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Iron Rich Foods

Iron Power

During pregnancy and when there is excessive blood loss, such as heavy menstruation, a woman’s body requires more iron. The recommended dietary allowance for pregnancy and women under 51 years of age is 15 milligrams per day. Most prenatal vitamins contain more than this amount.

Anemia is present when there is a reduced amount of red blood cells circulating in the blood, which reduces the amount of oxygen carried in the blood. Anemic women may require more than the normal amount of iron so that the body can make more blood cells and improve oxygen levels. Iron also promotes the immune system and helps to build protein in the body. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, pale skin, headache, weakness, and irritability. There are other types of anemia that are not caused by a lack of iron alone. Your doctor will take lab tests to determine what type you may have.

Iron is best absorbed when it comes from animal sources, but plants also contain iron. Organic meats, such as liver and kidneys, are high in iron but are also high in cholesterol, and some nutrition experts believe that they are also high in toxins. Therefore, they may not be the best choice. Eating vitamin C-rich food along with iron-rich foods helps to increase absorption. Some foods high in vitamin C are tomatoes and tomato juice, oranges and orange juice, cantaloupe, strawberries, green and red peppers, and broccoli. For example, drinking orange juice after eating your fortified breakfast cereal will increase total absorption. Tomato sauce with ground beef will have the same effect. Combining rice, beans, and tomatoes will boost iron absorption, also. Do not drink coffee or tea with your meals as both regular and decaffeinated can reduce absorption.

Iron-Rich Foods from Animal Sources

Beef, cooked (3 oz.) 3 mg
Shrimp, cooked (3 oz.) 3 mg
Poultry, cooked (3 oz.) 1 mg
Pork, cooked (3 oz.) 1 mg
Fish, cooked (3 oz.) 1 mg


Iron-Rich Foods from Plant Sources

Fortified breakfast cereal (1/2 cup) 2-18 mg (check the nutritional label)
Apricots, dried (1/2 cup) 3.6 mg
Molasses, blackstrap (1 tablespoon) 3.5 mg
Spinach, cooked (1/2 cup) 3.2 mg
Potato, baked in skin (1 medium) 2.8 mg
Prune juice (1/4 cup) Drledbeans, cooked (1/2 cup) 2.6 mg
Nuts and seeds (1 oz) 2.6 mg
Enriched Rice, cooked (1/2 cup) 1.5-2 mg
Raisins, seedless (1/3 cup) 1.2 mg
Strawberries (3/4 cup) 1.1 mg
Tomato juice (1/2 cup) 1.1 mg
Whole wheat bread (1 slice) 1.1 mg

The leading cause of poisoning for children is the ingestion of iron supplements. Store your vitamins out of children’s reach and request childproof caps at the pharmacy.

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