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High-iron recipes

I've been found to have iron-deficiency anemia such that I'm going to need IV treatments of iron (plus other testing to see what's up). But with Christmas and New Year's I'm afraid they won't be able to get me started for a while (I'd go today if I could). I know it's not going to be a lot of help, but I'd like to at least modify plans for Christmas dinner with some high-iron foods. I had already planned on Swedish meatballs (meatballs made and in the freezer), but I'm thinking of adding a high-iron spinach salad or something. Any suggestions?

I found a tasty-sounding strawberry, avocado, spinach salad recipe online but here's a question: would thawed, frozen strawberries still work, do you think? Unlikely I could find decent fresh ones. I do have some satsuma oranges though, and guess I could use those instead.

Thanks--I appreciate any help!

P.S. Since I'm really wiped out with fatigue, they'll have to be EASY recipes.

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  1. No, don't use frozen strawberries. The texture is all wrong. (That's one of my favorite spring/ summer salads!) Orange segments would be yummy, though.

    If you Google "high iron foods" or "highest iron vegetables" you will find lots of lists that show the amount of iron per specific measure. If you're not opposed to soy, I think edamame is high iron and might be a good snack food for you, look it up.

    2 Replies
    1. re: weezieduzzit

      Oh, is soy high in iron? That's good: because of lactose intolerance (at least as far as drinking a full glass of milk or eating ice cream--cheeses don't bother me, thank God), I've been drinking soy milk for the past year. And since I'm too fatigued to fix myself much of anything, it's the easiest thing to have. Think I'll go have another glass. :-)

      1. re: Thanks4Food

        Soybeans are only high in iron if they are fermented. Soybeans contain an inhibitor called phytic acid that keeps your body from absorbing iron. Common forms of soybeans such as soy milk and tofu are not fermented and, thereby, are not iron rich. See the link I shared below (today) for this and more information that may be helpful to increasing your iron intake.

    2. I became anemic in college. My brother delivered me fresh strawberries and a cast iron pan. How sweet is he?

      Strawberries as you noted are a good source but I don't think the texture of thawed/frozen ones would be good in a salad. Do you like smoothies? Make a favorite, add strawberries and any dark greens you like. Great way to give you a boost on Christmas morning.

      a nice liver pate is good and a decadent addition to christmas appetizers. Make your own or purchase at a good cheese shop or gourmet grocer. A little goes a long way but so delicious.

      A spinach and kale salad with spiced walnuts, dried cranberries and gorgonzola would be good too. Make a dressing with the oranges.

      For everyday try to cook all your food in cast iron. Not sure if it's an old wives tale or not but supposedly the iron leaches into your food.

      Hope you can get into the docs sooner than later!

      3 Replies
      1. re: foodieX2

        Thanks for those tips! I'll have my husband take me to Whole Foods to get some of these items. Never had liver pate, but I'll give it a shot.

        1. re: Thanks4Food

          If you have a good Jewish-style deli, get some chopped liver there. Tasty stuff!

        2. re: foodieX2

          re: cast iron pan. If you cook a high acid food, like tomato based sauce, with the meat, more iron will leach into the food. I've been severely anemic several times, so I tried to learn all the tricks. BTW, if you go on iron supplements, ask your MD about time-released iron, cause it can be hard on the stomach (as well as constipating).

        3. I don't know if soy MILK is or not, you should really look it up and ask your Dr. about it since soy has other issues. I just know I've seen soybeans on lists of high iron foods.

          1. Dark green vegetables of all sorts. This time of year, Trader Joe's has stalks of Brussels sprouts. Cook in raw cast iron as much as possible. I can't get enough of them! Liver, liverwurst, apricots, cocoa, shellfish, etc. http://www.healthaliciousness.com/art...

            2 Replies
              1. re: greygarious

                Dark greens, like spinach, contain a lot of iron. But it's not easily available for absorption. Vitamin C helps with iron absorption, hence the paring of spinach with strawberries. If you are planning on plant-based sources for iron, such as leafy greens, make sure you have a vitamin C source that goes along, like citrus.

              2. While not as packed with C as strawberries, grapefruit and dried cranberries are a more seasonal addition to your salad.

                Caviar is also a good and festive iron source to add to your menu.

                1. Any kind of liver, lots of iron, low in fat, cheap, quick cooking.

                  1. Be aware preparation and what you eat with iron rich foods can help your body maximize iron absorption. For example, soak beans and grains overnight starting with warm water 8-12 hours to increase your iron absorption (it reduces phytic acid). Another example is eat Vitamin C rich foods to increase your body's iron absorption - tomato and peppers with beans are better than beans alone - consider properly prepared chili. Coffee, red wine, tea, and milk are all iron inhibitors. Orange, lime, & lemon juice help the body absorb iron. Amaranth, teff, and whole wheat are the top grains for iron. Fresh milled grain is higher in the enzymes that reduce iron inhibitors in your flour. Fresh milled grain done yourself will improve your absorption of iron in the breads that you bake. Of the beans and legumes Natto is #1. Of the nuts and seeds sesame seeds are a top source of iron. Goose / Duck / and pork liver have lots of iron, but too strong of taste for some. Clams, oysters, and caviar are good seafood choices for iron content.

                    Here is a link with most of the above and graphs as a good place to start your online searches to gather useful information:


                    This site has sections like:

                    Tips & Tricks
                    Iron In Beans
                    Iron In Grains
                    Iron In Meat
                    Iron In Nuts And Seeds
                    Iron Rich Fruits
                    Iron Rich Vegetables
                    Iron Rich Foods For Pregnancy
                    Daily Iron Requirement
                    Iron Deficiency Symptoms

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