58
Name:Loopie
Location:UK
Subject:Babyfood / Brain Development
I am intrigued by the wealth of knowledge by the array of questions / answers!

I read that some babies who are breastfed may benefit early weaning because of low iron and also that from age of 5 months babies have RAPID brain growth - so I wonder which foods you'd recommend as super baby brain foods that I could blend up when weaning.

I have done typical fruit purees, strawberry, mango... and couple of veg, carrot and sweet potato. Really interested in maybe masterminding a soup ingredients list for the baby. Many thanks.

Posted on 2013-07-22 07:32:12
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Babyfood / Brain Development
Hi Loopie, thanks for your kind comments and question. If you are looking for high iron fruits and veggies to puree, check the article on high iron fruits and veggies. Parsley and/or spinach may be a good choice for iron. Please be aware that some of the listed foods may not be appropriate for toddlers, and keep in mind the possibility of allergies. For more ideas, check out the The Baby and Toddler Cookbook, as well as the 201 Organic Baby Purees recipe book. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2013-07-22 12:54:28
Name:Lisa
Location:Russia
Subject:Chicory and iron absorption
Hi, I love chicory drinks, but since I'm a vegetarian, I've got to be very careful with products that reduce my iron absorption. There's not much information about chicory on the internet, so I hope you can help with this question. Does it affect the iron absorption? Thanks.
Posted on 2013-08-18 14:33:39
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Chicory and iron absorption
Hi Lisa, thanks for your question. There are no studies on Chicory and iron absorption. The most important factor to iron absorption is how much iron is already in your body. If you are not iron deficient, then you probably don't need to worry. If you are low on iron, try to stop drinking chicory and see if it helps. However, it is likely that chicory will have little effect on iron absorption, so you can keep drinking it, and eating a normal vegetarian diet. Many vegetarian foods are high in iron.
Posted on 2013-08-18 14:33:39
Name:Pat
Location:Lincolnshire
Subject:High iron levels in blood
A recent blood test revealed that I have an above average level of iron in my blood. Can you tell me please what could be the cause of this and what damage to health this could do? Thanks.
Posted on 2013-09-11 15:39:36
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: High iron levels in blood
Hi Pat, thanks for your question. High blood iron levels, or hemochromatosis, is primarily caused by genetics, and so is inherited. High iron levels can cause organ damage, and eventually organ failure. Adopting a vegan diet, or at least avoiding red meat and shell fish, can help keep your iron level from rising too much. Also consider donating blood every 1-3 months, since it can help lower your blood iron levels. Hope those thoughts help.
Posted on 2013-09-11 21:49:13
Name:Jay
Location:Australia
Subject:Vegetarian Toddler with Low Iron Levels
Hi such a great insightful website you have here, thanks very much. Our family are vegetarians and have brought our 18 month old daughter up so far as a vegetarian. We had her iron level tested this week and it has come back as 7, our doctor advised that it is low and should be 9. We try to give her Centrum kids Incremin iron syrup to boost her iron, when she will take it as well as provide her a good mix of legumes, beans and green vegetables. Can you offer any further advise for us to improve her iron levels, whilst still maintaining a vegetarian diet? Thanks for your help.
Posted on 2013-09-12 14:13:05
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Vegetarian Toddler with Low Iron Levels
Hi Jay, thanks for your question. It sounds like you have a good diet going for your daughter. One thought is that Vitamin C can help to increase iron absorption. Although there is a lot of vitamin C in dark leafy greens, you could try also giving your daughter some high vitamin C fruits like papaya or strawberry, to see if it helps. Further, you could try giving her a fortified cereal that has both iron and vitamin C, and which might boost her level.
Posted on 2013-09-12 19:54:16
Name:RS
Location:Australia
Subject:Low Hemoglobin and Ferritn
Hi, I liked your site. I have a question. I have been always low in Iron, however recently its been noted that my iron is 20 but my hemoglobin is 6 and ferritin is 8 and also I'm taking spatone (2 sachets) in orange juice everyday. And also eating chicken liver and red meat and fish and just started taking chia seeds. I do not know why the level of my hemoglobin/ferritin is not improving, can this be related to hypothyroidism because I'm taking medication for it. It would be of great help if you could give me a suggestion as my doctor said if it doesn't show any improvement in a months time I have to undergo blood infusion, which I'm not interested in. Please advise. Thanks.
Posted on 2013-10-06 19:10:48
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Low Hemoglobin and Ferritn
Hi RS, thanks for your question. It does seem odd your iron level is not improving. Your hypothyroidism should not have an effect either. Before having a blood transfusion you could try an iron supplement with more iron. Spatone provides 5mg per sachet, but this supplement provides 25mg per dose. It may help. You could also get a 2nd opinion from another doctor. Finding a cause of your low iron is the main issue.
Posted on 2013-10-07 02:10:34
Name:Lorraine
Location:Bromley, UK
Subject:Low iron stores and iron supplementation
Hi, great website some great information. I have always suffered with heavy periods and low blood pressure. During both of my pregnancies I was anemic and had to be on iron supplements. 18 months ago I started to have symptoms and went to see my doctor. After a list of various blood tests it revealed I was anemic and had only 11 iron stores. I have been on 200mg ferrous sulphate tablets since then between 1-3 a day. I have changed my diet and eat red meat at least 2/3 times a week and lots of fruit and veg. I do however drink tea. I managed to get my hb to 12.5 and my iron stores up to 45 however they have now dropped to 11.5 and stores of 21. I've had investigations only to confirm I have an over average size uterus. I've been on the mini pill for 9 months now subsequently reducing my blood loss. I'm only 31 and this seems to be on-going. I'm now losing more hair than before too. I'm worried about how long I can be on the iron for without causing damage. Your advice and input would be greatly received.
Posted on 2013-11-01 06:27:07
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Low iron stores and iron supplementation
Hi Lorraine, thanks for your question and sharing your experience. Your hair loss is likely due to the anemia and lack of iron, and not the supplements. The main side effects of iron supplementation are constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, and stomach pain. The National Library of Medicine has a good page on taking iron supplements. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2013-11-02 06:15:00
Name:CL
Location:US
Subject:Low iron vegan
Hi, thanks for this article and information. I've been struggling with my hair falling out on and off for the past four years. I really don't like eating meat and I'm lactose intolerant therefore I am pretty much vegan right now. I take iron supplements everyday with vitamin C but it seems like it's not enough. I have a hard time digesting legumes, even lentils at times. Is it a good idea to double my iron supplement dosage and make sure that I'm getting enough vitamin C to help the absorption?
Posted on 2013-11-14 14:09:47
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Low iron vegan (and how to supplement iron)
Hi CL, thanks for your question. As the National Library of Medicine page on taking iron supplements states, taking too much iron can be harmful for your body, and it would be best to get a blood test and consult your doctor before taking more iron. Was your iron low on a prior blood test? How was your level of zinc or vitamin A? A deficiency in either one could also lead to hair loss. As you are vegan, vitamin A is probably ok, but you might try eating more high zinc foods or taking a supplement. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2013-11-15 04:51:53

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Comments.
Name:Anoti Sol Osita
Location:Nigeria
Subject:Foods in Nigeria that contain Iron with Less Cholesterol
Most of the foods or recipes mentioned are mostly found in Europe and in the Americas. Any sugestion for Western Africans, especially Nigeria? Thank You.
