What are your favorite iron rich foods?

Hi! I just started Paleo on Monday, and I’ve been tracking what I eat until I get in the groove and want to make sure all my vitamins and mineral goals have been met. I have Thalessemia Anemia, but my doctor took me off iron supplements because they never made my iron levels increase. I’m feeling like I have been making great choices but apparently my iron is still short when I look at my diary.
Tell me your favorite iron sources that are Paleo friendly! (I try to not eat red meat often, and I do not eat any kinds of organ meat)

Replies

  • AshHeartsJesus
    AshHeartsJesus Posts: 460 Member
    My midwife recommended a liquid chlorophyl supplement for my critical anemia. I don't know if it is ok for your diet though
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,038 MFP Moderator
    Red meat will have the most iron. Turkey, chicken and shellfish are also good sources that are paleo. Outside of that dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, and broccoli are good plant based sources that are paleo.

    Honestly, if you are having medical issues, i wouldn't be putting more restrictions on yourself. Taking care of and helping solve your issues should be priority even if its not your long term dietary goals. You can always start to transition once you address the medical issues.
  • stacybaker707
    stacybaker707 Posts: 127 Member
    psuLemon wrote: »
    Red meat will have the most iron. Turkey, chicken and shellfish are also good sources that are paleo. Outside of that dark leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, and broccoli are good plant based sources that are paleo.

    Honestly, if you are having medical issues, i wouldn't be putting more restrictions on yourself. Taking care of and helping solve your issues should be priority even if its not your long term dietary goals. You can always start to transition once you address the medical issues.

    Thanks for the advice. I do have considerable medical problems and really need to lose weight. This is being done under the supervision of my doctor, so maybe I’ll get advise from her on iron rich foods.


  • amorfati601070
    amorfati601070 Posts: 2,659 Member
    edited August 2020
    Oats actually have a decent amount of iron. Love me some gruel.

    EDIT: Oh you said paleo. I'm not sure then.
  • zebasschick
    zebasschick Posts: 443 Member
    edited August 2020
    tofu has a surprising amount of iron; so does edamame. i guess they probably don't count as paleo, but thought i'd mention them just in case.
  • PAPYRUS3
    PAPYRUS3 Posts: 11,707 Member
    swiss chard, turnip greens, kale, dark chocolate, nuts, sardines, fish, pumpkin seeds.

    you can yield a great absorption of iron if you pair said items with something high in Vitamin c - (lemon/broccoli/leafy greens/peppers)
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,342 Member
    Honestly, I can't get my iron levels up with food. Only high dose tablets work.
    Have your discussed with your GP why the supplements are not working? Alternatives, like iron infusions?
  • Mithridites
    Mithridites Posts: 594 Member
    Smoked mussels are my go-to a few times a week. Mussels or oysters served any way you like have lots of iron.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,608 Member
    Hi! I just started Paleo on Monday, and I’ve been tracking what I eat until I get in the groove and want to make sure all my vitamins and mineral goals have been met. I have Thalessemia Anemia, but my doctor took me off iron supplements because they never made my iron levels increase. I’m feeling like I have been making great choices but apparently my iron is still short when I look at my diary.
    Tell me your favorite iron sources that are Paleo friendly! (I try to not eat red meat often, and I do not eat any kinds of organ meat)

    I have regular iron deficiency anemia. What are your iron counts and why do you not eat organ meat?

    1. I cannot meet my needs through diet alone, but do look at the values, and a lot of the USER-created entries have value that are wrong - people may have not bothered to add iron, put in the wrong value, or put in grams instead of %. So the first thing to do is to check to make sure you are using correct entries.

    Unfortunately, the green check marks in the MFP database are used for both user-created entries and admin-created entries that MFP pulled from the USDA database. To find admin entries for whole foods, I get the syntax from the USDA database and paste that into MFP.

    The USDA changed the platform for their database in 2019 and it is unfortunately a little more difficult to use. I uncheck everything but SR Legacy - that seems to be what MFP used to pull in entries.

    2. I would prefer to eat less red meat too, but after two unending menstrual cycles April - June, my iron levels tanked and I ended up in the ER for a blood transfusion and have since had two iron infusions as well, and am still not back up to 100% energy or good iron levels. If you had my type of anemia I would suggest you do find the foods highest in heme iron and focus on them. In addition to red meat, beef and chicken liver, and liverwurst are also high in heme iron. (I'm not up on shellfish.)

    While leafy greens do have iron, this is non-heme iron, which is less easily absorbed, and you'd have to eat an extra-ordinary amount to come close to the amounts of iron in the foods I mentioned above.

    3. When you say "doctor," is this a specialist who is familiar with Thalessemia anemia? I went to a hematologist recently, and got vastly different advice than what my GP had just told me to do. I get my health insurance through the Veteran's Administration and my GPs keep trying to give me ferrous gluconate, which gets my iron levels up but not my energy, and most recently sent me to Urgent Care on a weekend with the worst pain I've ever had in my life. I'm back to iron bisglycinate, which I'm paying for out of pocket, but it doesn't hurt me >.<

    Looks like your treatment is very different from mine, so I think a specialist would be very important.

