Increase your iron intake naturally

  • 2 Minutes Read

What is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world? Iron! Learn how to increase iron intake naturally.

Iron Intake

What is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world?

Even though much of the trending nutrition talk these days is about probiotics, fasting, protein and sodium, the most common, severe, and important nutrient deficiency in the world is iron. Iron is a mineral that is needed to carry oxygen throughout the body.

Who is most at risk?

Even though everyone is at risk for iron-deficiency anemia, the following groups are at greatest risk:

One of my clients experienced this, "I was diagnosed with anemia after my first child. I was pale and had no energy. I would fall asleep while breastfeeding, which is really how tired it made me. My whole body felt like it would just collapse because my muscles felt so weak. I started eating more lean beef, red meat and snacking on turkey and kale."

What are the most common symptoms of iron deficiency?

Note: These symptoms could also be common for other health issues. It is essential to confirm iron deficiency anemia through diagnosis by a blood test through your healthcare provider.

Two quick and easy tips to increase your iron intake

1. Focus on eating both animal and plant iron sources.

Some of the best animal sources of iron are:

Some of the best plant sources of iron are:

2. Eat iron-rich foods and vitamin C-rich foods together.

Your body absorbs the iron from animal sources 2 to 3 times better than from plant sources. However, you can increase the iron absorption from plant sources in two ways. If you eat meat, fish or poultry in the same meal as plant sources of iron, the percentage of iron absorbed from the plant source increases. Also, if you eat or drink a food rich in vitamin C at the same meal, you can also increase the iron absorption from the plant source.

For example:

These tips can both help prevent and treat iron-deficiency anemia.

Originally published on May 10, 2016,
Updated: Updated: Feb 5, 2020

Feb 5, 2020
Martha M. Henze
Martha M. Henze, MPH, MS, RDN - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Global Public Health Epidemiologist

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