Iron deficiency anemia is exactly what its name suggests - a deficiency in the mineral: iron. If your body isn’t getting enough iron, you might start to feel quite tired and weak or you may even experience chest pain and headaches - with none of these symptoms being particularly favorable! [1]

Although iron deficiency can commonly be treated with iron supplements, there are some iron-rich foods that you can include in your diet to take steps towards managing your levels [2].

See also: Iron Deficiency Anemia: Symptoms and Causes

What foods are rich in iron?


It’s possible to reduce your risk of developing iron deficiency anemia [3], or managing existing iron deficiency by eating foods rich in iron; luckily there’s plenty of these!

Animal sources

Heme iron is the form of iron found in animal products that contain hemoglobin. According to Harvard Health, heme iron is better absorbed by the body than non-heme iron, some sources include:

  • Liver
  • Red meat
  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Seafood

Plant sources

While non-heme iron can be found in some forms of animal flesh and fortified foods, the majority of non-heme iron comes from plant sources such as whole grains, beans, and seeds. Some sources include:

  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney beans
  • Kale
  • Dried fruits
  • Quinoa

See also: Top Essential Vitamins And Minerals For Vegans

How can I raise my iron levels?

For those with iron deficiency anemia, it’s common for a medical professional to advise taking iron supplements. Like almost all supplements, the type and the dose your doctor chooses will depend on a number of factors - including whether or not the deficiency has been caused by an underlying health disorder.

It’s important to remember that although iron deficiency isn’t something that can be fixed quickly or overnight, there are certain steps that can be taken towards reducing your risk of developing the condition, these include:

Eat more iron-rich foods

Is your iron deficiency a result of your diet? If you answered yes, it’s time to start incorporating some of the delicious foods that are high in iron from the list above into your daily diet!

See also: How Much Iron is Too Much?

Opt for products that help with iron absorption

One of the best ways to enhance the way your body's absorption of iron is through choosing foods and drinks that are high in vitamin C such as orange juice, some other examples of these include:

  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Strawberries

How much iron do you need?

Remember, you should be able to get the correct amount of iron every day from food alone. But, what is the 'correct amount'? Well, that tends to depend on a number of factors - including age and gender.

The recommended amount of iron per day is:

  • 8.7mg for men over 18
  • 14.8mg for women aged 19-50
  • 8.7mg for women over 50

See also: What Vitamins and Minerals do Women Need?

Curious about your iron levels? One of the most reliable ways to find out more is by taking an Iron Test - this can be done by visiting your doctor or from home with an at-home lab test.

LetsGetChecked’s at-home Iron Test can check for iron deficiency and iron overload. Online results will be available within 5 days and our medical team will be available to help every step of the way.

You should consider taking the test if:

  • You are suffering from an iron deficiency
  • You are suffering from hemochromatosis
  • You are vegetarian
  • You frequently donate blood
  • You are suffering from fatigue, low energy or low mood
  • You have a family history of hemochromatosis
  • You are from Northern Europe, you are more likely to suffer from hemochromatosis

See also: What is Hemochromatosis? Symptoms and Causes


  1. Mayo Clinic. Iron deficiency anemia. Online:, 2019
  2. NHS. Iron deficiency anemia. Online:, 2018
  3. Mayo Clinic. Iron deficiency anemia. Online:, 2019