There are many foods that can be eaten to help prevent or treat iron deficiency. Some common iron deficiency foods are green leafy vegetables; fortified grain products such as bread, pasta and cereal; and various types of seafood and meat, including liver. Prune juice also is good for fighting iron deficiency, and even some condiments are good sources of iron.
Iron plays an important role in the human body. It also is responsible for producing hemoglobin, a protein that is found in red blood cells and that carries oxygen to the body's tissues. Two types of iron exist. Non-heme iron is found in iron deficiency foods such as green leafy vegetables and cereals. Heme iron, which is better absorbed by the body, can be found in poultry, fish and red meats.
Bread made from enriched flour has iron added to it because iron is lost during processing. When pastas and products have iron included, that information typically can be found on the packaging label. Iron deficiency foods such as instant cereals also are fortified with iron. When cooking foods high in iron, the best way for one to retain the nutrient is to cook it for the shortest time possible. Using the lowest amount of water also helps to not lose any iron.
Calf liver is available year-round. When compared with beef liver, it is less likely to have high amounts of pesticides and hormones because of the animal's young age. People who have anemia can benefit from the high amounts of iron in calf liver. In addition to supporting oxygen transport, eating calf liver optimizes the immune system. People who consume calf liver take in large doses of zinc and vitamin A.
People searching for iron deficiency foods can find a good source of iron in prune juice. When prune juice is processed, it retains most of the fruit's main nutrients. Prune juice also contains large amounts of zinc, fiber and niacin. To help the body absorb more iron, it is recommended for one to drink orange juice or take vitamin C supplements.
There is a wide variety of seafood that contains plenty of iron for people who have anemia. It also has omega-3 fatty acids and is high in protein. Sardines have high levels of iron and calcium, which helps keep bones in the body healthy. The best iron deficiency foods from the sea include mussels, oysters and scallops. Steaming the seafood helps prevent the iron from being lost.
Many condiments and sauces contain large amounts of iron. People who eat foods with low amounts of iron can season their meals to meet the daily iron requirements. Curry powder and ground ginger provide help raise iron levels. Sauces containing soy products also have the same effect on the body.