Posted on 2011-04-21 01:09:32
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Foods in Nigeria that contain Iron with Less Cholesterol
Hi Anoti, thanks for your question. How about focus on eating beans and lentils? Lima beans, Navy beans, Black beans, and Pinto beans are all high in iron. What kind of beans do you have in Nigeria? You can also try eating more cooked spinach, which is low in cholesterol, and promotes heart health. If you must eat meat, go for lean beef, which is high in iron. Be sure to pick cuts without any fat so you do not eat any cholesterol. If it is available, eat dark chocolate, which is very high in iron, and a cholesterol lowering food.
Posted on 2011-04-21 03:11:21
Name:Pani
Location:Lodon
Subject:Cocoa-Iron
Does cocoa interfere with iron absorbtion?
Posted on 2011-05-06 15:02:13
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Cocoa-Iron
Hi Pani, thanks for your question. The short answer is that the polyphenols in dark chocolate (cocoa) have been shown to inhibit some iron absorption, however, you still absorb iron from dark chocolate. The long answer is that nutrient absorption is complex, and there are many factors affecting absorption of iron which are different for everyone. The polyphenols in chocolate (and other plant foods) which inhibit some iron absorption also carry a lot of health benefits. Further, iron from plant foods like dark chocolate and spinach has been shown to better regulate iron absorption than iron from animal foods. This regulation helps to prevent iron toxicity and related health problems from too much iron in the blood. Iron from plant foods, even those with polyphenols, is recommended over iron from animal sources.
Posted on 2011-05-08 19:29:09
Name:Jennifer
Location:Tampa, FL
Subject:Why hasn't this been mentioned?
An excellent source of iron is farina. I suppose its not as common as the mentioned items but its quite healthy and can be flavored accordingly. Its available in most grocery stores and/or health food stores. If you like oatmeal, you should definitely give farina a try.
Posted on 2011-05-11 18:44:49
Name:Jay
Location:US
Subject:Excess Iron is Detrimental to Longevity
Iron in cellular lysosomes generate hydroxyl radicals which utimately leads to formation of lipofuscin. Search www.pubmed.gov for "lysosome iron".
Posted on 2011-05-20 21:18:00
Name:Anonymous
Subject:Beef and Iron
Beef is high in iron. Why did you not list it? Most of your list is not heme iron, and therefore, second rate sources. For this nutrient, beef is essential.
Posted on 2011-06-28 21:07:41
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Beef and Iron
Thanks for your comment. Beef is listed under the additional tables below the top 10 list. If you look at the values you will see that beef is actually not that high in iron compared with other sources. People have their own opinions on whether plant (non-heme) vs. animal (heme) iron is more healthy. Both heme and non-heme sources of iron are listed in this article.
Posted on 2011-06-29 07:30:49
Name:Kirsty
Location:Morocco
Subject:Thanx
Who would have thought dried herbs, a surprise. Here in Morocco 'Zatar' is a thyme used for tea when one has a cold. Spearment and wormwood (usually fresh) are regularly used for tea. So how much iron do you think comes out from herbs in tea? Thanx
Posted on 2011-07-05 08:18:37
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Iron and Tea
Hi Kirsty, thanks for your question. Unfortunately most of the iron would remain in the dried herb with very little of it entering the tea. Further, the tannins found in some non-herb black or green teas can inhibit iron absorption. Despite this fact herb teas are a great low calorie drink that are good for your health. Further dried herbs are an extremely nutrient dense food appearing on most of the top 10 nutrient density lists of HealthAliciousNess.
Posted on 2011-07-05 09:11:52
Name:Marlene
Location:Montreal
Subject:Anemia
Is "anemia" a synonym for "low iron" ?
Posted on 2011-07-08 15:05:44
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Anemia
Hi Marlene, thanks for your question. Anemia is defined as having inadequate levels of blood or hemoglobin in the body. Common symptoms of anemia include weakness, fatigue, tiredness, the inability to concentrate, and even heart palpitations. Even though low iron levels can cause anemia, having anemia does not mean that your iron levels are low! Anemia can also be caused by a deficiency in vitamin B12, a deficiency in folate (vitamin B9), and a variety of other conditions. In short, anemia does not necessary indicate low iron levels.
Posted on 2011-07-08 17:30:01
Name:Juvilyn Bautista
Location:Philippines
Subject:Calcium
Does calcium decrease absorption of iron?
Posted on 2011-07-16 17:12:38
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Calcium
Hi Juvilyn, thanks for your question. There is evidence that calcium decreases iron absorption, however, this is more from calcium supplements than eating high calcium foods. It seems the more calcium you eat the less iron you absorb. You can avoid this problem by eating calcium 2 hours before, or 2 hours after you eat high iron foods.
Posted on 2011-07-16 17:31:11
Name:Jay G
Location:Washington DC
Subject:Hemochromatosis
Any advice on how to put a diet together wiht this problem so I can reduce my iron count. I also can eat gluten so that makes it more complicated. Thanks.
Posted on 2011-07-22 06:32:12
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Hemochromatosis
Hi Jay, thanks for your question. Your body can better regulate iron absorption from plant (non-heme) sources, so cutting back, or eliminating, animal foods can help maintain your blood iron at normal levels. Further, vitamin C enhances iron absorption. Cutting back on foods high in vitamin C may help reduce iron absorption. If you have iron stored in your body vitamin A foods can help to remove it from storage and lower your iron levels.
Posted on 2011-08-02 10:26:54
Name:Reece
Location:Texas
Subject:Spinach
Hi. I'm somewhat confused with spinach. Overall, it is an excellent source of iron, but I have read that the oxalates in spinach actually carry iron away from the body. Also, spinach is high in calcium, as well. So wouldn't the presence of the two interfere with absorption of each other?
Posted on 2011-08-15 10:37:48
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Spinach
Hi Reece, thanks for a great question. As stated in a post above, most of the interference from calcium comes only when consuming calcium supplements, and not from natural sources of calcium, like spinach. Further, while spinach contains oxalates which do inhibit absorption of iron, spinach also contains vitamin C which promotes absorption of iron. Basically, you will still absorb iron from spinach, and like all plant sources of iron, it will not be absorbed as efficiently as meat sources, but will be better regulated by your body and will still be a good source of iron.
Posted on 2011-08-15 10:42:52
Name:Tsholofelo
Location:Botswana
Subject:Iron and Vitamin C
Hi I am currently eleven years old. I lack iron and vitamin c, any advice on what i should eat?
Posted on 2011-08-21 09:04:04
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Iron and Vitamin C
Hi Tsholofelo, thanks for your question. You should focus on eating fruits and vegetables high in iron since fruits and vegetables are also high in vitamin C. Particularly try eat more dark leafy green vegetables like spinach, and kale. Also, try to eat more lentils like peas, split peas, and lentils. Click here for a recipe of pumpkin split pea soup where you can replace the pumpkin with other vegetables like spinach. Hope that helps, remember every little bit counts.
Posted on 2011-08-21 10:24:14
Name:Hope
Location:Gaborone
Subject:Fruit or Vegetable with the Most Iron And Vitamin C?
Hi, I'm asking for just one fruit or vegetable that has the MOST iron and vitamin C.
Posted on 2011-08-21 22:11:11
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Fruit or Vegetable with the Most Iron And Vitamin C?
Hi Hope, thanks for your question. The one fruit or vegetable with the most vitamin C is raw spinach. Raw spinach has more vitamin C than cooked spinach, so try make sure it is uncooked raw spinach.
