Why am I writing a Top 10 Iron Rich Foods list? Recently we had a big scare with our 17 year old son who’s hemoglobin dropped dangerously low due to a related health issue – ending in a trip to the ER and two days of blood transfusions, medications, and treatments. Once they stabilized him he was put on iron pills 3 times a day to try to rebuild his blood stores in addition to steroids and other medication. I can’t begin to tell you how frightening this time was for us, and how helpless this made us feel. I’m afraid that his hemoglobin problem is one he inherited from me, and it made me think of our own nutritional habits and how we could include more iron in our daily diet to try to head this off before it happens again. After doing a bunch of “mom-frantic” research, below is a list of what I found to be the most iron-rich foods you can eat to get those blood cells multiplying.
According to webmd.com – “When you eat food with iron, iron is absorbed into your body mainly through the upper part of your small intestine. There are two forms of dietary iron: heme and nonheme. Heme iron is derived from hemoglobin. It is found in animal foods that originally contained hemoglobin, such as red meats, fish, and poultry. Your body absorbs the most iron from heme sources. Nonheme iron is from plant sources. Iron in plant foods such as lentils, beans, and spinach is nonheme iron. This is the form of iron added to iron-enriched and iron-fortified foods. Our bodies are less efficient at absorbing nonheme iron, but most dietary iron is nonheme iron.”
Here is my list. It differs a little from webmd, but it gives you a good range of meat and non-meat items.
- Beef Liver
- Navy Beans
- Swiss Chard
- Black Beans
- Beef Steak
- Egg Yolk
- Collard Greens
There are tons of other foods that can help with iron deficiency and head off anemia so please take care of your health! So try to include as many of these into your diet as you can, and let your blood flow!