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/thalassemia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355001
  • Safari_Gal_
    Safari_Gal_ Posts: 1,461 Member
    edited August 2020
    🍴 Liver cutlets 😋
    👌🏻Blend chopped organ meats into a meatloaf - mineral rich and high iron.

    Edit - Oops just saw the part about not eating organ meats!

    Shrug 🤷🏼‍♀️

  • VegjoyP
    VegjoyP Posts: 2,042 Member
    yirara wrote: »
    Honestly, I can't get my iron levels up with food. Only high dose tablets work.
    Have your discussed with your GP why the supplements are not working? Alternatives, like iron infusions?

    Have you tried liquid Iron?
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,342 Member
    VegjoyP wrote: »
    yirara wrote: »
    Honestly, I can't get my iron levels up with food. Only high dose tablets work.
    Have your discussed with your GP why the supplements are not working? Alternatives, like iron infusions?

    Have you tried liquid Iron?

    The liquid iron available here contains I think 12mg of essential iron, or was it 8? The normal iron tablets contain 65mg. To get my levels up I need two of those per day. Which would come down to at least 11 portions of liquid iron daily. Helps to look at what you're taking.
  • PAPYRUS3
    PAPYRUS3 Posts: 11,707 Member
    yirara wrote: »
    VegjoyP wrote: »
    yirara wrote: »
    Honestly, I can't get my iron levels up with food. Only high dose tablets work.
    Have your discussed with your GP why the supplements are not working? Alternatives, like iron infusions?

    Have you tried liquid Iron?

    The liquid iron available here contains I think 12mg of essential iron, or was it 8? The normal iron tablets contain 65mg. To get my levels up I need two of those per day. Which would come down to at least 11 portions of liquid iron daily. Helps to look at what you're taking.

    When I was administered iron - I was instructed to 'work closely with my physician' with levels taken, etc., Too much is harmful.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,608 Member
    PAPYRUS3 wrote: »
    yirara wrote: »
    VegjoyP wrote: »
    yirara wrote: »
    Honestly, I can't get my iron levels up with food. Only high dose tablets work.
    Have your discussed with your GP why the supplements are not working? Alternatives, like iron infusions?

    Have you tried liquid Iron?

    The liquid iron available here contains I think 12mg of essential iron, or was it 8? The normal iron tablets contain 65mg. To get my levels up I need two of those per day. Which would come down to at least 11 portions of liquid iron daily. Helps to look at what you're taking.

    When I was administered iron - I was instructed to 'work closely with my physician' with levels taken, etc., Too much is harmful.

    Yes, too much iron is harmful in general and it seems that with the OP's type of anemia that developing excess iron is a common problem.

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/thalassemia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355001

    Treatment

    Mild forms of thalassemia trait don't need treatment.

    For moderate to severe thalassemia, treatments might include:
    • Frequent blood transfusions. More severe forms of thalassemia often require frequent blood transfusions, possibly every few weeks. Over time, blood transfusions cause a buildup of iron in your blood, which can damage your heart, liver and other organs.
    • Chelation therapy. This is treatment to remove excess iron from your blood. Iron can build up as a result of regular transfusions. Some people with thalassemia who don't have regular transfusions can also develop excess iron. Removing the excess iron is vital for your health. To help rid your body of the extra iron, you might need to take an oral medication, such as deferasirox (Exjade, Jadenu) or deferiprone (Ferriprox). Another drug, deferoxamine (Desferal), is given by needle.
    • Stem cell transplant. Also called a bone marrow transplant, a stem cell transplant might be an option in some cases. For children with severe thalassemia, it can eliminate the need for lifelong blood transfusions and drugs to control iron overload. This procedure involves receiving infusions of stem cells from a compatible donor, usually a sibling.
  • LinkedEmpire
    LinkedEmpire Posts: 40 Member
    I'm glad you guys are mentioning heme vs non-heme iron. With an iron deficient condition, I'm curious if non-heme iron isn't drawn as a bodily reserve, with the absence of readily absorbed iron? I hope that makes sense.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,342 Member
    PAPYRUS3 wrote: »
    yirara wrote: »
    VegjoyP wrote: »
    yirara wrote: »
    Honestly, I can't get my iron levels up with food. Only high dose tablets work.
    Have your discussed with your GP why the supplements are not working? Alternatives, like iron infusions?

    Have you tried liquid Iron?

    The liquid iron available here contains I think 12mg of essential iron, or was it 8? The normal iron tablets contain 65mg. To get my levels up I need two of those per day. Which would come down to at least 11 portions of liquid iron daily. Helps to look at what you're taking.

    When I was administered iron - I was instructed to 'work closely with my physician' with levels taken, etc., Too much is harmful.

    That's true, and certainly true for TO. However, in my experience doctors don't take anemia very seriously. Most seem to think it's normal for women to have a very low ferritin. And if you say you're very short of breath, especially when exercising then the inevitable 'are you depressed? are you anxious of something' will follow. Just ranting, because seriously, as a woman you are less likely taken serious by many gps than as a man.