Diet Plan For Iron Deficiency

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Diet plan for iron deficiency is of vital importance. Individuals who are dealing with this deficiency are likely to become fatigued, experience hair loss among other symptoms. Whether you suffer from iron deficiency or not, diet and nutrition are important to your health. This article will explore how to diet to improve iron absorption and symptoms associated with iron deficiency.

Meal Plan for Low Iron

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We need extra iron during pregnancy to make more blood to supply oxygen to baby. Additionally, baby uses iron to build up stores that he relies on until six months of age.Too little iron can be problematic for baby’s brain development and leave you anemic. Our body relies on dietary intake as we cannot make iron. An adult woman should consume 18mg a day, whereas a pregnant woman’s needs increase to 27mg a day to support fetal growth and create stores in advance of losses during delivery.

Good sources of iron include: red meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, legumes, green leafy vegetables, nuts, fortified breakfast cereals, and fortified whole grains. Your body best absorbs plant sources of iron, such as spinach, if you consume these foods with a good source of vitamin C.

Pro tips:

Constipation is a common side effect of supplemental iron (from either your prenatal vitamin or if your doctor has recommended you take an additional iron supplement). To help ease the constipation supplemental iron can cause, be sure to eat a high fiber diet (think fruits, veggies, and whole grains), drink plenty of water, and engage in exercise if given the okay by your physician. 

Choosing meals and snacks from the options listed below can help you meet your iron needs. 

Breakfast

  • Option 1: Oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts
  • Option 2: Bran cereal with banana, low-fat milk and flaxseeds
  • Option 3: Whole grain toast with nut butter and 100% fruit spread
  • Option 4: Quinoa breakfast bowl with chopped dates and sunflower seeds, and a drizzle of peanut butter.
  • Option 5: Eggs scrambled with spinach and tomatoes; orange slices

Lunch

  • Option 1: Dark leafy greens, raw veggies, and grilled chicken; cup of black bean soup
  • Option 2: Whole grain tortilla, black beans, salsa, shredded cheese; dark leafy green salad 
  • Option 3: Quinoa salad tossed with tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumbers, lemon juice, olive oil and chopped chicken breast on a bed of spinach
  • Option 4: Whole grain pita stuffed with light tuna* and vegetables
  • Option 5: Hamburger, made with lean ground beef on a whole grain bun or wrapped in lettuce, with broccoli and baked sweet potato fries

Dinner

  • Option 1: Chicken, turkey, or beef, with sweet potato and broccoli
  • Option 2: Baked cod on bed of wilted swiss chard in garlic and oil, side of wild rice
  • Option 3: Grilled pork chop with applesauce, and spinach and white beans sautéed in garlic and oil
  • Option 4:  Stir fried shrimp with rice and veggies to include broccoli, red peppers, and cauliflower. Cook using sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger and a drizzle of hoisin sauce to taste
  • Option 5: Chicken or beef with tomato sauce and whole grain pasta

Snack

  • Option 1: Peanuts and raisins
  • Option 2: Edamame
  • Option 3: Vegetables and hummus
  • Option 4:  Trail mix made with: dried fruit pieces, 1 oz dark chocolate, and popcorn
  • Option 5: Whole grain toast with nut butter

*Pregnant women should eat no more than 6 ounces of high mercury fish per week

Foods and meal plans for iron deficiency

A diet plan for iron deficiency anemia needs to include a healthy balance of heme and non-heme iron-rich foods, such as meat and poultry, seafood, iron-rich vegetables, nuts and seeds, and beans. It is also crucial to include foods that can improve the body’s absorption of iron and avoid foods that may interfere with this process.

Iron deficiency anemia occurs when your body does not have enough iron to form healthy red blood cells.

Iron deficiency anemia has a number of causes, but is most commonly the result of inadequate dietary intake and/or blood loss.

A person with iron deficiency anemia will typically receive oral iron supplementation or intravenous (IV) iron treatment. People with iron deficiency anemia are also encouraged to increase their dietary intake of iron by prioritizing iron-rich foods.

What causes anemia?

Anemia can result from many factors, including a lack of iron in the diet and heavy menstruation.

