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What types of iron-rich foods help prevent anemia?

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Quick Answer

Some foods high in iron include chicken liver, oysters, tofu, spinach and whole wheat bread, states Cleveland Clinic. Additionally, tuna, eggs, brown rice and instant oatmeal are also iron-rich choices. Iron from animal sources or heme iron is more easily absorbed by the body than plant sources or nonheme iron.

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More sources of heme iron are clams, beef liver or beef, shrimp, turkey leg or leg of lamb, according to Cleveland Clinic. Additional sources of nonheme iron include enriched raisin bran, lima or kidney beans, peanut butter, lentils and molasses. Iron deficiency anemia occurs when the body does not get enough iron to produce hemoglobin, states Mayo Clinic. Hemoglobin is what allows red blood cells to carry oxygen through the body.

Not all cases of iron deficiency anemia are caused by poor diet, according to Mayo Clinic. In some cases, the body cannot properly absorb iron. This can occur due to conditions such as celiac disease or surgical removal of part of the intestine. Additionally, pregnancy and blood loss can also cause an iron deficiency. Women who are pregnant require additional iron for the growing fetus, as well as an increase in blood volume. Blood loss from menstruation or slow blood loss that occurs over time with ulcers or colon cancer can result in an iron deficiency.

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