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What can I do to manage my iron deficiency anemia?

It is important to follow the advice of your doctor in managing iron deficiency anemia. Increasing iron-rich foods in your diet can usually help manage anemia. Iron from meat sources is one of the best for your diet, although non-meat options such as beans; tofu; green, leafy vegetables and iron-fortified breads and cereals are also beneficial. Your doctor may also want to supplement your diet with iron pills; this should be done under his or her supervision, as too much iron can also be harmful. 
Rose Reisman
Nutrition & Dietetics

Iron deficiency anemia is very common today especially in women. 20% of all women have low levels of iron. It can be caused by a Vitamin B6, folate or B12 deficiency often seen in vegans and vegetarians. Besides children and pregnant women, women need 18 mg of iron daily.

If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be anemic:

  • Getting sick often
  • Lack of concentration and confusion
  • Light-headedness and dizziness
  • Fatigue and lack of energy

Before you take iron supplements you should try including the following foods in your diet and see if your health improves.

  • Animal based foods are the best. At the top of the list are clams, oysters, beef, liver and poultry

Non animal based foods include:

  • Fortified cereals
  • 100% Whole grain products
  • Firm tofu
  • Dried fruit
  • Legumes and beans
  • Nuts
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Vitamin C rich foods such as bell peppers, strawberries and oranges helps to absorb iron
A non-animal source is better absorbed when eaten with an animal source such as beef and 100% whole grains.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.