Posted on 2011-08-22 06:51:31
Name:Elizabeth Smith
Location:United States
Subject:Thanks!!! :)
Wow!!! I just wanted to say thank you for all of the wonderful information you have on iron. It has helped me a lot. Thanks so much!
Posted on 2011-09-20 09:51:09
Name:Laurie
Location:Edmonton,Alberta Canada
Subject:Extremely Low Iron
I have extremly low Iron, my number is only at 3 for Feritin. I was doing transfusions of just iron, but I am looking to put together a meal plan high in Iron can you please help?
Posted on 2011-09-27 13:26:36
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Extremely Low Iron
Hi Laurie, thanks for your question and sorry to hear of your low iron. Maybe instead of a meal plan, you should incorporate high iron foods in a new way. For example, sprinkle dried oregano on all your salads, sauces, sandwiches, and soups. Buy and eat more dark chocolate. At least 80% cacao. Liver is high in cholesterol, but will get your iron numbers up, try p‚tť on a sandwich, or buy some liver sausages. Clam chowder is also high in cholesterol, but maybe try eat it once a week. Snack on pumpkin and squash seeds, try using tahini (sesame butter) instead of peanut butter. Further, eat foods high in vitamin C as these help your body absorb iron. Has your health provider given you any insight to this issue? Your low iron level may not be able to be corrected by diet alone and you should consult with your health provider to be sure what exactly is causing your low iron levels.
Posted on 2011-09-27 13:46:02
Name:Greg
Location:Cornwall UK
Subject:Hemochromatosis
I am trying to get my head around this newly diagnosed condition. At the head of this article, it states that vitimin a helps move iron from storage in the body, but later messages say that vitimin a is used to store iron in the organs. Too much iron has given me diabetis. I am to be bled weekly to reduce my iron level. It is further stated that we need iron to feed our red cells and give us energy, I have to much iron, but am always tired? I am not certain what I can do to help myself, any advice welcomed.
Posted on 2011-10-01 16:44:53
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Hemochromatosis
Hi Greg, thanks for your comment and question. To clarify, vitamin A helps regulate iron in the body. A deficiency of iron in the blood could suggest that iron is stuck in storage in the liver and vitamin A is needed to help release this iron to bring levels back to normal.2 From the point of view of having too much iron, vitamin A would help get iron out of your liver, but only if the iron level in your blood falls. Basically vitamin A helps regulate the level of iron in your blood by freeing it out of storage. The best thing you can do right now is to become vegan and cut all animal foods: meat, dairy, eggs, etc...This is because iron is more efficiently absorbed from animal based foods and the body can not regulate iron from animal foods as well as it can from plant foods. Further, even though proper levels of iron are needed to ensure good energy levels, fatigue and tiredness are symptoms of having too much iron. You can find more information about high iron levels (Hemochromatosis) at the pubmed page on the subject.
Posted on 2011-10-01 18:58:54
Name:Denise
Subject:Needed quick iron rich food information
Thank you for such a comprehensive nutritional site. I found my information quickly and can make diet changes immediately. Be well!
Posted on 2011-10-04 08:14:37
Name:Kevin
Subject:How much is too much iron from juicing and eating?
I am thankful I found this site, because I have been organic juicing produce for a month, and have developed new symptoms (health is messed up from possible M.S/brain lesions). Anyway, so I had an online naturopath tell me I could be iron deficient, and another told me I could have too much iron because I have been juicing 1 beet or 1/2 beet daily with other veggies (carrots, parsley, kale, collard green),and eating some iron type foods - dried apricots, brown rice, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds. So, now I am concerned. I do try to balance my mostly vegan diet. I know beets are potent, that's why I dont do much of them, so I doubt I did enough to do damage. Now I'm even worried about juicing parsley, kale. Thank you.
Posted on 2011-10-06 18:22:49
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: How much is too much iron from juicing and eating?
Hi Kevin, thanks for your question. It is unlikely that your juicing has caused you to have high iron levels. This is because the body can effectively regulate iron absorption from fruits, vegetables, and other plant sources. Further, if you had high levels of iron your might experience nose bleeds or diarrhea. If you are feeling weak or anemic, there is a chance that you have iron deficiency, or perhaps a deficiency in vitamin B12 since you are vegan. If you can, get your blood tested for iron content.
Posted on 2011-10-07 14:59:17
Name:Zoe
Location:U.S.
Subject:How much iron each day?
I am having symptoms of anemia, and I believe it is due to iron deficiency. I am a vegetarian, I eat cheese and milk but rarely eggs. I am also going through a growth spurt. (Although I know it is not due to blood loss, I have not yet begun menstruating). When I think about it, I have a diet very low in iron, and in the past couple of days, I have been feeling terribly tired and having trouble concentrating at school. Today I started taking an over-the-counter, slow-release iron supplement. It is 45mg (from 143mg ferrous sulfate), and the dosage is 1 per day. I was wondering if that was too little or too much for someone my age and size if I think I am iron deficient?(13 year old girl, roughly 100 pounds) I also wanted to know how much iron I should be eating daily, because I want to include more iron-rich foods in my diet along with the iron supplement, but I don't want to end up with too much iron. Thanks!
Posted on 2011-11-07 22:42:21
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: How much iron each day?
Hi Zoe, thanks for your question. According to the U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements the percent daily value of iron for a girl your age is 8mg. So the supplement you are taking is definitely providing more than enough iron. It would probably be best to focus on getting iron from vegetarian sources like dark chocolate, sesame butter, or fruits and vegetables high in iron. Please note that too much iron can be harmful to your health. Also, as you are a vegetarian, there is a chance that your anemia is caused by a deficiency in vitamin B12. Try eating more vegetarian sources of vitamin B12. Also, consider consulting your health care provider if your symptoms get worse, or do not improve soon.
Posted on 2011-11-07 22:50:34
Name:Kathy
Location:New Mexico
Subject:Hemochromatosis and Diet
I was just diagnosed with Hemochromatosis. Normal range is 20 - 288. My level is 591! I have been advised to eliminate all iron rich foods/drinks, take Lactoferria and Liver Maintenance. Also, to donate blood - re-check in 3 weeks. I trust my nutritional consultants completely. Do you have any other advise or information?
Posted on 2011-11-11 23:38:54
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Hemochromatosis and Diet
Hi Kathy, thanks for your question. In addition to your current lifestyle changes, you may also consider becoming vegan, since absorption of iron is better regulated from plant foods. Do you know what has caused your Hemochromatosis? Is it diet alone? Finding out the cause will be essential to getting your iron levels back to normal. Hemochromatosis can have a genetic compenent. Ask your relatives if any of them have had similar symptoms and what they did to get better. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2011-11-12 09:08:27
Name:Sonia
Location:UK
Subject:Low Ferritin Levels
After childbirth in 2010 I ended up with a blood transfusion due to blood loss. My hb is now 12.8 however my iron stores (ferritin) is 18. I'm due to give birth again in 3 months and the doctors would like to see my ferritin levels at 70 in case of any further blood loss. I'm a strict vegetarian (no meat, fish, or eggs) however do drink milk and eat cheese. Can you suggest any foods in particular that will increase my ferritin levels within 12 weeks? Will a glass of fresh orange and spinach juice do the trick?
