23 Best And Worst Foods For Anemia Patients To Eat

Anemia is a common condition, particularly in those pregnancy women. This condition happens when the hemoglobin – the protein found in red cells helping transport oxygen to different body parts – runs low, or when the sufferer has decreased number of red blood cells. Regardless of age and gender, women are found to be more prone to this problem than men. Common symptoms of anemia vary according to kind of anemia, the root cause, and severity, but some of the most common are:

  • Rapid heart beat
  • Loss of energy and fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Shortness of breath, headache, especially with exercise
  • Leg cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Pale skin

Other symptoms are accompanied with particular forms of anemia.

What Causes Anemia?

Knowing the exact causes of anemia is also very important as it will help people know clearly about their own anemia issue and find out the exact treatment plan to follow.

Low iron level is the most common trigger factor of anemia. This is commonly called the “iron-deficiency anemia”, and this is also the most popular type of anemia. Factors that could reduce the iron levels of the body include:

  • An increase need for iron in the body (for example, in pregnant moms).
  • A diet poor in iron
  • Blood loss (triggered by ulcers, some cancers, and other diseases; and, in those females during the monthly periods)

Anyone could have to suffer from iron-deficiency anemia, although the groups below are at higher risks:

  • Women, due to the blood loss during childbirth and monthly periods
  • People who are more likely to have iron-low diets (over 65)
  • People who are on blood thinners like Coumadin®, Plavix®, aspirin, or heparin
  • Those having kidney failure (especially if they are on dialysis), as they have trouble forming red blood cells
  • Those having trouble absorbing iron.

The best manner to deal with anemia is through iron-rich diet. This is why this article from Nutrition Kit shares with a list of best and worst foods for anemia patients to eat.

I. 19 Best Foods For Anemia Patients To Eat

Not eating foods with enough iron is one of causes of iron-deficiency anemia. Hence, adding best iron-rich foods for anemia mentioned below is a natural way to deal with anemia condition. Iron is found in a lot of foods, such as meat and fish, beans, green leafy veggies, and pulses. Also, it is added to other foods like cereals, flour and bread.

1. Spinach

This is one of healthy foods for anemia and prevents this condition at the same time. Containing a large amount of vitamin A, calcium, B9, C and R, iron and beta carotene, this plant helps maintain a healthy immune system, in addition to alleviating anemia symptoms. Also, it is helpful in increasing the blood flow with your body. Therefore, add more spinach to your daily diet.

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2. Tomatoes

Not mention to the high content of vitamin C, which is essential for the absorption of iron from foods, tomatoes also has a large amount of beta carotene, vitamin E, and fiber which are very healthful for your overall health. It is recommended to eat at least one raw tomato daily to make sure that your absorption of iron is more effective. Also, it is good for your hair and skin.

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3. Beetroot

Beetroot is rich in iron, helping combat anemia in temporary terms. It is proven that anemic eating more beetroot seemed to have less palpitation and decreased sensitivity towards the cold weather in compared with those who did not. Eating beetroot could also boost the effectiveness of red blood cells. Moreover, this plant also aids in repairing and reactivating them. This is in fact one of the best foods for anemia that we would like to introduce in the entire article today and want people to learn and make use as soon as possible for good!

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4. Red Meat

Among best foods for anemia, red meat is a great source of heme iron. Heme iron is found in animal foods and often absorbed more quickly by the human body. Iron-deficiency sufferers could also consume the liver, kidney and hearts of red meats because they also have high content of iron. According to researches, the beef liver has over 60% of daily iron requirements.

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5. Peanut Butter

When it comes to best foods for anemia, peanut butter may be a little-known choice. If you consume two tablespoons of peanut butter every day, you will see great improvements in your anemia condition. However, for those who do not like peanut butter, you could substitute with roasted peanuts. It tastes great.

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6. Eggs

This is a recommended food for not only people with anemia, but also all people. It can improve your overall health naturally. Despite the iron content in eggs is not much, it can help in stocking the necessary vitamins within your body thanks to the aid of its antioxidant and protein content. Furthermore, it supports the process of cell repairing and accelerates hair growth. In brief, egg is actually one of the most effective and healthiest foods for anemia that people suffering from this condition should make use at home right from today by adding it to their daily meal.

7. Whole Grain Bread

One of the best iron rich foods for anemia is whole grain bread. One slice of this food can contribute about 6% to your everyday requirements of iron. It is suggested to consume at least 3 slices of whole grain bread daily in order to fight anemia steadily.

