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Recipes, other treatment options, and more

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Iron-deficiency anemia occurs when there is not enough iron in the body. A person can use ingredients containing high amounts of iron and vitamin C to make smoothies that can increase the body’s iron intake.

Red blood cells contain an iron-rich protein called hemoglobin. It helps transport oxygen around the body. Low iron levels can cause a condition called anemia, which is when a person does not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues.

Iron-deficiency anemia usually develops over time, when the body’s iron intake is low. Treatment for this condition includes taking iron supplements and increasing the amount of iron a person consumes.

In this article, we discuss ways in which a person can increase their intake of iron through what they drink. We also look at how much iron a person should consume per day.

A 2020 article states that there are two types of dietary iron: heme and nonheme iron.

Nonheme iron comes from plants and iron-fortified foods. Heme iron comes from animal food sources. The body does not absorb nonheme iron as easily as heme iron.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute state that increasing a person’s vitamin C intake can help the body absorb more iron.

A person can make smoothies using the following ingredients, which are high in vitamin C:

Citrus fruits

This group of fruits includes oranges and grapefruits and contains large amounts of vitamin C.

Approximately 180 grams (g) of orange segments contains 95.8 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C.

The same amount of grapefruit contains 56.2 mg of that vitamin.

A person can try the following smoothie recipes, all of which use a citrus fruit:

Kiwi

Kiwi is a nutrient-dense fruit that is rich in vitamin C. It is also a good source of vitamin E, fiber, potassium, and folate.

Approximately 180 g of kiwi contains 134 mg of vitamin C.

Some smoothie recipes that have kiwi in them include:

Strawberries

This fruit contains vitamin C, potassium, and folic acid.

Approximately 180 g of raw strawberries contains 88.2 mg of vitamin C.

Examples of smoothie recipes a person may wish to try include:

Guava

Guava contains fiber, potassium, and vitamin A.

In 165 g of raw guava, there is 377 mg of vitamin C.

Some smoothie recipes that use guava include:

People with iron-deficiency anemia should also try to increase their intake of iron-rich foods.

They can make smoothies using the following ingredients:

Spinach

Spinach and other dark green vegetables, such as cabbage and broccoli, are good sources of nonheme iron.

Approximately 85 g, or 3 cups, of spinach contains 2 mg of iron.

A person can try the following recipes containing spinach:

Kale

Kale contains approximately 1.59 mg of iron per 100 g.

A person can add kale to their smoothies to increase their intake of iron. They may wish to combine their green vegetables with fruits to sweeten the smoothie.

A person can try the following recipes containing kale:

Asparagus

Asparagus is a spring vegetable that contains vitamins A and C and fiber.

Approximately 85 g of asparagus contains 2 mg of iron.

A person can try the following recipes containing asparagus:

Tofu

Tofu is a curd that manufacturers make by coagulating soy milk. It comes in a range of firmnesses, from silken to extra firm.

A person can use tofu in their smoothies to increase the iron content of the drink. Firm tofu appears to contain higher amounts of iron. However, some people may prefer to use silken tofu for a smoother texture.

Firm tofu contains 1.08 mg of iron per 79 g.

Approximately 85 g of silken tofu contains 0.95 mg of iron.

A person can try the following recipes containing silken tofu:

Prunes

Prunes are dried plums. They are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin K.

Half a cup of prunes contains 1.9 mg of iron.

A person can try the following recipes that contain prunes:

Mulberries

Mulberries grow on trees. They can be sweet or sour.

Approximately 100 g of mulberries contains 1.85 mg of iron.

Some smoothie recipes that use mulberries include:

Dried apricots

Dried apricots are a source of vitamin A and potassium. A person can easily blend them to increase iron content of smoothies.

Approximately 40 g, or five dried apricots, contains 1.08 mg of iron.

A person can try the following recipes containing dried apricots:

A person can add fruit and vegetable juices to smoothies or consume them on their own for an added source of iron and vitamin C.

Examples include:

The following recipes contain fruit juices:

Additional ingredients for smoothies

A person can also add the following to their smoothies to boost the iron content:

According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), certain foods and drinks can reduce the absorption of iron in the gut.

The 2020 article states that some compounds found in food can inhibit iron absorption. These include polyphenols, a group of chemicals found in:

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence note that the recommended intake of iron for a person with anemia is 100–200 mg per day.

It is important to note that this amount is higher than the amount a person could find in a typical daily multivitamin or consume through their diet.

To treat anemia, a healthcare professional will prescribe medicinal or elemental iron.

However, a person can still increase their iron intake via the food and drinks they consume.

There are different types of anemia, and each requires different treatment methods. A person should speak with a healthcare professional to receive a correct diagnosis to ensure that they are getting the appropriate treatment.

Symptoms of anemia can range from mild to severe.

While people with mild anemia may not have any symptoms, people with more severe anemia may experience the following:

If a person experiences symptoms of anemia, they should seek guidance from a healthcare professional. Doctors use a blood test to diagnose anemia.

If a person does not have any symptoms despite low iron levels, they can contact a doctor to find out whether their iron deficiency is due to any underlying conditions.

Anemia can cause symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and headaches.

A person can increase the iron levels in their blood by drinking smoothies and juices containing ingredients that are naturally high in iron and vitamin C. Fruits, vegetables, and seeds are all good sources of iron.

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