Include a variety of iron-rich foods in your diet. Good sources of heme iron (more easily absorbed by the body) include red meat, poultry, and fish. Non-heme iron sources include beans, lentils, tofu, fortified cereals, and dark green leafy vegetables.
Enhance non-heme iron absorption by consuming it with vitamin C-rich foods. Pair iron-rich plant foods with citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, or tomatoes to improve absorption.
Calcium can inhibit the absorption of non-heme iron. Avoid consuming calcium-rich foods (such as dairy products) during meals containing iron-rich foods.
Cooking food in cast iron cookware can increase the iron content of the food. Acidic foods, such as tomatoes, can absorb even more iron when cooked in cast iron.
Tannins in tea and coffee can interfere with iron absorption. Limit the consumption of these beverages, especially around meal times, to maximize iron absorption.
If you struggle to meet your iron needs through diet alone, consult with a healthcare professional about iron supplements. It's important to take supplements under the guidance of a healthcare provider to avoid excessive iron intake, which can have adverse effects.
Women with heavy menstrual bleeding may be at risk of iron deficiency. If you experience heavy periods, consider talking to your healthcare provider about potential treatments or interventions to manage blood loss.
Regular blood tests can help monitor your iron levels. If you suspect an iron deficiency or have symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, or pale skin, consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.