People with anemia should eat foods such as beef, turkey and other poultry, liver, sardines, clams and oysters. These foods are a source of heme iron, which is the type of iron with the best absorption rate, states WebMD. Non-meat sources of iron are not as well absorbed but account for most dietary iron. These sources include beans, lentils and dark-green leafy vegetables such as spinach.
The body absorbs dietary iron through the small intestine and uses it to produce red blood cells, or hemoglobin, explains WebMD. The hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen to all the body's tissues, and without enough iron, the body cannot produce a sufficient amount of hemoglobin. This results in iron deficiency anemia, the most common form of anemia. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, irritability and weakness.
Women are more likely than men to become anemic, due to blood loss through menstruation and childbirth, according to Cleveland Clinic. In many cases, anemia is also a result of inadequate dietary iron. In addition to eating foods that are rich in iron, people with anemia may also need to take an iron supplement to rebuild their bodies' iron stores. To increase iron absorption from non-meat sources or supplements, a person should include a good source of vitamin C, such as orange juice, with their iron.