Bleeding in the stomach and intestines can also cause iron deficiency anemia. This type of bleeding is sometimes a side effect of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Or it may result from:

  • ulcers
  • piles
  • swelling in the large intestine or esophagus
  • certain cancers

Certain people are at greater risk for developing iron deficiency anemia. They include pregnant people, those with certain medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease, people who have undergone bariatric surgery, people with heavy menstrual periods, and those who follow a vegan diet.

In these cases, doctors usually advise people to take iron supplements.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iron depends on a person’s age and sex. A baby younger than 6 months only requires 0.27 milligrams (mg)Trusted Source of iron a day, while a male aged 19–50 years requires 8 mg a day, and a female in the same age range needs 18 mg of iron a day.

During pregnancy, a person should increase their daily iron intake to 27 mg a day.

People with iron deficiency anemia need a significant boost and require 150–200 mg of iron a day, or 2–5 mg per kilogram of their body weight. However, dosage recommendations vary, as the body does not absorb high doses of iron supplements efficiently. A person should consult with their doctor to decide on a suitable dose of extra iron.

Meal plans

Adding iron-rich foods to the diet can help treat anemia. A healthcare professional can advise about the kinds of foods to choose from and other ways to increase iron absorption.

The best diet for a person with anemia includes plenty of foods rich in iron and other foods that help the body to absorb iron. A person should also be aware of foods that can inhibit iron absorption.

The plan below was developed to show the type of healthy meals a person with anemia might include:

Breakfast

Option 1

Unsweetened oatmeal made with sprouted oats topped with raspberries, hemp seeds, and cacao nibs. Enjoy with a glass of iron-fortified orange juice.

Option 2

Breakfast hash made with chickpeas, chicken sausage, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and spinach.

Tea and coffee inhibit iron absorption, and people should not drink them with meals.

Lunch

Option 1

A bowl of beef chili, or a tuna burger, with a spinach salad.

Option 2

A bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and spinach.

Dinner

Option 1

Lamb chops with boiled potatoes, steamed broccoli, and curly kale.

Option 2

A stew that includes kidney beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, tinned tomatoes, onions, red peppers, and garlic, topped with vegan or dairy-based cheese and a dollop of vegan or dairy-based yogurt.

Foods rich in iron

Many foods contain high levels of iron. A person may find it easy to combine them and make tasty, nutritious meals that help to boost the intake of iron.

Fruits and vegetables

  • watercress
  • curly kale and other varieties
  • spinach
  • collard greens
  • dandelion greens
  • Swiss chard
  • citrus fruits
  • red and yellow peppers
  • broccoli

However, some dark, leafy greens also contain oxalates, which can inhibit iron absorption. Rather than relying solely on vegetables, a person should aim to get iron from a variety of sources.

Diet Chart For Iron Deficiency Anemia Patients

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It is a commonly known fact that anemia is caused by iron deficiency. However, there can be other reasons for the development of anemia. According to World Health Organisation, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional disorder in the world.

Deficiency of iron results in the fewer production of RBCs in the blood which eventually leads to anemia. Oxygen binds itself to hemoglobin in the blood and it is only then that the blood can transport oxygen to the rest of the body. In anemia, blood cannot carry enough oxygen to the cells of the body. Thus, the body feels weak and tired.

The WHO report states that prolonged iron deficiency results in anemia in 30 percent of the world population. The situation is worse in India according to the new Global Nutrition Report 2017. In India, more than half women (51%) of reproductive age have anemia. Women are at a greater risk of anemia due to heavy menstrual bleeding, uterine fibroids, and pregnancy. Iron deficiency occurs when the food one eats does not contain ample amount of iron in it.

The following food items are included in diet meal plan for people suffering from iron deficiency anemia:

  1. Dark green, leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, fenugreek (methi), amaranth leaves and lettuce have high iron content.
  2. Dried fruits such as raisins, almond, etc.
  3. Meat: Red meat, lamb, pork.
  4. Eggs
  5. Foods rich in Vitamin C help in absorption of iron such as cauliflower, tomatoes, apple, and oranges.

