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Everybody needs iron. Iron carries oxygen in the blood to all parts of your body. Iron also helps prevent anemia, which makes a person tired, irritable, pale, and short of breath.
Children with iron deficiency anemia score lower on tests and are poor learners. Causes of anemia may include:
Heavy blood loss
Too much milk (>24 ounces a day)
Please note: Infants who are not breastfed need to be fed iron-fortified formula.
Sources of Iron
One high source meets your daily iron needs:
Pork Liver & Heart
Two good sources meet your daily iron needs:
Lean red-meat, fish, poultry
Prune juice (prunes)
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables (turnip, mustard, collard, spinach)
Dried beans and peas
Green lima beans
A variety of 5 or more fair sources meet your daily iron needs.
Enriched bread, pasta
Green peas, black-eyed peas
Try these dishes that are high in iron:
Creamed eggs on toast (use enriched bread)
Carrot and raisin salad
Oatmeal cookies with raisins
Common foods with iron
Other fun facts about Iron:
Iron from animal foods such as meat is absorbed by the body easier than iron from plant foods.
Cooking high acid foods (tomatoes in spaghetti sauce or chili) in iron pots increases the amount of iron in foods.
Liver is a high source of iron & vitamin A. Liver is not recommended for pregnant women because it is such a high source of the type of vitamin A that can cause birth defects. Other foods that contain both iron & vitamin A do not cause birth defects.
Please note: Too much iron can be harmful. Do not misuse iron pills. Be careful to store pills that contain iron (such as prenatal vitamins with iron) out of a child’s reach.
Iron & Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps your body to use the iron you eat.
Foods high in vitamin C include:
Oranges/orange juice, grapefruit, kiwi, cantaloupe, watermelon, strawberries, bell peppers, tomatoes
Broccoli, raw cabbage, and dark green leafy vegetables like turnip, mustard, collard, and spinach