Posted on 2011-11-15 20:25:56
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Low Ferritin Levels
Hi Sonya, thanks for your question. First to clarify, ferratin is a protein that attaches to iron in your body and therefore can be used to measure iron stores in your body. Ferratin is ubiquitous and plentiful in your body, so when you ask to boost your ferratin levels you are really talking about increasing your iron stores. 12 Weeks is a good time frame to boost your iron stores with food, however, please note that the amount of iron you absorb can also depend on genetic factors. Even though you are vegetarian, iron is more effeciently and effectively absorbed from animal foods. If you are willing to make an exception to eat shellfish, this will likely be the fastest way to boost your iron levels. However, many vegetarian options also exist, consider eating more dark chocolate, sun dried tomatoes, and dried apricots, in addition to your orange/spinach juice. Here also is a list of fruits and vegetables high in iron. Hope that helps and good luck increasing your iron levels!
Posted on 2011-11-15 20:25:56
Name:Aliana
Location:Hawaii
Subject:Can being anemic cause a miscarriage?
Hi, I recently had a miscarriage at 5 weeks and my OB found out I was anemic, could this have caused a miscarriage to the unborn fetus? Is there anything I could do for the future of a successful pregnancy? Thanks.
Posted on 2011-11-20 18:54:59
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Can being anemic cause a miscarriage?
Hi Aliana, sorry to hear of your loss. The causes of miscarriages are unknown and it is unlikely that your anemia caused the miscarriage. What is more likely is that your pregnancy lead to your anemia. That said, preventing your anemia for the next time is certainly the right thing to do, and will only increase your chances of having a successful pregnancy. Increase your intake of foods high in iron, vitamin B12, and folate (vitamin B9). Hope that helps and best wishes for the future.
Posted on 2011-11-22 21:23:40
Name:Nethma
Location:Sri Lanka
Subject:An Egg Per Day
Hello, I do not eat meat or fish but I take 3 cups of milk tea and 1 egg per day. So I just wanted to know is it ok to get an egg per day as it contains lots of cholesterol? Is it good to take milk (powdered) with tea? Thank you.
Posted on 2011-12-16 17:01:06
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: An Egg Per Day
Hi Nethma, thanks for your question. If you do not eat any other animal products and only eat 1 egg per day, then it is unlikely you will experience cholesterol problems. This is true only if you do not eat butter, or any other high cholesterol foods. That said, neither eggs, nor powdered milk are a good source of iron. You would be better trying to get iron from beans, lentils, and dark leafy greens like spinach.
Posted on 2011-12-16 17:01:06
Name:Jisang
Location:Thimphu
Subject:Heavy Bleeding during Menstruation
I am a pure vegetarian women, one day when I was in office I became unconscious and hospitalized for few days. I was bleeding heavily the past few days before this incident. The doctor told me I had low BP and my body contained less blood. They told me to eat iron rich food items. So, can you kindly suggest me what type of food items are best for a pure vegetarian women like me to improve my blood volume? And also tell me what caused me to bleed heavily during my period? Is heavy bleeding a serious issue for me? Please tell me how to stop this problem?
Posted on 2012-01-16 01:15:49
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Heavy Bleeding during Menstruation
Hi Jisang, thanks for your questions and sorry to hear of what happened. Dried herbs, dark chocolate, sesame seeds, squash seeds, or sun flower seeds are all excellent vegetarian sources of iron. Also consider beans, lentils, tofu, spinach, kale, and any other non-heme source of iron. There is also a list of fruits and vegetables high in iron. The amount you bleed during menstruation can depend on a variety of factors including your genetics and hormones. If you experience heavy bleeding for several consecutive months, your health care provider can perform tests to identify the cause, however, in some cases, it is simply genetic. Keep eating high iron foods, and also be sure you consume enough milk, yogurt, eggs, and other vegetarian sources of vitamin B12, as well as high folate foods to prevent anemia. Good luck!
Posted on 2012-01-18 21:05:24
Name:Nancy Dyer
Location:Prague, Czech Republic
Subject:Iron levels in Egg Yolk
Hello, Regarding your last comment that eggs are not a good source of iron, I wonder if you could expand as I have previously heard that egg yolk is one of the best sources of iron. I have also heard of people being recommended to have Guinness due to the high level of iron it contains - what are your thoughts on it? Thank you in advance, Nancy.
Posted on 2012-01-18 21:25:55
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:Iron levels in Egg Yolk
Hi Nancy, thanks for your questions. Looking at the nutrition facts for egg yolks and eggs you can see that a large egg yolk provides 0.5mg (3% DV) of iron, and a large whole egg provides 0.9mg (5% DV) of iron. A single table spoon of dried thyme, by contrast, will provide 3.7mg (21% DV) of iron. There is no analysis available for the iron content of Guinness Beer, but given that the nutrition facts for regular beer only yields 0.07mg (0% DV) of iron, it is unlikely that Guinness is a good source of iron.
Posted on 2012-01-18 23:31:32
Name:Lisa
Location:UK
Subject:Iron and Calcium
Hi there, I have recently been informed that I am not eating enough iron and calcium. I don't really eat meat (I'm not a vegtetarian but I like to keep a slim figure and so prefer chicken, fish, and vegetarian dishes to meat for that reason). I am looking for low calorie foods which would provide a lot of iron and calcium. Could you help? Thanks.
Posted on 2012-01-28 23:55:56
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Iron and Calcium
Hi Lisa, thanks for your question. The best low calorie foods for both iron and calcium are dried herbs and dark leafy greens. One cup of cooked spinach will provide 36% DV of iron and 24% DV of calcium for just 42 calories. One cup of cooked kale will provide 9% DV of calcium and 7% DV of iron at just 36 calories. If you make a lot of bean dishes or stews, trying added a tablespoon of dried thyme. This will add 27% DV of iron and 8% DV of calcium for just 11 calories. You can see the complete nutrition facts for these foods here. For more food ideas try using the nutrient ranking tool.
Posted on 2012-01-29 02:34:30
Name:Roni
Location:Israel
Subject:Coumadin and foods, excepting green vegetables
I am taking coumadin and not allowed to eat green vegetables. What can I take to increase my iron supply, which is low?
Posted on 2012-02-01 15:52:42
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Coumadin and foods, excepting green vegetables
Hi Roni, thanks for your question. When you are taking Coumadin, you need to avoid foods high in vitamin K, since vitamin K causes blood to coagulate and counteracts the affect of Coumadin. Most foods high in vitamin K are green vegetables, but not all, so be sure to limit your intake of vitamin K. As for iron, you can eat roasted sesame seeds (also tahini), sunflower seeds, dried apricots, olives, and Jerusalem-artichokes (but not Globe or French artichokes). If you eat meat then eat shell fish (oysters, clams), and octopus should be fine, but check nutrition facts of each type of fish/meat before eating to be sure. For more ideas you can use the nutrient ranking tool to find foods with the highest iron to vitamin K ratio. You can also talk to your doctor about taking an iron supplement.
Posted on 2012-02-01 21:48:33
Name:G
Location:New Jersey
Subject:Iron Cookware?
My folks always cooked with iron cookware and used to say it increased their iron intake. It sounds logical. What's your take? Trying to increase my one year old's intake of iron since it's been low (and mine - we're vegetarian). Trying to get it from all angles...
Posted on 2012-02-08 21:36:47
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Iron Cookware?
Hi G, thanks for your question. At least one study supports that cooking with iron cookware increases iron content of foods and iron absorption. This is especially true for acid liquid like applesauce and spaghetti sauce. This webpage has more information on iron increases from iron cookware.
Posted on 2012-02-09 06:00:56
Name:Lee
Location:Australia
Subject:Dried vs fresh
Hi, Are the iron levels the same, when herbs are fresh? If not, can you tell me how they increase with drying? Fascinating! I use lots of fresh herbs, but not many dried. Thanks.
