Help! Advice on Iron, por favor!

Hello all you gnarly MFPers, I was wondering if I may pick your brain and get some advice on increasing my iron intake without the use of iron supplements.

I went to donate blood this morning, something I've done every two months for the last 4 years or so, and for the first time my iron was too low to donate. I know this is due to becoming a vegetarian a month ago (Don't worry, I'm not a crazy PETA pushing "MEAT IS MURDER" vegetarian who has come to convert you all) I just need a smidgen of advice.

So my question is: What iron rich foods should I eat in order to get my iron levels high enough to donate blood again?

Any help would be very, very appreciated.



  • yarwell
    yarwell Posts: 10,479 Member
    I know a vegetarian who has high Haemoglobin levels (that's the "iron" they test at blood donation).

    My first observation would be than anaemia (low Haemoglobin) can be caused by other things than low iron, so you should get a full blood test to figure that out - see the doctor.

    There are iron rich foods, and Vit C promotes its uptake (tea and coffee impair it)
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,115 MFP Moderator
    Below should help or go back to eating meat, lol.
  • AynzL
    AynzL Posts: 40
    You could google high iron foods. You didn't mention why you're against an iron supplement... Everyone I know that donates does have to take a multivitamin before donating for iron. This is what I found:
    Dark, leafy greens (spinach, collards)
    Dried fruit (prunes, raisins)
    Iron-enriched cereals and grains (check the labels)
    Beans, lentils, chick peas and soybeans
    It also said the make sure you're getting enough vitamin C to help with the absorption of the iron.

    Also, MFP has an iron tab to see your intake of iron. It might help see where you get your highest amount of iron from in your diet.
  • I'm vegan(ish) too. The natural way to increase your iron is to just go gangbusters on the leafy greens (think collards, mustard, turnip greens, spring mix, and kale), but I have to say there's a good place for a vegan supplement if you're deficient. I like Floradix Iron + Herbs tonic, which also has vegan B12 but no nasty lab-grown stuff. It's about $20 for a month's worth and it really picked me up when I was deficient.

    Good luck!
  • TodayImEvolving
    TodayImEvolving Posts: 44 Member
    Also, MFP has an iron tab to see your intake of iron. It might help see where you get your highest amount of iron from in your diet.

    I didn't know this, thanks! :)
  • melaniecheeks
    melaniecheeks Posts: 6,510 Member
    I'd caution against relying on the iron info in the database, though, it's patchy at best.
  • Are you still eating any fish? I believe salmon has a healthy amount of iron.

    Also, there are studies showing that you have a harder type absorbing plant iron than animal iron. If your only iron is coming from plants, try to eat one-and-a-half times the daily value. And like others have said, consume known high-iron foods along with some vitamin C.
  • skadoosh33
    skadoosh33 Posts: 353 Member
    Yeah my MFP iron percent is usually low, about 50%. Unless I cheat and eat some of my kids' cereal, it is fortified with all that.
  • sabinecbauer
    sabinecbauer Posts: 250 Member
    Cream of wheat. One serving delivers a whopping 50% of your RDA of iron. And it's yummy :happy:

    A previous poster also mentioned Floradix as a supplement. Yes, absolutely, although it's pricey. The upside of it is that you won't be getting any of the side effects (constipation, constipation, and constipation) you'd get with the capsules.
  • ginghamgeisha
    ginghamgeisha Posts: 1 Member
    When I go to donate blood and my iron is too low I am usually advised to take a couple tablespoons of blackstrap molasses daily for a few days and then try again.
  • AmyRhubarb
    AmyRhubarb Posts: 6,890 Member
    I used to donate regularly with no iron issues, until I started regular exercise. After that, my iron was always too low. So now I always make sure to eat Cream of Wheat or the like for breakfast for 3 or 4 days before donating - I pass with flying colors every time as long as I plan ahead.