Iron Deficiency Diet ~ Health Guide

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Iron Deficiency Diet

Written by Mystic on Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Iron in your diet!

So you've been diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia! We advise you to include more iron in your diet. Infact, if you know which foods are rich in iron you'll be taking the first step to boosting your iron stores. However, if anemia is severe, you can go in for an iron supplement such as ferrous sulphate or a multi-vitamin with iron.

For your convenience we'll like to tell you that iron in your food is present in two forms: Heme iron which is efficiently absorbed by your body and Nonheme (plant) iron that is discernibly less well absorbed. Heme iron if found in meat, fish and poultry while nonheme if also found in these foods as well as in dried fruit, molasses, leafy green vegetables, wine and most iron supplements.

Eating for energy!

It's not enough to know where iron is lurking. You have to get it into your system. This is somewhat more difficult for vegetarians (since all nonmeat forms of iron are nonheme, and therefore less well absorbed) but it's certainly not impossible. Some tips:

  • Choose iron-rich foods. Lean meats, fish, and poultry are still the best iron sources for meat eaters. For those of you who aren't willing to eat non-veg once a week, foods like beans and legumes, greens, whole grains, and dried fruits will provide iron, albeit in a less absorbable (nonheme) form.
  • Choose more 'C.' Vitamin C, which helps trap and dissolve iron, can improve the absorption of nonheme iron. "Including a vitamin C-rich food with meals is a good way for vegetarians to get more iron. Vitamin C comes in so many colors and flavors like broccoli, tomatoes, green and red peppers, orange juice, grapefruit, strawberries, mangoes and papayas, even baked potatoes. The list is endless. Easy to choose! Isn't it?
  • Remember that little things add up. Switch to an iron-fortified cereal for breakfast. It may sound like an old wives' tale, but cooking in an iron container especially with high-acid foods like tomatoes can contribute a little extra iron, too.
  • Avoid excess coffee, tea, or chocolate with meals. These beverages contain substances that inhibit the absorption of nonheme iron. Infact, stay away from coffee or tea immediately after meals. You could be losing almost 50% of the iron you just ate.
  • Supplement with ferrous sulfate or a multivitamin. For those of us who simply can't get enough iron from foods, supplementation may be a viable alternative. Ask your health care provider or nutritionist what supplement is best for you. Make sure that you don't take iron supplements at the same meal as calcium supplements, because calcium interferes with iron absorption.

MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Iron in diet

Iron in your Diet

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