Posted on 2012-02-14 20:21:13
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Dried vs fresh
Hi Lee, thanks for your question. The concentration of iron increases in dried herbs because they don't have the same water content of fresh herbs, and therefore, weight less, and contain more iron gram per gram. In general dried foods will concentrate nutrients, with a few exceptions, like vitamin C. Look at the nutrition comparison of a teaspoon of fresh time vs a teaspoon of dried thyme to get more detail. Basically, it would be good to add more dried herbs to foods when you can, while maintaining your current consumption of fresh herbs.
Posted on 2012-02-15 16:57:54
Name:Selma
Location:UK
Subject:Ferritin Levels
I understand that Ferritin levels can be low, but the health service will record this as 'low normal', and not act with regard to nutrition/supplements, yet many women of menstruating age, have very low levels of ferritin. (A female friend who is a psychiatrist, and was herself, low in ferritin, conducted some research and discovered that many women are erroneously diagnosed with depression, but if their nutritional requirements are addressed, they are fine. This advice would apply to many ailments i.e. address ones nutrition, treat the cause, not the symptoms). I currently have menorrhagia, brought on by long term stress. I eat a healthy diet, rich in heme & non-heme iron. I now take Ferrous gluconate 1 x 300mg per day, (prescribed by my doctor), and this has had a marked positive effect on my energy/stamina/sleep. I take Cod Liver Oil, with added Vitamins A, D & E in the morning, with breakfast (from a bottle, far more economical than capsules), and have Magnesium OK tablet and Evening Primrose capsule at lunchtime, and take the Ferrous Gluconate with an evening meal, taking care not to have calcium/dairy rich food, with it, as this can inhibit absorption of iron. Also - many foods are high in specific vitamins/minerals, but that does not mean that they are readily absorbed.
Posted on 2012-02-17 19:32:05
Name:Sara
Location:Thailand
Subject:Hemoglobin and Pregnancy
Im 22 and I'm trying to concieve. My hemoglobin level is 10.6. Do low hemoglobin levels prevent conception?
Posted on 2012-03-09 13:08:51
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Hemoglobin and Pregnancy
Hi Sara, thanks for your question. Currently there are no studies or data to suggest that low hemoglobin levels will affect your chance of pregnancy. However, you do want to be sure to have normal hemoglobin levels (12.1 to 15.1 gm/dL) to ensure proper transport of oxygen and proper development of your child once you do become pregnant. Eat more iron rich foods and try to get your level up!
Posted on 2012-03-09 13:15:08
Name:Minoo
Location:California
Subject:Hemoglobin and wine
Hi, I was wondering if drinking wine can prevent the absorbance of iron in my body? I am 56 years old, with an iron level of 11.9. Thanks.
Posted on 2012-03-16 15:04:52
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Hemoglobin and wine
Hi Minoo, thanks for your question. Wine contains polyphenols which some studies have suggested may inhibit iron absorption. This study suggests that red wine inhibits more iron than white wine, but in the end, concludes that drinking wine does not have any significant effect on iron levels. Basically, wine is probably not the reason you have slightly low iron levels. Tea and coffee however may inhibit iron absorption. If you drink tea or coffee you may consider cutting back on your consumption. If you are not vegetarian eat more heme (meat) sources of iron which can be more effectively absorbed by your body. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2012-03-17 01:02:51
Name:Anon
Location:Australia
Subject:Low Iron
Hi... I was wondering what foods are best for me since my iron levels are on 3...and I don't eat any meat except for chicken and occasionally tuna....Im 14 years old and I udnerstand that having iron this low is not generally 'normal'?
Posted on 2012-03-17 14:50:17
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Low Iron
Thanks for your question. Do you have any symptoms of anemia or iron deficiency like weakness and fatigue? It seems your iron level is quite low. If you are willing to change your diet try to eat shellfish like clams and oysters. Animal food sources are more effective sources of iron, but you can also try some of these fruits and veggies highest in iron. Lastly, you may also consider an iron supplement.
Posted on 2012-03-17 14:50:17
Name:Sonja
Location:OC CA
Subject:Low ferritin iron and hypothyroidism
Thank you for your article and time. Is there a relationship between hypothyroidism and ferritin levels?
Posted on 2012-03-25 18:46:50
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Low ferritin iron and hypothyroidism
Hi Sonja, thanks for your question. One study suggests that iron deficiency anemia can impair the function of thyroid hormone, however, there are not any other studies to suggest a relationship between low ferritin levels and hypothyroidism. Further, if you are taking thyroid hormone, the Library of Medicine suggests you should not take any iron supplements as well as fiber, calcium, multivitamins, aluminum hydroxide antacids, colestipol, or medicines that bind bile acids. Given this fact, it is unlikely that there is any significant relationship between low ferritin levels and hypothyroidism.
Posted on 2012-03-25 21:53:28
Name:Myrna Loucks
Location:Cornwall, ON Canada
Subject:Low Iron
Recent bloodwork showed my iron level was 6. The range is 11-300. I am concerned because of upcoming surgery. They recommend 1 or 2 infusions of iron. Any drawbacks with this? Could I not increase levels sufficiently with high iron food sources? Comments appreciated.
Posted on 2012-03-30 14:27:34
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Low Iron
Hi Myrna, thanks for your question. Whether or not you can increase your iron level from foods depends on a variety of factors, including if you have a gastrointenstinal disorder, or some other condition that prevents you from absorbing iron and maintainings iron stores. You can talk to your doctor about postponing your surgery and try to eat high iron foods from animal or (heme) sources, especially liver and clams, to see if you can get your levels up in a 1-2 month period. According to this study the iron infusion does have drawbacks including possible allergic reactions, nausea, severe diarrhea, metallic taste, moderate hypotension, and local phlebitis (inflammation). It would be worth trying a supplement or the dietary route first if you can.
Posted on 2012-03-30 16:07:51
Name:Donna
Location:St. Lucia
Subject:Low iron and intake levels
Hello, thank you for the useful information. Recently both my son and myself tested for low hemoglobin and the doctor suggested increasing iron intake. I searched the web and found out that for a 4 year old he should get 10mg a day. My questions is: since his levels are low, would 10mg be enough or should he be taking more until the hgb is normal? Also, I understand that if he consumes 10mg of iron this does not mean that he actually absorbed the whole 10mg, is that correct? The doctor suggested a multi vitamin with iron. I found one organic children multi vitamin which has 9mg and I plan to give him red meat, chicken, spinach, dark chocolate etc at qty which he will take, like all children his age, sometimes he eats more and sometimes less so I figure the chewable tablet will at least cover the 9mg on days that he won't eat the meat. What do you think? I do not want to give him too much but my logic tells me that if he is deficient then he should be getting more than the reccomnded amount until his levels are back to normal...is this correct?
Posted on 2012-03-30 16:16:08
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Low iron and intake levels
Hi Donna, thanks for your question. You are right that not all the iron listed in nutrition facts will be absorbed (bioavailable) and it is ok to give your son foods that have more than 10mg of iron. It should be noted that iron in high doses can be dangerous, especially from supplements. However, iron is well regulated by the body, and excess iron is typically stored, thus, giving your son more than the percent daily value (DV) will help build his iron stores. Focus on giving him sources of iron from animal foods like liver, tuna, or beef as these heme sources are more easily absorbed into the body. When your son's iron levels improve you will want to give him more spinach and dark chocolate as the iron from those non-heme sources will be better regulated by his body, reducing his chances of having high blood iron levels.
