5 Ways to Increase Iron Levels in Your Blood

11 February, 2021
Want to increase your iron levels in your blood? See which foods to consume and avoid along with some other helpful suggestions.

Iron is a trace element that is essential in the formation of hemoglobin and red blood cells. That’s why having good levels of iron in your blood is vital for a healthy body.

When iron levels decrease, your tissues don’t get enough oxygen. This can cause weakness, fatigue, and anemia. If your doctor has told you that you have an iron deficiency, follow their advice and, if they recommend it, check out the following tips.

1. Eat foods rich in iron

To keep up good iron levels in your blood, it’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet. The principal cause of low iron is poor nutrition. Since iron is a mineral, you can find it naturally in foods, both animal and plant-based.

  • Iron found in animal-based foods is the kind your body absorbs more easily. The main source is meat (especially red meat).
  • Iron found in plants is absorbed more slowly, but it’s equally as good for you. The best options are legumes, leafy green vegetables, and tree nuts.

Want to learn more? 9 Blood-Cleansing Herbs and Spices

2. Increase consumption of foods rich in vitamin C

In order for iron to be absorbed well, it needs to turn into ferritin. This process occurs due to the action of gastric juice, which contains hydrochloric acid and the presence of vitamin C. For this reason, it is necessary to include in the diet more acidic foods rich in vitamin C such as lemon, orange, strawberries, broccoli and bell pepper.

Please note, although vitamin C is important for your immune system and iron absorption, too much of it can cause a folic acid deficiency. It’s best to consume a maximum of two citrus fruits per day.

3. Moderate your consumption of iron-blocking foods

Just as there are foods that cause iron levels to increase, there are others that you should avoid. If your doctor has diagnosed you with anemia or an iron deficiency, avoid these foods:

  • Eggs. The phosvitin that they contain prevents your body from absorbing plant-based iron.
  • Milk. The calcium in dairy products inhibits iron absorption from animal and plant products when you consume more than 300mg per day.
  • Tea. The oxalate in it affects the absorption of iron from plants. It’s not recommended to drink tea with foods that have a lot of iron.
  • Chocolate and coffee. Their phenolic compounds inhibit iron absorption from plants.
  • Nuts. The phytates that they and other seeds contain act as strong iron blockers and can reduce the absorption of iron by 50-65%.

4. Take iron supplements if you are pregnant or if your doctor prescribes it.

If you are pregnant, it may be advisable to take iron supplements to meet your body’s energy demands and the iron needs of the fetus for proper development. Consult your doctor about this to find out what is right for you.

Depending on why your iron levels are low, consult your doctor before starting to take a supplement. It should be noted that supplements aren’t necessary in all cases and not all supplements are right for everyone.

If you’ve been diagnosed with an iron deficiency and after a few months discover that you are pregnant, let your doctor know.

They may advise you to have a blood test. Once you get the results, they can tell you if you need to make any changes to your diet.

Check out this article: Eat These Foods to Raise Your Levels of Iron

5. Avoid large amounts of dietary fiber

Dietary fiber has several important jobs in your body, like regulating digestion, helping reduce cholesterol levels in the blood, and protecting you from some chronic diseases, like colonic neoplasms.

Although eating fiber is great for you, eating too much fiber can be counterproductive when you have low levels of iron in your blood.

Since it’s a laxative, iron passes through your digestive system faster. This means that less iron is absorbed.

fiber in apples and oatmeal

Salad to increase iron levels

Although these tips are rather simple to implement, maybe you don’t know where to start to raise iron levels in your blood. In this case, try this salad.

Ingredients

  • Lean red beef (150 g)
  • 1 cup of arugula (100 g)
  • 1 cup of spinach (100 g)
  • 1 sectioned grapefruit, without skin or seeds
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper (a pinch, to taste)

Preparation

  • First, season the steak or other red meat and grill it.
  • Cut the grilled meat in bite-size pieces.
  • In a bowl, combine the meat, vegetables, and the grapefruit.
  • Season with a little bit of salt and freshly ground pepper and eat it right away.

Always take care of yourself and eat healthy

Low consumption of iron-rich foods can lead to anemia, among other complications. However, it is not a matter of incorporating, overnight, large amounts of this nutrient, but to find a way to introduce it more frequently, in a balanced way.

Remember to always follow your doctor’s recommendations, since he/she is the one who can best advise you in terms of wellness. After all, he or she knows in detail what is best for your health.

  • Pita-Rodríguez G. y cols. (2013). El bajo consumo de alimentos ricos en hierro y potenciadores de su absorción se asocia con anemia en preescolares cubanos de las provincias orientales. Revista Chilena de Nutrición, [online] (3). Available at: https://scielo.conicyt.cl/pdf/rchnut/v40n3/art03.pdf [Accessed 1 Nov. 2017].
  • MEDISAN. (2009). Importancia del consumo de hierro y vitamina C para la prevención de anemia ferropénica. [online] Available at: http://bvs.sld.cu/revistas/san/vol13_6_09/san14609.pdf [Accessed 1 Nov. 2017].