PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
You can reduce your risk of iron deficiency anemia by choosing iron-rich foods.
Choose iron-rich foods
Foods rich in iron include:
- Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach
- Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots
- Iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas
- Red meat
Your body absorbs more iron from meat than it does from other sources. If you choose to not eat meat, you may need to increase your intake of iron-rich, plant-based foods to absorb the same amount of iron as someone who eats meat.
Choose foods containing vitamin C to enhance iron absorption
You can enhance your body's absorption of iron by drinking citrus juice or eating other foods rich in vitamin C at the same time that you eat high-iron foods. Vitamin C in citrus juices, like orange juice, helps your body to better absorb dietary iron.
Vitamin C is also found in:
- Leafy greens
Preventing iron deficiency anemia in infants
To prevent iron deficiency anemia in infants, feed your baby breast milk or iron-fortified formula for the first year. Cow's milk isn't a good source of iron for babies and isn't recommended for infants under one year. Iron from breast milk is more easily absorbed than the iron found in formula.
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