Posted on 2012-03-30 16:27:01
Name:Donna
Location:St. Lucia
Subject:Spinach
Thank you for the answer. I have further questions if you don't mind. Do you know the amount of iron in mg per ml of juiced spinach? Would the juice of raw spinach contain as much iron as the whole leaf or cooked spinach? Would mixing spinach juice with apple juice or honey be a good idea? Thank you again for the useful information.
Posted on 2012-03-31 12:11:43
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Spinach
Hi Donna, more questions are always welcomed. It is difficult to know the amount of iron that would be retained in spinach juice and would depend on how filtered or strained the spinach juice is. In general, cooked spinach contains more iron gram per gram than raw spinach. This is because cooked spinach has less water than raw spinach, and mixing in purreed cooked spinach will likely provide more iron. Apple juice and honey is an interesting strategy and should be fine. You might also try mixing spinach juice with orange or strawberry juice, as both fruits are high in vitamin C, and vitamin C can help enhance iron absorption. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2012-03-31 12:22:13
Name:Myrna
Subject:Things Affecting Iron Absorption
I've recently had my iron show a low reading of 6 and wonder if my drinking lots of coffee and tea daily affect my iron levels. If it does have a negative effect, is it the caffeine that is found in these two drinks? Would sodas have the same effect? I don't drink more than 1 soda a week but I've developed a bad habit of drinking between 6 and 8 cups a day. Appreciate hearing your comments.
Posted on 2012-04-01 12:57:36
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Things Affecting Iron Absorption
Hi Myrna, thanks for your question. According to this study tea can lower iron absorption by 65% and coffee by 35%. This is not because of the caffeine in these drinks, but because of the polyphenols, phytates, and tannins.ref Interestly the same study found that orange juice (due to vitamin C) can increase absorption by 85% and sodas can slightly increase absorption. However, due to the high sugar content in sodas, you may want to reduce your soda consumption. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2012-04-01 13:21:32
Name:Ava
Location:Fayetteville, AR
Subject:Heme comment...
Heme foods are HIGHER in iron, they absolutely are not "better absorbed" by the body, the opposite is true in fact. Non-heme foods (natural foods)are much better absorbed by the body so even though they are in smaller amounts they are "better" irons than Heme iron foods are. It is an annoyingly clingy myth that vegetarians and vegans are more prone to anemia because of this heme vs non heme thing- studies have shown they do NOT have a statistically higher incidence and non-heme irons are certainly better absorbed/processed by the body!
Posted on 2012-05-11 15:51:56
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Heme comment...
Hi Ava, thanks for your comment. It can be said that non-heme sources are better absorbed in terms of being better regulated, however, this article claims that heme sources are absorbed at 15%-35% while non-heme sources are absorbed at 2%-20% of the iron content. The Office of Dietary Suppelements echos that heme sources have a higher absorption rate. Part of the reason for the lower absorption from non-heme sources might be because the body does not need more iron and can better avoid absorbing iron from non-heme plants. You are also right to say that vegans and vegetarians need not be at risk of iron deficiency as long as they take care of their diet, and also that non-heme sources of iron can reduce long term health risks of Hemochromatosis (high blood iron).
Posted on 2012-05-15 11:49:00
Name:Kitty
Location:Britain
Subject:Iron & Running
Hello, I've been told I have low iron and have been given ferrous fumarole tablets to help increase my iron levels. I am a runner and have noticed a significant effect on my running - heavy legs, breathlessness, struggling with runs which were once straightforward distances that I enjoyed and found a breeze...I want to alter my diet to ensure I eat foods which boost my iron levels and protein levels to aid muscle repair and circulation of oxygen but also to avoid foods which prevent iron absorption. Can you please recommend key foods I should avoid and eat. There's so much info out there I'm a bit confused. Although I do eat meat, my diet tends to be more veg and fish. I don't really eat much red meat but willing to give anything a try and feeling a bit despondent about the effect my iron levels has had on my running. Any advice would be much appreciated and welcomed.
Posted on 2012-05-29 03:04:12
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Iron & Running
Hi Kitty, thanks for your question and comment. A new section will be created for the best foods to eat to increase iron levels. For now, the best foods you can eat are shellfish, like muscles, clams, and oysters, as well as liver (P‚tť). This can be in the form of buying a canned soup (clam chowder), or making your own seafod dish. Both shellfish and liver are also high in vitamin b12, which can help to prevent anemia and boost athletic performance. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2012-05-29 03:11:43
Name:Lea
Location:FL
Subject:Spirulina and Quinoa
Can you give any advice on the foods above? My iron is very low and so I wanted to eat foods highest in iron...however I noticed you did not mention either of these two.
Posted on 2012-07-10 21:47:14
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Spirulina and Quinoa
Hi Lea, thanks for your quesiton. One cup of cooked quinoa provides 2.8mg (15% DV) of iron, so it is quite a good source. One tablespoon of dried spirulina provides 2mg (11% DV) of iron, and can be a good source too depending on how much you consume. Hope that helps, here are the complete nutrition facts for quinoa and spirulina.
Posted on 2012-07-10 23:06:49
Name:Lucie
Location:London, England
Subject:Green Tea vs Black Tea
Hi, after noticing that my hair was falling much more than the norm. I asked my doctor to do a blood test. I was told that my iron level was below what it should be and he prescribed me ferrous gluconate 300mg for 2 months. I'm also trying to eat more pulses and green veggies, and cutting down on tea. I've swiched to green tea or white tea instead of the mug of "rocket fuel" very strong black tea with milk first thing in the morning I used to drink. Do you think that would help build up my iron levels??? Also I don't eat red meat only chicken rarely and fish.
Posted on 2012-07-10 23:13:07
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Green Tea vs Black Tea
Hi Lucie, you are doing the right thing, as green tea contains fewer oxalates than black tea. Oxalates are thought to hurt iron absorption. Trying to eat the pulses and green veggies is good too. If your levels don't improve soon you may want to explore other reasons for your low blood iron.
Posted on 2012-07-10 23:13:07
Name:Beth
Location:United States
Subject:Another food to try!
Seaweed is high in iron too!
Posted on 2012-09-13 00:11:36
Name:El
Location:UK
Subject:Eat above the DV?
Thanks for all the information this has been really useful for me. Is it OK to eat above the DV if I have been told I need to increase my HB? Currently it is 10.8 which is not bad, but am due to give birth in the next 4 weeks so advised to get it above 11. Am also taking Spatone sachets (2 per day).
Posted on 2012-09-18 17:10:52
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Eat above the DV?
Hi El, it is ok to eat above the DV. The current tolerable upper intake is 45mg of iron per day. That is 250% of the DV. As you are taking supplements, you probably do not want to exceed 250% DV. However, iron from food sources is also well regulated, so do not worry too much. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2012-09-19 12:05:54
Name:Mariella
Location:Malta
Subject:Iron intake for 14 month old baby
Hi, my 14 month old eats basically anything and has a regular varied diet. So I would like to ask if I include an extra item from your list on a daily basis if it becomes then detrimental that the iron levels increase by too much. Thanks for your info, very helpful site.
