15 Foods To Fight Anemia

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Anemia is a medical condition where there is not enough oxygen supply in the blood, causing our tissues and organs to be deprived of oxygen needed to function. This is condition is largely related to a lack of iron, which is required in order for the body to create hemoglobin, which is the oxygen-carrying component of our blood. Without enough iron, the red blood cells cannot have enough oxygen-carrying capacity to meet our body’s daily requirements. [1]

People affected with mild anemia may simply feel fatigued throughout the day while more severe cases affect oxygen delivery to our major organs, damaging their ability to function adequately. Other symptoms of anemia can include weakness, pale skin, fast or irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness and cognitive impairment.

Here’s a great list of naturally iron rich foods to supplement your diet with. Stats are from the USDA nutrient database [2] – and note that in order to “keep it natural” we skipped the foods that have been artificially fortified with iron.

#1: Liver

Iron content in 100 grams: 44.55 mg

Liver might not be a popular American dish, but it is a favored snack and viand in Asia. Because it is rich in iron, the Asian population is less affected by anemia compared to the US population. According to the WHO report on the worldwide prevalence of anemia, only 15 percent of the south-east Asian population is affected by anemia, compared to 40 percent of Americans. [3]

#2: Clams

Iron content in 100 grams: 28 mg

Shellfish is rich in iron and iodine, and is a good food choice for people suffering anemia.

#3: Morel Mushrooms

Iron content in 100 grams: 12.18 mg

Another vegetable that is rich in iron is the mushroom. Mushrooms are quite delicious in cream-based pastas, egg scrambles, stir fries and soups. Morel Mushrooms are higher in iron than the regular field mushroom variety.

#4: Dark Chocolate / Cacao

Iron content in 100 grams: 11.90 mg

Chocolate is a great iron-boosting food source for people with anemia. It’s also high in copper and magnesium.

#5: White Beans And Lentils

Iron content in 100 grams of white beans: 10.44 mg
Iron content in 100 grams of lentils: 7.39 mg

A white bean and lentil salad is rich in iron and is delicious as well. Steam them and toss them together with olive oil, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.

#6: Squash And Pumpkin Seeds

Iron content in 100 grams: 8.82 mg

The nutrition value of squash and pumpkin is best kept with steaming and boiling. You can either have it mashed as a side dish or mixed with rice, quinoa, and risotto.

#7: Oatmeal

Iron content in 100 grams: 6 mg

Instead of commercial cereals and toaster pastries, opt for oatmeal instead. It is good for digestion, low in fat and high in iron. Add in organic honey for a little kick!

#8: Lean Beef or Lamb

Iron content in 100 beef: 5.46 mg
Iron content in 100 grams of lamb: 2.80 mg

Lean meats are excellent source of protein without the dangers of high fat intake. Because they are also rich in iron, you can grill them and have them in a sandwich, with rice, or with a side of vegetables.

#9: Tofu

Iron content in 100 grams: 5.36 mg

Tofu is a popular protein-alternative for vegetarians, but they are slowly becoming very popular as a healthier alternative to meats. Tofu can be added to soup, salads, and as a main dish as well. Tofu drinks are becoming very popular today as well!

#10: Dried Fruit

Iron content in 100 grams of dried peaches: 4.06 mg
Iron content in 100 grams of dried currants: 3.26 mg
Iron content in 100 grams of dried apricots: 2.26 mg

Because fruits easily go bad, they can be hard to store and continuously purchase. But don’t fret! Dried fruits which used to be popular only in Asia are now popular worldwide and despite being more expensive “per pound”, they store for longer compared to fresh fruits.

#11 Nuts (Almonds, Cashews, Pine Nuts, Hazelnuts)

Iron content in 100 grams of almonds: 3.86 mg
Iron content in 100 grams of cashews: 6.68 mg
Iron content in 100 grams of pine nuts: 5.53 mg
Iron content in 100 grams of pine nuts: 4.70 mg

Almonds, pine nuts, and cashew nuts are a popular topping for salads. You can dress your salad with extra virgin olive oil to make it healthier but take it a step further by sprinkling a variety of nuts on top.

#12: Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Iron content in 100 grams of spinach: 3.57 mg
Iron content in 100 grams of kale: 3 mg
Iron content in 100 grams of broccoli: 2.14 mg

Stir-fried or steamed, dark green leafy vegetables are recommended by doctors to people suffering from iron-deficiency anemia. Greens should definitely be a part of your daily meals.

#13: Olives

Iron content in 100 grams: 3.32 mg

Olives are an acquired taste but they can easily be added in small amounts to food for an extra zing of flavor. They can be an alternative topping for homemade pizza and pasta.

#14: Asparagus

Iron content in 100 grams: 2.14 mg

A popular side to a meat dish, asparagus can be cooked in a number of ways. You can wrap them in bacon and bake them, steam them, or make cream of asparagus soup!

#15: Berries

Iron content in 100 grams of mulberries: 1.85 mg
Iron content in 100 grams of elderberries: 1.60 mg
Iron content in 100 grams of ground cherries: 1 mg

Berries are not known for their iron content but they can be an excellent food choice for people with anemia as well. Make a fresh berry salad or add them to yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast.

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