You can reduce your risk of iron deficiency anemia by choosing iron-rich foods.
Choose iron-rich foods
Foods rich in iron include:
- Red meat
- Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach
- Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots
- Iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas
Your body absorbs more iron from meat than it does from other sources. If you choose to not eat meat, you may need to increase your intake of iron-rich, plant-based foods to absorb the same amount of iron as someone who eats meat.
Choose foods containing vitamin C to enhance iron absorption
You can enhance your body's absorption of iron by drinking citrus juice or eating other foods rich in vitamin C at the same time that you eat high-iron foods. Vitamin C in citrus juices, like orange juice, helps your body to better absorb dietary iron.
Vitamin C is also found in:
- Leafy greens
Preventing iron deficiency anemia in infants
To prevent iron deficiency anemia in infants, feed your baby breast milk or iron-fortified formula for the first year. Cow's milk isn't a good source of iron for babies and isn't recommended for infants under 1 year. Between the ages of 4 and 6 months, start feeding your baby iron-fortified cereals or pureed meats at least twice a day to boost iron intake. After one year, be sure children don't drink more than 24 ounces of milk a day. Too much milk often takes the place of other foods, including ones that are rich in iron.
Jan. 02, 2014
- Lichtman MA, et al. Williams Hematology. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=69. Accessed Sept. 11, 2013.
- What is iron-deficiency anemia? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ida/. Accessed Sept. 11, 2013.
- Iron-deficiency anemia. American Society of Hematology. http://www.hematology.org/patients/blood-disorders/anemia/5263.aspx. Accessed Sept. 11, 2013.
- CBC with differential, blood. Mayo Medical Laboratories. http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/Clinical+and+Interpretive/9109. Accessed Sept. 11, 2013.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4.Accessed Sept. 11, 2013.
- Iron and iron deficiency. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/vitamins/iron.html. Accessed Sept. 11, 2013.