Dietary intervention for Anemia

Dietary intervention for Anemia


Anemia is a disease that usually occurs when there is not enough iron or further hemoglobin in your red blood cells for carrying the enough oxygen to the body tissues. In this way, your body is deprived of oxygen and you may go to die if the condition becomes severe. The condition is usually caused by the blood loss, RBC’s destruction or when the body is unable to produce enough of red blood cells. But the leading cause of it is iron deficiency and the body doesn’t produce enough hemoglobin. Folate and vitamin B12 mal-absorption or deficiency may develop pernicious anemia in your body. In this article, the discussion will be about the dietary intervention for the prevention and control of anemic condition.

Diet plan for Anemia:

Diet plan for the anemic condition must contain such foods that are rich in iron and B vitamins enhancing the production of hemoglobin and in turn red blood cells. It should also include such types of diets that enhance or improves the iron absorption into your body.

Types of iron (found in food):

There are two types of iron found in foods:

  • Heme iron: it is a type of iron that is found in meaty foods such as beef, mutton, poultry and sea food.
  • Non-heme iron: it is a type of iron that is found in plant foods and in elemental form that is in the fortified foods e.g flour.

Both irons can easily be absorbed by our body but heme iron is absorbed more effectively.

The diet plan rich in iron only can’t replenish your depleted iron stores to cope over the anemia but you must take the daily supplement of about 150 mg to 200 mg of iron to meet up the requirement. With iron rich diet you must take supplements. The foods that should be included in your diet to beat anemia are:

Green leafy vegetables:

Green leafy vegetables are the best source of non-heme iron especially those having more dark green appearance. These may include:

  • Spinach (rich source of iron)
  • Kale
  • Collard greens
  • Dandelion greens

Green leafy vegetables along with non-heme iron are also good source of folate. Folate is also necessary for human health and its deficiency also causes anemia. It can also be obtained from citrus fruits and beans etc.

Keep in view:

  • While consuming leafy green vegetables for treating the anemia, keep in mind that some of them e.g spinach are also rich in oxalates that reduces the iron absorption. So don’t depend only on them for iron access, also include other iron rich foods.
  • You must consume the diets rich in vitamin C e.g citrus along with the iron containing diets as vitamin C enhances the iron absorption.

Meat and poultry:

Meat and poultry are rich sources of heme iron. Red meat is one of the best sources. White meat e.g poultry may have the lower amounts. Taking the heme iron with the non-heme iron sources can be better.


The organ meat is a rich source of iron as it acts as a store house for iron storage. Liver is the rich source of iron and folate. The other organs meat rich in iron include kidneys, heart and tongue.


The sea-foods e.g oysters, clams and shripms are good sources of heme-iron. Fishes are also rich in iron. They may include:

  • Tuna (canned or fresh)
  • Sardines (canned or fresh)

Keep in view: 

  • The foods that are rich sources of calcium shouldn’t be consumed with iron rich sources as the calcium binds with iron and reduces its absorption. Some foods rich in calcium are:
  • Raw milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Broccoli etc;

Fortified foods:

The fortified foods can also be the source of iron as:

  • Fortified orange juice
  • Fortified flour
  • Fortified cereals
  • Fortified white rice


Beans can also be the rich source of iron:

  • Kidney beans
  • Chick-peas
  • Soybeans
  • Black-eye peas
  • Black beans
  • Peas

Seeds and Nuts:

Nuts and seeds can also be the rich source of iron. Some of them that contain iron are:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios
  • Pine nuts
  • Sunflower seeds


So, in a nutshell the anemia can’t be treated with eating the foods rich in iron but it can be managed from them. Always consume the iron foods containing both heme and non-heme iron together and along with vitamin C to enhance its absorption.

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