To recover from anemia quickly, we create a diet plan that includes iron-rich food items. This three-course meal for an anemic person is easy to follow. All food items are listed in this meal plan for iron deficiency anemia problems are easily available in the local market. We also list those food items should be avoided while following this diet meal plan.

Diet Plans for Iron Deficiency Anemia Patients

Sunday
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Brown bread (3 slices) + Milk n Banana shake (1 cup) + 4 Almonds + 3 Cashew nuts
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 Orange + Grapes (1 cup)
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)Parboiled Rice (1 cup) + Masoor Daal (1/2 cup) + Fried Joseph’s coat leaves (1/4th cup) + 1/4th fresh lime + Fish/ Egg/ Veg. Curry (1/2 cup)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup Green tea + Roasted Rice flakes n grated coconut (1/3 cup)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2-3 Chapati + Veg./ Fish Curry (1/2 cup) + Fried Beetroot (1/3 cup)
Monday
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Egg Poach n Toast (3 slices) + Milk (1 cup) + 4 Almonds + 3 Cashew nuts
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 Orange + 1 Guava
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)2 Chapati + Mixed Daal (1/2 cup) + 1/4th Fresh lime + Potato n Drumstick curry (1/2 cup) + Fried Fish (1pc)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup Green tea + Roasted Rice flakes n grated coconut (1/3 cup)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2-3 Chapati + Veg./ Fish Curry (1/2 cup) + Fried Beetroot (1/3 cup)
Tuesday
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Vegetable soup (carrot, garlic, spring onions, broccoli, corns) 1 cup + Toast (2 slices) + 4 Almonds + 3 Cashew nuts
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 Orange + Pomegranate (1/2 cup)
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)Parboiled Rice (1 cup) + Rajma (1/2 cup) + Fried Joseph’s coat leaves (1/4th cup) + 1/4th fresh lime + Fish/ Egg/ Veg. Curry (1/2 cup)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup Green tea + Roasted Rice flakes n grated coconut (1/3 cup)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2-3 Chapati + Veg./ Fish Curry (1/2 cup) + Fried Beetroot (1/3 cup)
Wednesday
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Spinach Uthappam (2) + Milk (1 cup) + 4 Almonds + 3 Cashew nuts
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 Orange + Grapes (1 cup)
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)2 Chapati + Bengal gram Daal (1/2 cup) + 1/4th Fresh lime + Fried Joseph’s coat leaves (1/4th cup) + Paneer/ Soy bean Curry (1/2 cup)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup Green tea + Roasted Rice flakes n grated coconut (1/3 cup)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2-3 Chapati + Veg./ Fish Curry (1/2 cup) + Fried Beetroot (1/3 cup)
Thursday
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Brown bread (3 slices) + Milk n Banana shake (1 cup) + 4 Almonds + 3 Cashew nuts
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 Orange + Pomegranate (1/2 cup)
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)Parboiled Rice (1 cup) + Rajma (1/2 cup) + Fried Joseph’s coat leaves (1/4th cup) + 1/4th fresh lime + Fish/ Egg/ Veg. Curry (1/2 cup)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup Green tea + Roasted Rice flakes n grated coconut (1/3 cup)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2-3 Chapati + Veg./ Fish Curry (1/2 cup) + Fried Beetroot (1/3 cup)
Friday
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Egg Poach n Toast (3 slices) + Milk (1 cup) + 4 Almonds + 3 Cashew nuts
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 Orange + 1 Guava
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)2 Chapati + Mixed Daal (1/2 cup) + 1/4th Fresh lime + Potato n Drumstick curry (1/2 cup) + Fried Fish (1pc)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup Green tea + Roasted Rice flakes n grated coconut (1/3 cup)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2-3 Chapati + Veg./ Fish Curry (1/2 cup) + Fried Beetroot (1/3 cup)
Saturday
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Spinach Uthappam (2) + Milk (1 cup) + 4 Almonds + 3 Cashew nuts
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 Orange + Pomegranate (1/2 cup)
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)Parboiled Rice (1 cup) + Daal (1/2 cup) + Fried Joseph’s coat leaves (1/4th cup) + 1/4th fresh lime + Fish/ Egg/ Veg. Curry (1/2 cup)
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup Green tea + Roasted Rice flakes n grated coconut (1/3 cup)
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2-3 Chapati + Veg./ Fish Curry (1/2 cup) + Fried Beetroot (1/3 cup)
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Iron Deficiency Anemia Diet Restrictions: Food Items To Limit

If you are suffering from iron deficiency and following this diet plan to recover from the anemia problem, then you can avoid these food items and drinks.