8. Dried Beans And Peas

These foods contain high amount of iron which could be absorbed. Those sources will need to be rehydrated to be consumed. Despite the breakfast products like maple syrup, corn syrup, molasses also have iron, but they should be taken occasionally because they also contain artificial ingredients and sugar, which may result in health problems.

9. Some Seafood

Another choice among best foods for anemia is seafood, including shellfish and fish. Fish have heme-iron which is easy to absorb. Shellfish include shrimp, oysters, scallops, and clams. Fish include tuna, haddock, mackerel, sardines and dried cod.

10. Pasta

If you are lacking of iron and suffering from iron, you should add this food to your daily diet. That way, you will get 2mg of iron from just 1 cup of spaghetti which has been enriched with iron. It is equal to about 11% of required daily amount of iron for those women at the age of 19 to 50, and 25% for those over 50.

11. Raisins And Dates

Dried fruits like dried apricots, raisins, dried peaches and dates are great sources of vitamin C and iron. As mentioned earlier, vitamin C is very important for iron absorption.

12. Chickpeas

These legumes are very beneficial for those who are suffering from anemia. Moreover, chickpeas are also high in magnesium, protein, zinc, and phosphorus.

13. Soybeans

Another one out on the list of the best foods for anemia we would like to introduce in the article today and want to encourage readers of nutritionkit.com to make use at home is soybean. Those people following a vegetarian diet, is a good alternative to fish products as well as red meat. Despite soybeans have non-heme iron, it is shown that vitamin C and lean meat could enhance the iron absorption.

In addition, soy is high in B-vitamins. Soybeans are good in regeneration of hemoglobin and enhancing the absorption of iron of the human body. Soybean is versatile and could be consumed in different forms, such as soy nuts, soy milk, tofu, soy protein, and soy flour. Also, soy milk is a good source o vitamin B12, which is also good for anemia.

14. Pomegranate

Not only is pomegranate a rich source of vitamin C, but it also contains Folate and iron. Therefore, consuming pomegranate can be good for those with anemia. Despite the content of iron in pomegranate is not high, with other foods consumed, it enhances the absorption of iron. You could consume pomegranate in the form of a fruit and juice as well.

15. Nuts

Including peanuts, walnuts, pine nuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, and pistachio, nuts are one of the best foods for anemia which can boost the level of iron in your body.

16. Honey

Dark unprocessed honey has manganese, iron, and copper – which all can help boost hemoglobin synthesis. If you consume the type of honey which is processed too much, then its minerals will be loosed. The darker, the better. According to a study, those people consumed milk with dark honey have a stably good level of hemoglobin whilst these levels reduced in those who did not. Thus, do not forget to add dark honey to your diet for improving anemia.

17. Milk

Milk is a wonderful source of Vitamin B12. Thus, it helps in treating / preventing pernicious anemia. Another reason to make use of milk for anemia is that it is a versatile food which could be consumed as shakes with the fruits, or simply supplemented and heated with the natural sweeteners like honey. Keep reading to find out more nutritional and healthy foods for anemia to make use at home in order to fight against and beat off the signs and symptoms of anemia within a shorter time period as desired.

18. Oats

Although oats are not high in iron, the iron absorption might be inhibited because of the presence of phytic acids. Luckily, this problem could be prevented by eating oatmeal fortified with iron. Those fortified oats are often high in B-vitamins, including vitamin B12, thus helping fight against anemia.

In fact, oats could be complemented with the milk and added in cakes, or baked as cookies.

19. Apples

The next option in regard to foods for anemia is apple, which is known to help in increasing the iron amount of the body. As mentioned above, apples with its high content of vitamin C can be good for the absorption of non-heme iron within the body. Furthermore, apples are rich in fiber, particularly the peel part. You could cook apples with a lot of baked products like cookies, pies, tarts and cakes. Also, it is made into pickles and sauces, or be summed in the juice form.

II. 4 Worst Foods For Anemia Patients To Eat

In general, worst foods for anemia patients often include tannins, which are substances found in a variety of plant-based foods. They give foods an astringent taste. You could find tannins in green, black and rooibos tea, grapes, coffee, sorghum, corn and wine. In addition to tannins, you should also avoid foods with gluten because eating such foods will damage the intestinal wall, thereby preventing nutrients like iron and folate from being absorbed. In details, you should avoid these foods for anemia patients to help control your anemia condition.

