How to Increase Blood Iron Levels

A balanced diet is key to increasing iron levels in the blood. It is also necessary to follow medical advice when anemia is present and to avoid foods that may inhibit the absorption of the mineral.
How to Increase Blood Iron Levels

Last update: 23 March, 2023

When there is an iron deficiency in the blood, anemia can occur, and we’ll need to increase blood iron levels. This disease is characterized by low levels of hemoglobin, preventing red blood cells from carrying oxygen to the cells of the body.

Iron is a vital mineral in the production of hemoglobin. Without it we will have deficient red blood cells and this will begin to affect the functioning of the body. It is then when signs of weakness and tiredness can appear.

How to increase blood iron levels?

When you have symptoms that indicate low blood iron levels, it’s necessary to consult a health professional. In some cases, it’s usual to recommend a diet rich in this mineral, accompanied by supplements. In more severe cases, patients may need a blood transfusion.

You need to pay attention to iron supplement intake when they haven’t been recommended by a professional. An excess of this mineral can lead to poisoning. Here we’ll tell you how to increase blood iron levels and thus strengthen your body.

1. Include iron-rich foods in your diet

When you suspect iron deficiency, it’s advisable to eat foods that are rich in this mineral. It’s naturally present in some meats, vegetables, and fruits.

Red meat

Red meat contains iron that is highly bioavailable, which leads to better gastrointestinal absorption. Therefore, this product is one of the best-known sources. It also provides protein and other minerals such as zinc, potassium, phosphorus, and selenium.

Studies have indicated that those who include red meat along with a balanced diet are less likely to develop anemia. Parts such as liver, kidneys and beef heart are also considered a good source of iron.

Red meat rich in iron.
Iron is highly available in foods such as red meat.


Shellfish often have a high concentration of iron. However, clams, mussels, and oysters stand out. Studies have shown that it increases HDL cholesterol levels, known as good cholesterol. Canned fish or shellfish such as tuna and sardines are also a good option.


Lentils, beans, and broad beans are the legumes with the highest concentration of iron. Because of this, they are the main source of this mineral in vegan or vegetarian diets.

The beans contain about 8.5 milligrams of iron for every 100 grams (4 oz) of product. They contain B complex vitamins and other minerals such as magnesium, copper, and calcium. Beans, meanwhile, have about 6.7 milligrams of iron and provide fiber and protein.

Lentils have about 7.1 milligrams of iron and have very little fat. Being a high source of fiber and carbohydrates, they stimulate the feeling of satiety. Other legumes that are a great source of iron are black, white, and kidney beans.


Although these aren’t a primary source of iron, their consumption can contribute to improving the levels of this mineral in the blood. For example, spinach is rich in iron and vitamin C, which increases absorption of the mineral. It’s also rich in carotenoids, a type of antioxidant.

Broccoli is also a good source of iron, vitamin C, and A. It also provides folic acid, potassium, fiber, phosphorus and magnesium.

2. Don’t forget foods rich in vitamin C

As we already mentioned, vitamin C or ascorbic acid improves the intestinal absorption of iron. Therefore, it’s necessary to include these foods in the diet. By doing so, we’ll make it easier for the body to take advantage of the iron present in other products.

Examples of vegetables rich in vitamin C are the following:

  • Blackcurrants: per 100 grams (4 oz) they contain 189 milligrams of vitamin C, which is almost four times more than an orange. In addition, the consumption of this fruit facilitates healing processes and favors the repair of blood vessels.
  • Red peppers: per 100 grams they contain 140 milligrams of ascorbic acid. Green peppers are also a positive addition to your diet, but the red type has a higher concentration. They also have vitamins such as A, E, B6, and folic acid.
  • Kiwi: this fruit is rich in vitamin C, which facilitates intestinal transit and diuresis as it contains potassium. For every 100 grams (4 oz) of fruit you get 100 milligrams of vitamin C.
  • Papaya: This is another fruit that’s rich in vitamin C. For every 100 grams, 70 milligrams of this mineral are consumed. It’s also low in calories and improves digestion.
  • Orange: For every 100 grams (4 oz) of orange you get 50 milligrams of vitamin C.

3. Pay attention to iron inhibitors

Just as there are foods rich in iron that help to facilitate its absorption, there are others that inhibit it. Therefore, when we have been diagnosed with anemia, it’s best to avoid its consumption. In this way, it will be easier to recover.

Among these inhibitors, we find eggs which, despite being a food with important nutrients, contain fosvitin, which prevents the body from absorbing iron. On the other hand, we have milk, which is rich in calcium, a mineral that also inhibits.

Phytic acid, tannins, and pectins present in cereals, tea leaves, and fruits also impair intestinal iron absorption.

4. Take authorized iron supplements

Taking pills every day can be annoying, but when diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia by a doctor, you may need to take supplements. It may also be normal for them to be prescribed to pregnant or postpartum women.

These supplements come in a variety of forms, such as capsules, tablets, chewables, and liquids. It’s necessary to strictly consume the dose recommended by the health professional to avoid iron poisoning.

During treatment with supplements it’s vital not to consume iron inhibitors such as those mentioned above. Neither those rich in fiber, such as whole grains and some cereals.

Blood transfusion.
Extreme cases of anemia require blood transfusions to rapidly raise hemoglobin levels.

Iron poisoning symptoms

It isn’t common for iron poisoning to occur through the consumption of foods rich in this mineral. It usually appears due to the improper or non-prescribed intake of supplements. Hence the importance of not doing it without medical authorization.

The most common symptoms of poisoning are vomiting blood, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Also liver failure in severe cases, with seizures and low blood pressure.

Follow up on your treatment to increase iron in the blood

As we mentioned earlier, increasing blood iron levels requires commitment and patience. The treatment and diet suggested by the doctor must be followed to the letter and for the recommended time. In this way, a relapse will be avoided.

To know if the approach should be suspended or modified, you should have blood tests and check your blood iron levels. It will be the doctor who determines how often this check-up should be done.

Este texto se ofrece únicamente con propósitos informativos y no reemplaza la consulta con un profesional. Ante dudas, consulta a tu especialista.