  1. Red wine. The reservatrol that helps fight heart disease and cancer seems to inhibit iron absorption.
  2. Coffee. Coffee can also keep you from absorbing iron into your system. Avoid it within an hour either way of an iron supplement or iron rich meal.
  3. Black and green teas chelate with iron from plant sources, making it indigestible.
  4. Calcium rich Foods: Calcium interferes with the absorption of iron in the body thereby worsening the condition. Avoid Foods packed with calcium include milk and milk products like cheese, yoghurt, nuts and bananas.
  5. Gluten-containing foods: Gluten, in some people, damages the intestinal wall preventing absorption of iron and folic acid, both of which are required for the production of red blood cells (RBCs). Gluten is mainly found in pasta, wheat products, barley, rye and oats.
  6. Phytate-rich foods: Phytates usually bind with the iron present in the digestive tract thereby preventing its absorption. Therefore, people with iron-deficiency anaemia are advised to avoid foods containing phytates or phytic acid like legumes, brown rice, whole-grain wheat and nuts.
  7. Oxalic acid foods: People with anemia are advised to consume these foods in limited quantities and if possible stay away from them during the course of medication. Foods containing oxalic acid are peanuts, spinach, parsley (ajwain) and chocolates.

Do’s And Dont’s While Following Diet Plan for Iron Deficiency Anemia

Do’s:

  1. Include more green leafy Vegetables in diet.
  2. Eat pulses and legumes to increase your iron intake.
  3. Include all variety fruits and Vegetables.
  4. Eat lean red meat and liver, which are rich in easily absorbed iron.
  5. When you consume iron-rich food include a source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron.

Don’ts:

  1. Avoid eating dairy products 2 hours before and after you consume iron-rich foods.
  2. Avoid coffee, tea and colas when trying to boost your iron levels.

Food Items You Can Easily Consume In Iron Deficiency Anemia Problem

To manage iron deficiency and recover quickly from anemia, you can consume these healthy food items:

  1. Spinach: It is found out that half a cup of boiled spinach contains
  2. 2 mg of iron and this accounts for about 20 percent of the iron requirement for a woman’s body. So, make sure that you take spinach in your daily diet to increase the blood in your body. Other green leafy vegetables of radish, pumpkin, drumstick can also do the same.
  3. Red Meat: There is rich iron content in lamb, beef and other red meats. It contains heme-iron which will be easily absorbed by the body. The heart, kidneys, and the liver of the red meats are those parts that contain high quantities of iron.
  4. Tomatoes: Vitamin C is the main ingredient in tomatoes along with lycopene. The Vitamin C in tomatoes helps in easy absorption of iron. Tomatoes are also rich in beta carotene and Vitamins E and hence help in natural conditioning of the hair and skin.
  5. Eggs: Eggs are a rich source of proteins and contain a lot of antioxidants that will help in stocking up vitamins in the body when you are suffering from anemia. A large egg is said to contain 1 mg of iron and hence consumption of an egg everyday will help in fighting anemia.
  6. Soy Beans: Beans are a great source of iron and vitamins. Soybeans are considered to be the beans that contain high iron content. It contains phytic acid that prevents the absorption of iron. Soybean is a low fat and high protein food that fights anemia.
  7. Apple And Dates: Apple and dates are also known to help in boosting iron levels in the body. Eating an apple a day and about 10 dates daily will help to fight anemia.
  8. Citrus and vit-c rich foods- Fruits such as lemon, oranges, grape fruits, amla should be consumed as vit-c helps in absorption of non-heame iron (iron from vegetable sources).

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