Posted on 2012-10-04 08:22:30
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE:Iron intake for 14 month old baby
Hi Mariella, thanks for your question. The basic rule is that iron from plant foods are well regulated and do not raise blood iron levels, while iron from animal foods can get out of control. Does your baby have high blood iron or hemochromatosis? Feeding your baby only plant foods will help regulate absorption and reduce excess iron. Avoid really high iron animal foods like liver and clams. Meats like beef, etc...do not provide that much iron, and should be fine if your baby does not already have high blood iron. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2012-10-04 19:12:49
Name:Nokukhanya
Location:Durban
Subject:Iron supplements causing constipation
Hi, I recently found out that I'm anemic and I'm taking iron supplements but they are causing constipation and this has been going on for a while.
Posted on 2013-01-09 07:20:52
Name:Moncef
Location:Abu Dhabi
Subject:No Absorbtion and Canned Food
Hi and thank you for an excellent article. 2 questions please: the first is that I have been taking iron supplements for months and still no improvement in my iron level, why? Second, do canned shellfish (clams and oysters) have the same iron content as fresh? Thanks for a great site.
Posted on 2013-01-12 07:43:48
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: No Absorbtion and Canned Food
Hi Abu, thanks for your question. After months of supplements, your level should have increased. Perhaps there is some digestive problem which is preventing absorption of iron? Also if you drink tea, it can interfere with iron absorption. Try avoid tea and see if it helps. As for canned shellfish, they provide as much or more iron than fresh or cooked clams. Here are the complete nutrition facts for raw, cooked, and canned clams.
Posted on 2013-01-13 00:50:43
Name:David
Location:UK
Subject:How long is a safe period for taking Iron tablets?
Hi, Thanks for your great info and website, lots of good Q & A's too. My question is I'm a veggie with low iron count, been given Ferrous Sulphate teblets 200mg X 2-3 tablets daily so what is a safe period to take these for? Also will these help my immune system which is bit fragile after a long term illness which I've now recovered from? Thanks for any advice, kind regards Dave.
Posted on 2013-01-18 13:11:54
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: How long is a safe period for taking Iron tablets?
Hi David, thanks for your question. The U.S. National Library of Medicine article on iron supplementation states that 2 months of iron supplementation should be enough to return iron levels to normal. After that time, supplementation should be continued for 6-12 months to replenish iron stores in bone marrow. Consuming too much iron, however, is dangerous so proceed with caution and get your iron level tested when you can.

Iron supplements do not help your immune system and may even weaken it. Taking zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin A can boost your immune system. Vitamin C has the added bonus of increasing iron absorption. Hope that information helps.

Posted on 2013-01-18 17:09:38
Name:Sylwia
Location:Windsor, Canada
Subject:Tea and iron absorption
Hello, Thank you so much for all this important info. I am vegetarian and iron absorption is a concern of mine. I love black tea and even though I have been cutting down, I still like to enjoy cup or two a day. So I was wondering if one hour before and after eating iron rich foods is enough of a "wait period" to avoid interference with absorption of iron. Would it also apply to eating dairy products? Thank you for your help.
Posted on 2013-02-28 16:18:07
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Tea and iron absorption
Hi Sylvia, thanks for your question. While it is good you are concerned about iron deficiency, are your numbers actually low? If they are not, then you probably don't need to worry. This article states to consume tea between meals. Likely 1 hour is enough time to digest tea and not greatly harm iron absorption. Dairy might need a bit more time, but 2 hours should be enough. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2013-02-28 23:01:16
Name:Jane
Location:USA
Subject:Low hemoglobin due to menometrorrhagia and despite supplements
Hello, wonderful website, I learned a lot from it. I am 47, battling very low hemoglobin for 2 years now due to menometrorrhagia, which is not controlled (for over 6 months). However I am unable to raise my hemoglobin, which even with iron supplements and changes in diet increased only 0.1. I do have some digestive issues which leave me bloated and in pain, with frequent bowel movements on certain days, and normal on others. All tests normal (except low hemoglobin), except mildly fatty liver. The doctoer wants more tests but I am exhausted. I suffer from ocasional bouts of weakness, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue and general feeling of being unwell. I was wondering is there any difference in absorption of ferrous sulfate and ferrous gluconate? I switched from the first to the latter a couple months ago and since then my hemoglobin stagnates. I am eating iron rich foods, taking supplements and nothing. I am desperately trying to get back in track but nothing seems to be working. Please help with advice and thank you.
Posted on 2013-04-07 07:27:35
Name:Lindsay
Location:New Zealand
Subject:Iron overload
At 59 I have for the fist time had my iron levels tested as my nephew found out he had Hemochromatosis. I have a single mutation but my ferritin level is 900. My doctor has told me to cut out red meat & dairy and will not send me to have regular blood taken out to lower my levels, he tells me I need to be higher than 1000 before he will agree. I have joined the blood bank & have had one lot taken but have to wait till June before they will take more. What do you make of all this? Should I go to another doctor for a second opinion?
Posted on 2013-04-09 00:48:44
Name:Maria
Location:USA
Subject:How long does it take to restore iron levels?
My iron levels have been moderately low (based on how I feel, really low), so I looked online to see what food I should be eating, funny thing is I have been craving all these foods! Even food I typically donít like. Itís funny how our bodies alert us! Iíve been eating canned tomatoes for dinner (I know thatís kind of gross) and I am addicted to chewing ice. All this makes sense when I think about my iron being low. My question for you is how long after taking supplements and adding iron rich foods to my diet will I start to feel better? I am pale, weak and tired. Itís been a few weeks and I donít feel any better. Thank you.
Posted on 2013-05-01 15:40:52
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: How long does it take to restore iron levels?
Hi Maria, thanks for your question. The U.S. National Library of Medicine states that, with supplementation and eating high iron foods, blood levels of iron should return back to normal after 2 months. However, it does depend on the cause of your iron deficiency, and your specific situation. Further, your body cycles through blood cells every 3-4 months. This means that after your iron levels have returned to normal, it might take another 3-4 months to have healthy blood and recover from your anemia. I hope that information helps.
Posted on 2013-05-02 10:15:38
Name:Wendy
Location:USA
Subject:Hepatic cellular carcinoma
I have just been diagnosed with hepatic cellular carcinoma (HCC). My father had iron overload resulting in porphuria. I had my spleen removed at 5yrs old associated with hemolytic spherocytic anemia, my daughter has increased reticulocyte production at 30yrs old. It appears I have congenital hematochromatosis as my feritin is high as well as my iron saturation rates. please let your readers understand that hematochromatosis is nothing to fool around with as it can lead to HCC. I can not undergo blood letting as I don't have a spleen. Any other ideas besides nutrition? I am vegan. Thank you.
Posted on 2013-05-02 10:34:18
Name:Lucas
Location:Australia
Subject:Iron in cereal?
Hi I 'm a little confused by your charts. In the top chart it states that fortified cereals contain 1.5mg of Iron per 100g and in the lower chart it states that fortified cereals contain 68mg of Iron per 100g? Thanks.
Posted on 2013-06-11 09:35:20
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Iron in cereal?
Hi Lucas, thanks for your question. The first 100 grams refers to that found in quinoa, the grain naturally highest in iron. The main term to note is "naturally". Fortified foods have iron added to them, and as such, can have as much iron as is added...you need to check the label. The purpose of this article is primary to highlight natural foods, since iron fortified foods can be given to have high iron. So the first number refers to the natural level, and the 2nd fortified number is listed for informational purposes to give an idea of what can be obtained. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2013-06-12 04:42:58
Name:Loopie
Location:UK
Subject:Babyfood / Brain Development
I am intrigued by the wealth of knowledge by the array of questions / answers!

