Iron is naturally occurring in some foods but is also often added to foods. There are two types of iron: heme and nonheme. Meat, seafood and poultry contain heme iron and plant-based foods and iron-fortified foods contain nonheme iron.
The most common measures of iron stores are hemoglobin and hematocrit tests which you may not even know but they usually test these every time you get standard blood work. Hemoglobin concentrations lower than 13 g/dL in men and 12 g/dL in women show that you have iron deficiency anemia.
How much iron do I need?
|Birth to 6 months||0.27 mg*||0.27 mg*|
|7–12 months||11 mg||11 mg|
|1–3 years||7 mg||7 mg|
|4–8 years||10 mg||10 mg|
|9–13 years||8 mg||8 mg|
|14–18 years||11 mg||15 mg||27 mg||10 mg|
|19–50 years||8 mg||18 mg||27 mg||9 mg|
|51+ years||8 mg||8 mg|
Which foods contain iron?-Meat, seafood, poultry
-Fortified grains (bread, cereal, etc.)
-Vegetables- spinach, potato, peas, broccoli, canned tomatoes
Eating foods rich in vitamin C along with your iron-rich foods is a great idea since vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron.
What if I need more iron?If you are eating iron rich foods and are still not getting enough iron, your doctor may recommend an iron supplement. I remember when my grandpa was ill, he was on an iron supplement to help meet his needs. Quite a few of my patients are on an iron supplement as well.
When I was pregnant, I took a prenatal vitamin that contained iron. If your prenatal does not contain iron and you need additional iron, you may want to talk to your doctor about taking an iron supplement.
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