Are you struggling with iron deficiency, but not wanting to take supplements? If you need an iron boost to nudge your levels up just a bit, there are a range of natural options that are gentler on the body — yet still effective.
Cast-Iron Cookware Good Source of Iron
Using cast iron cookware is a great way to sneak some extra iron into your diet. For best results, cook acidic foods like tomatoes in your cast iron skillet or pot. Beans, such as kidney and lima beans, are rich in iron – so try simmering a homemade bean and tomato casserole in a cast iron pot.
Since the iron is absorbed from the cookware right into the food, you can achieve the same effect using other iron products. Take a dozen iron nails (preferably new and clean!) and stick them into an apple overnight. In the morning, take out the nails and eat the apple for an easy iron boost.
Good Food Sources of Iron
Blackstrap molasses is another great source of iron. Take a spoonful straight or try drizzling the molasses on oatmeal or stewed fruit. It’s also good blended into a fruit smoothie.
Dried apricots are high in iron and make quick, easy snacks. Eat them as is or cook them in desserts and breakfast dishes.
Sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds are rich iron sources – they’re easy to add to salads and roasted vegetables, and they’re good in smoothies. Grind them first if your blender isn’t high-speed.
Vitamin C Boosts Iron Absorption
Combining Vitamin C with sources of iron increases the amount of iron available to the body. It’s as simple as a glass of orange juice along with your iron-rich meal.
Beware of Iron-Inhibiting Foods
Certain vegetables — like spinach, sweet potato, and chard — inhibit iron absorption. Wheat bran and whole grains do the same thing, as do tea and coffee. Avoid combining these foods and drinks with iron-rich foods.
Dietary Iron Helps Prevent Anemia
It’s important to have any iron deficiency properly diagnosed and monitored. Sometimes iron supplements are necessary, but with a diet rich in iron, it’s often possible to avoid them.