Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Eat More Iron Rich Foods


Salad, Whole Meal, Real Food

Do you eat enough iron rich foods

Did you know that beans and lentils are not only a good source of protein, but  also a rich source of iron?

Mexican Food, Enchiladas, Onion, Dinner

Did you know that if you are deficient in iron, it may weaken your immune system and you may be more prone to infection ?

It is easy to become deficient in iron without even knowing it.
Iron is important for a strong immune system and without enough iron you may become prone to infection.

A friend of mine donates blood a few times a year. 
Often when she goes, they don't accept her blood because her hemoglobin levels are too low. They give her a flyer which explains how to increase iron levels. She is surprised because she is not a vegetarian, but her levels are frequently  low none the less. The good news is that after about 3-4  weeks of following their suggestions, her iron levels return to the normal range.
Information and suggestions from the Community Blood Council of New Jersey, Inc. ( 2008)

  • Hemoglobin is the oxygen -carrying pigment and major protein in the red blood cells. Iron rich foods help individuals maintain healthy levels.
  • There are two types of iron rich foods. Heme iron which comes from animal products like meat, poultry, and fish and Non-heme iron which comes from fruits, vegetables, and grains. Although heme iron is more easily absorbed, if you eat foods rich in Vitamin C with non-heme iron sources, the Vitamin C increases absorption.

Tomatoes, Red, Sliced, Sliced Tomatoes

Vitamin C Rich Foods That Help Absorption of Iron                                

Cantaloupe, broccoli, tomatoes,                                      
strawberries, peppers, 

Foods that Inhibit Absorption

Coffee, tea, red wine, bran, fiber,

Beware :  Spinach is rich in iron; however, it also contains oxalic acid which is an iron inhibitor. In order to absorb more of the iron in spinach, cook and then drain before eating. Oxalic acid is water soluble and will wash away in the water.

Men require about 10 mg of iron a day, while women require about 18mg a day. Iron is an important mineral and essential for energy and strong immune system.

According to the Mayo Clinic a deficiency in iron can lead to the following symptoms:

■ Fatigue

■Pale skin


■Shortness of breath


■Dizziness or light headedness

■Cold hands and feet


■Inflammation or soreness of your tongue

■Increased likelihood for infection

Dark leafy greens are a great source of iron

Vegetarian/ Vegan Iron Rich Sources

1. Cooked beans and lentils    1 cup   4.7 mg

2. Dark Leafy Greens   ( cooked)  1 cup  6 mg.

3. Prune Juice  1/2 cup    5.2 mg

4. Sesame Seeds /pumpkin seeds/ watermelon seeds ( dried)  1 oz.  4 mg.

5. Walnuts  1/2 cup 3.75 mg.

6. Dried Fruit    2 ounces  1.5- 2.0

It is no surprise that many ethnic recipes have depended on iron rich beans or lentils.

Try this delicious Middle Eastern Iron Rich Recipe

( Lebanese Lentils and rice) 

A traditional recipe popular in Middle Eastern countries. Simple, yet very  tasty. Top with  diced tomatoes and Greek yogurt.
Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 25-30 minutes

2 large yellow onions, diced
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup brown lentils, washed
1 cup brown rice or white rice, washed
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon of cumin
4 and 1/2 cups water


Saute diced onions in olive oil until browned. Add rice and lentils to mixture and saute an additional 1-2 minutes until rice and lentils are coated and a little toasted. Cover with water, add salt, bring to a boil, simmer covered for about 25-30 minutes until rice and lentils are tender and water is absorbed.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, and this information is for educational purposes only. Always check with your doctor before making any changes in your diet.


  1. Lots of great info here! I've had iron issues my whole life, so I'm always looking for different ways to boost my iron levels! I'd love it if you'd link them up to my new Tuesday linky-Made From Scratch Tuesday!

  2. Thanks for following my blog judee :-)
    What a helpful post, this sums up everything perfectly! I happen to love the iron rich foods, especially spinach.. This recipe looks delicious, would love to try it soon, thanks!

    Teenie Foodie

  3. Hi,

    Iron is important for a strong immune system and without enough iron you can become prone to infection. Iron rich foods help individuals maintain healthy levels. Thanks for sharing this useful post.

  4. I clicked on cool and interesting- hope that's okay?
    Hi Judee! I have battled with low iron levels for a long time now, whan I take the iron pilss they constipate me so I eat tons of watercress. I am so excited to have found this article- as with this wealth of information I can empower myself to be more pro-active with an iron-rich diet, thank you
    I'm hosting a weekly linky which is all about seasonal celebration and would love it if you popped over and linked this post, so many of us suffer form low iron levels, whether we know it or not! It would be great to introduce your blog to my readership! Seasonal Celebration Linky http://naturalmothersnetwork.com/seasonal-celebration-sunday/seasonal-celebration/ Really hope to see you there! Rebecca x!

  5. Rebecca,
    Thanks for the invite. I will over to post and look forward to reading your blog.

  6. I take floradix for iron, but even with that natural, liquid supplement, I know food is the best method for absorbing. I will be pinning this for my prego resources pinboard!

  7. Great info! I would definitely like to try the recipe too!

  8. Judee thank you very much for placing this post on Natural Mothers Network's linky: Seasonal Celebration! You helped make Seasonal Celebration a wealth of intelligent, creative and resourceful information and it's been such a pleasure for me and many others to read through each post. I am really looking forward to seeing you again Sunday evening or Monday! Rebecca x

  9. i'm really trying to eat that foods but we are too busy in this time and we don't cook much as we need.

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  11. hello everyone I am new this blog
    if anyone would give what food would good source of iron deficient and immune deficient?
    my stomach always bloated?
    I get canker sores and feel Fatigue,weaknes, headaches,dizziness,light headedness, cold feet and hands?

    I would love to loss couple pounds
    I hope you guys reply to me.

    please if anyone could

  12. Very informative article. iron rich foods list
    Thanks for providing Us this wonderful article.

    1. Thanks for stopping by . I always appreciate comments..

  13. You're so awesome! I don't think I've read through something like that before.
    So great to find somebody with a few genuine thoughts on this issue.
    Really.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is something that'sneeded on the web,
    someone with some originality!

  14. Hi Judee, I need to eat more foods with iron in. I am often feeling tired or weak and I think it is to do with my iron levels. Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays :) Hope you can join us tomorrow.

  15. I do not even understand how I ended up here,
    however I thought this post was good. I don't recognize who you're
    however definitely you're going to a famous blobger should you aren't already.


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