I read that some babies who are breastfed may benefit early weaning because of low iron and also that from age of 5 months babies have RAPID brain growth - so I wonder which foods you'd recommend as super baby brain foods that I could blend up when weaning.

I have done typical fruit purees, strawberry, mango... and couple of veg, carrot and sweet potato. Really interested in maybe masterminding a soup ingredients list for the baby. Many thanks.

Posted on 2013-07-22 07:32:12
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Babyfood / Brain Development
Hi Loopie, thanks for your kind comments and question. If you are looking for high iron fruits and veggies to puree, check the article on high iron fruits and veggies. Parsley and/or spinach may be a good choice for iron. Please be aware that some of the listed foods may not be appropriate for toddlers, and keep in mind the possibility of allergies. For more ideas, check out the The Baby and Toddler Cookbook, as well as the 201 Organic Baby Purees recipe book. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2013-07-22 12:54:28
Name:Lisa
Location:Russia
Subject:Chicory and iron absorption
Hi, I love chicory drinks, but since I'm a vegetarian, I've got to be very careful with products that reduce my iron absorption. There's not much information about chicory on the internet, so I hope you can help with this question. Does it affect the iron absorption? Thanks.
Posted on 2013-08-18 14:33:39
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Chicory and iron absorption
Hi Lisa, thanks for your question. There are no studies on Chicory and iron absorption. The most important factor to iron absorption is how much iron is already in your body. If you are not iron deficient, then you probably don't need to worry. If you are low on iron, try to stop drinking chicory and see if it helps. However, it is likely that chicory will have little effect on iron absorption, so you can keep drinking it, and eating a normal vegetarian diet. Many vegetarian foods are high in iron.
Posted on 2013-08-18 14:33:39
Name:Pat
Location:Lincolnshire
Subject:High iron levels in blood
A recent blood test revealed that I have an above average level of iron in my blood. Can you tell me please what could be the cause of this and what damage to health this could do? Thanks.
Posted on 2013-09-11 15:39:36
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: High iron levels in blood
Hi Pat, thanks for your question. High blood iron levels, or hemochromatosis, is primarily caused by genetics, and so is inherited. High iron levels can cause organ damage, and eventually organ failure. Adopting a vegan diet, or at least avoiding red meat and shell fish, can help keep your iron level from rising too much. Also consider donating blood every 1-3 months, since it can help lower your blood iron levels. Hope those thoughts help.
Posted on 2013-09-11 21:49:13
Name:Jay
Location:Australia
Subject:Vegetarian Toddler with Low Iron Levels
Hi such a great insightful website you have here, thanks very much. Our family are vegetarians and have brought our 18 month old daughter up so far as a vegetarian. We had her iron level tested this week and it has come back as 7, our doctor advised that it is low and should be 9. We try to give her Centrum kids Incremin iron syrup to boost her iron, when she will take it as well as provide her a good mix of legumes, beans and green vegetables. Can you offer any further advise for us to improve her iron levels, whilst still maintaining a vegetarian diet? Thanks for your help.
Posted on 2013-09-12 14:13:05
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Vegetarian Toddler with Low Iron Levels
Hi Jay, thanks for your question. It sounds like you have a good diet going for your daughter. One thought is that Vitamin C can help to increase iron absorption. Although there is a lot of vitamin C in dark leafy greens, you could try also giving your daughter some high vitamin C fruits like papaya or strawberry, to see if it helps. Further, you could try giving her a fortified cereal that has both iron and vitamin C, and which might boost her level.
Posted on 2013-09-12 19:54:16
Name:RS
Location:Australia
Subject:Low Hemoglobin and Ferritn
Hi, I liked your site. I have a question. I have been always low in Iron, however recently its been noted that my iron is 20 but my hemoglobin is 6 and ferritin is 8 and also I'm taking spatone (2 sachets) in orange juice everyday. And also eating chicken liver and red meat and fish and just started taking chia seeds. I do not know why the level of my hemoglobin/ferritin is not improving, can this be related to hypothyroidism because I'm taking medication for it. It would be of great help if you could give me a suggestion as my doctor said if it doesn't show any improvement in a months time I have to undergo blood infusion, which I'm not interested in. Please advise. Thanks.
Posted on 2013-10-06 19:10:48
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Low Hemoglobin and Ferritn
Hi RS, thanks for your question. It does seem odd your iron level is not improving. Your hypothyroidism should not have an effect either. Before having a blood transfusion you could try an iron supplement with more iron. Spatone provides 5mg per sachet, but this supplement provides 25mg per dose. It may help. You could also get a 2nd opinion from another doctor. Finding a cause of your low iron is the main issue.
Posted on 2013-10-07 02:10:34
Name:Lorraine
Location:Bromley, UK
Subject:Low iron stores and iron supplementation
Hi, great website some great information. I have always suffered with heavy periods and low blood pressure. During both of my pregnancies I was anemic and had to be on iron supplements. 18 months ago I started to have symptoms and went to see my doctor. After a list of various blood tests it revealed I was anemic and had only 11 iron stores. I have been on 200mg ferrous sulphate tablets since then between 1-3 a day. I have changed my diet and eat red meat at least 2/3 times a week and lots of fruit and veg. I do however drink tea. I managed to get my hb to 12.5 and my iron stores up to 45 however they have now dropped to 11.5 and stores of 21. I've had investigations only to confirm I have an over average size uterus. I've been on the mini pill for 9 months now subsequently reducing my blood loss. I'm only 31 and this seems to be on-going. I'm now losing more hair than before too. I'm worried about how long I can be on the iron for without causing damage. Your advice and input would be greatly received.
Posted on 2013-11-01 06:27:07
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Low iron stores and iron supplementation
Hi Lorraine, thanks for your question and sharing your experience. Your hair loss is likely due to the anemia and lack of iron, and not the supplements. The main side effects of iron supplementation are constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, and stomach pain. The National Library of Medicine has a good page on taking iron supplements. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2013-11-02 06:15:00
Name:CL
Location:US
Subject:Low iron vegan
Hi, thanks for this article and information. I've been struggling with my hair falling out on and off for the past four years. I really don't like eating meat and I'm lactose intolerant therefore I am pretty much vegan right now. I take iron supplements everyday with vitamin C but it seems like it's not enough. I have a hard time digesting legumes, even lentils at times. Is it a good idea to double my iron supplement dosage and make sure that I'm getting enough vitamin C to help the absorption?
Posted on 2013-11-14 14:09:47
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Low iron vegan (and how to supplement iron)
Hi CL, thanks for your question. As the National Library of Medicine page on taking iron supplements states, taking too much iron can be harmful for your body, and it would be best to get a blood test and consult your doctor before taking more iron. Was your iron low on a prior blood test? How was your level of zinc or vitamin A? A deficiency in either one could also lead to hair loss. As you are vegan, vitamin A is probably ok, but you might try eating more high zinc foods or taking a supplement. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2013-11-15 04:51:53

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References

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20.
  2. Office of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheet: Iron
  3. Hallberg L, Rossander L. Effect of different drinks on the absorption of non-heme iron from composite meals. Hum Nutr Appl Nutr. 1982 Apr;36(2):116-23.
  4. Richard F. Hurrell, Manju Reddy, and James D. Cook. Inhibition of non-haem iron absorption in man by polyphenolic-containing beverages. British Journal of Nutrition (1999), 81, 289Ė295
  5. National Library of Medicine Fact Sheet on Taking Iron Supplements.