1. Red Wine

In red wine, the reservatol which helps in fighting cancer and heart disease may inhibit the absorption of iron. However, white wine seems to help with this absorption, so you can choose white wine to replace for red wine.

2. Coffee

Coffee could also reduce the ability of iron absorption into your system. Thus, avoid it within one hour either way of an iron-rich meal and iron supplement. This is actually one of the worst foods for anemia that everyone should stay far away from to keep the body healthy without being attacked by signs and symptoms of the anemia issue without making use of any drug, pill, or medication.

3. Black Tea And Green Tea

Despite black and green tea are good for your overall health, those with anemia should limit the intake of these foods because they have tannins, the compound which interferes with iron absorption as mentioned above. Similar to black and green teas, grapes, corn and sorghum are also loaded with tannins.

4. Soy Proteins

This is the last one yet still very important worst foods for anemia that people should know to avoid and stop eating these foods right from today to be free from the anemia condition.

Whilst people may argue that soy is high in iron, non-fermented soy is also high in phytic acid that might interferes with the iron absorption as well as other nutrients. On the other hand, the fermented soy products such as soy sauce could increase the ability of absorbing iron. Thus, some health sources recommend eating tofu for defeating anemia as they phytic acid in tofu does not entirely block the absorption of iron. Hence, you can still get some iron from eating soy. If you choose tofu for iron-deficiency, you should eat it with lots of vitamin C for the best effect.

III. Recommended Diet For Anemia Patients

Basing on the information listed by the Office of Dietary Supplements in 2001, anemia caused by an iron deficiency is the most well-known nutritional disorder all over the world. It could make people feel tired, decrease the patients’ ability to focus, as well as lower the function of the immunity among the victims. A good diet for anemia is a diet that can help to increase the patients’ iron intake with the best foods for anemia and which can help to reverse the deficiency.

1. Iron Requirements

The daily requirements for iron of our body can vary depending on our sex and our age. Do not forget to consult with your doctor to determine the exact and proper amounts of iron you should be consuming every day on a full diet for anemia. The suggested dietary allowances for adult women and men over the age of 51 are 8 mg per day, and 18mg per day for women aged nineteen to fifty.

2. Types of Iron

There are 2 different types of iron: non-heme and heme iron. Plant-based food items, such as legumes and spinach, are the main sources of non-heme iron. Animal proteins, such as chicken and beef, are the main sources of heme iron, which can be absorbed by our body with easily. Non-heme iron is not readily absorbed like heme iron. People with anemia should add more foods rich in vitamin C to their daily diet, such as peppers and tomatoes, along with the non-heme sources of iron to boost its absorption.

3. Concrete Sample Diet For Anemia


A breakfast abundant in iron meal might include one cup of iron-fortified instant oatmeal with four tablespoon of raisins served with one cup of orange juice. This meal contains about 13 mg of iron, and the vitamin C in the orange juice will help improve your absorption. Tea and coffee can help a lot in inhibiting your iron absorption, and you might be better off drinking it in between every two meal a full diet for anemia.


For lunch of a anemia patient, people can opt for a roast beef sandwich made with three ounces of lean roast beef deli meat on 2 iron-enriched bread slices. Have lunch meal with a container of low-fat yogurt, carrot sticks, and one cup of sliced strawberries. This meal has about five mg of iron. Whole grains might also help a lot in decreasing the iron absorption and you might be better off adding refined-flour products, like white breads, on your rich-iron meal plan.


A healthy dinner meal with foods high in iron consists of three ounces of roasted chicken breast with 1 medium-size baked potato with one teaspoon of margarine, one cup of steamed broccoli and cooked lima beans. This meal provides about 5.6 mg of iron, and the vitamin C in the baked broccoli and potato would support in increasing your absorption of iron.

In conclusion, in order to maintain the balance of iron within your body, you must match the iron you absorb with the iron you lose. Iron is lost through stools, skin, urine, sweat, hair and nails. In women, it is lost during menstruation, so women need more iron in compared with men.

So, planning a healthy diet containing iron-rich foods is a good way to handle anemia and iron-deficiency in general. Also, do not forget to add vitamin C-rich foods to your diet to help the absorption of iron more easily. For the best treatment of anemia, you should talk to your health care provider to determine how much iron you need to take daily.

After reading this list of 23 best and worst foods for anemia, if you have any idea about this entry, feel free to leave your comments below. We will reply as soon as possible.

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