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Jan 30, 2011 07:28 PM

Cast iron cookware-whats best to increase iron levels?

My 2 daughters (9 & 6yo) & myself all have low iron. My doctor recommended cooking with cast iron. My question the enameled cast iron pots allow iron to seep into food the same as the plain cast iron cookware? Ive been eyeing the Le Crueset & Staub but they are enameled so will they help? Or do I need to get a regular cast iron pot.

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  1. "do the enameled cast iron pots allow iron to seep into food the same as the plain cast iron cookware"

    Absolutely and positively a "NO"

    Now, there are other ways to get iron such as iron supplement pills and iron-rich foods:

    Both bare cast iron and bare carbon steel cookware will impart iron into your foods, but enameled of these will not work. While at it, slow cooking in a iron cookware will release more iron than fast cooking.

    1. nicole816: My friend Chem is right--as usual: enameled CI won't get you anywhere. Barenaked CI is the way to go, as is cooking red meat and other iron-rich foods in it.

      Bear in mind that if you boost your and your daughters' intake this way, so are you boosting everyone else's you're cooking for. Men who already eat a lot of beef (whether in CI or not) and take multivitamins can have too much. It's good to know if anyone is borderline too high before you up them. But if it's just you and the girls, get yourself a plain Lodge and have at it.

      5 Replies
      1. re: kaleokahu

        Isn't it unusual for someone to have a real problem with too much iron? I know a man who's waiting for a liver transplant because his body stores too much and it's destroyed his liver. There's a name for his condition but I don't recall it. And, yes, the longer cooking things get more iron than, say, spinach quickly sauteed. I found a chart once; I'll see if I can find it again.

        1. re: c oliver

          I believe the name of the condition is: Hemochromatosis.

          1. re: c oliver

            c oliver: It's not only hemochromatosis.

            When too much iron is absorbed from the diet, it can cause a wide variety of health problems. High levels of iron are associated with an increased risk for cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses such as endocrine problems, arthritis, diabetes, as well as liver disease. See,

            I only found out about this because my mens' formula multivitamin/mineral is offered with and without supplemental iron. I asked why. Now I donate blood to get rid of excess iron.

            1. re: kaleokahu

              Wow. Good info. I know the man I talked to sold all his CI. He's still waiting for the call.

        2. This looks like a useful page

          Notice that is quoting a 1986 Dietary journal article.

          According to this you get the greatest benefit from cooking acidic foods (apple sauce, tomato sauce) a long time in a newish cast iron skillet. This is the exact opposite of what is recommended if you want a well seasoned skillet as a replacement for a plastic coated nonstick pan - the topic of most cast iron threads.

          A Lodge 5qt dutch oven would be an inexpensive but good option. It is pre-seasoned, but I think that seasoning will largely disappear after a few pots of spaghetti sauce or chili.

          1. I've gotten all of my favorite Lodge pans a thrift stores - clean and season, you're good to go! They last forever, and although heavy like my Le Creuset, the cast iron can't be beat for cooking some things.

            A friend with low iron recently found out that Iron can not be absorbed correctly if you drink TEA. I don;t know what kind (she drinks hers iced), but you might want to check that out, if you are a tea drinker.

            1. Thanks so much for the great info. As far as iron supplements, I take them when I remember (usually 4x/wk). My 6yo is sooo resistant to veggies & vitamins so I figured the CI pot would do the trick. My plan is to use it for MBs & sauce on Sunday & for soup once a week. So I figure that could boost our iron a bit. I found a Lodge pot on ebay. Is this the type that is good? Im going to take a trip to a few thrift stores in town to see if there's anything.


              3 Replies
              1. re: nicoled816

                I have it. This is the Logic version from Lodge is good, but I also have the Pro-Lodge version which I like a bit better.


                They both good anyway.

                1. re: nicoled816

                  Iron supplements for me give me very unpleasant gastric side effects.