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17 Foods that Fight Anemia

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If you feel tired all the time and never have energy, it may not be caused simply by getting older. About 3 million Americans suffer from anemia, which is a lack of oxygen caused by a lack of red blood cells and hemoglobin. If you can't find a reason for your symptoms, you might be anemic. The following list of foods for anemia will help cure existing anemia and prevent anemia from returning for good. Find out more about these anemia-fighting superfoods below!

Anemia is a disorder that causes a lack of red blood cells and hemoglobin. This leads to a lack of oxygen carried throughout the body, which can affect the body in multiple ways. Typically, anemia presents mild symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations.

However, in extreme cases, anemia can also present with severe symptoms and can cause heart problems, concentration problems, and even memory problems. Doctors usually catch anemia before it is severe, but anemia is still a common problem in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), anemia is common in young children, women, and the elderly. Nearly 10 percent of elderly patients living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities are diagnosed with anemia. Over 4,000 people die each year from anemia-related complications. Over 3 million people in the United States have anemia, making it one of the most common medical conditions in the world today.

Luckily, mild to moderate anemia can be cured and prevented with simple diet changes. Most forms of anemia are the result of nutritional deficiencies, including deficiencies in iron, vitamin B12, zinc, folate, and selenium. By eating more foods containing these ingredients, you can reverse and prevent anemia.

Can My Anemia be Cured?

Not every form of anemia is curable. While most cases of anemia are caused by nutrient deficiencies, some are caused by medical conditions, autoimmune diseases, and cancer. If you suspect you might have anemia, check with a doctor or other health professional to rule out any dangerous and permanent causes of anemia before starting any supplement routine. However, the majority of anemia cases can be addressed with self-care and home treatments.

Symptoms of Anemia
  • Lethargy
  • Malaise
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tingling in the hands and feet
  • Lightheadedness

Necessary Nutrients for Anemia

The following nutrients are essential for the prevention and cure of anemia. Add more of these foods to your diet several times a week to prevent the nutrient deficiencies that lead to anemia.


Iron is by far one of the most common causes of anemia. Iron is used to produce hemoglobin which carries nutrients and oxygen throughout the blood. Iron is more easily absorbed through meat than from vegetables because meat contains a type of iron that is already partially processed (heme iron). Red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish, and pork all contain high levels of iron, but red meats have higher levels of iron.

Vitamin B12

Low levels of vitamin B12 cause a different form of anemia than low iron. This form of anemia is called pernicious anemia. The easiest way to treat this form of anemia is to eat more B12 or take B12 supplements.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps promote healthy blood cells, but it also boosts the absorption of other nutrients. When you eat vitamin C, you automatically receive more benefits from the other nutrients you eat at the same time. This is why eating an orange or other high-C food each day can help treat anemia faster.

Folic Acid

Folic acid (also known as folate) is a B vitamin found in many superfoods. Folic acid is essential for the production of healthy blood cells. Folic acid is used to prevent blood cells from mutating and produced in large enough quantities to prevent anemia.


Studies show that individuals with anemia are also chronically low in other nutrients, including selenium. Selenium is mainly used in the brain to regulate mood and boost memory, but it is also used in blood cells. Selenium's main roll in the fight against anemia is to produce glutathione peroxidase, which is an antioxidant that prevents hemoglobin from oxidizing.

Foods to Eat for Anemia

If you have anemia or have struggled with low nutrient levels in the past, the following foods can go a long way toward preventing anemia and keeping it from coming back. In addition to any supplements prescribed by your doctor, or any other anemia supplements you are taking, make sure to add these anemia-fighting foods to your diet regularly to prevent anemia.


Meat has the highest and most usable form of iron that humans need. Meat contains heme iron, which is easy for the body to absorb and use. The highest concentrations of heme iron are found in organ meat, including kidneys, hearts, and livers. Liver is also high in other anemia-fighting nutrients, including vitamin B12 and zinc.

Ways to Add Meat to Your Diet:

  • Eat meat in about 3-ounce servings. This contains the amount of heme iron your body needs for the day.
  • Eat one serving of organ meat or red meat to your diet daily.


Spinach is high in several of the vitamins that prevent anemia. Spinach is high in vitamin C, folic acid, and iron. Just half a cup of cooked spinach contains about 20 percent of the iron that you need in a day.

Ways to Add Spinach to Your Diet:

  • Include spinach on sandwiches and in salads.
  • Sauté spinach with butter or oil as a side dish for warm meals.
  • Add spinach to soups.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter doesn't seem like it could do much to fight anemia, but peanuts contain a surprising number of nutrients. Simply select a peanut butter with no added sugar and you will receive the benefits of peanut butter without the dangers of increasing your sugar intake. Peanuts are high in iron and a serving of peanut butter contains about 10 percent of the iron you need every day.

Ways to Add Peanut Butter to Your Diet:

  • Use peanut butter on your toast in the morning instead of jelly.
  • Eat a traditional PB&J sandwich for lunch once or twice a week.
  • Add peanut butter to sauces and soups to add a rich, nutty flavor.


Beets are high in iron, vitamin C, B vitamins, and other minerals. Beets are helpful in repairing any damage to existing blood cells and producing new, healthy blood cells. When your blood cells are activated, they are more efficient at carrying oxygen throughout the body.

Ways to Add Beets to Your Diet:

  • Add cubes or slices of beets to a salad.
  • Juice beets in a juicer and add the juice to a smoothie or homemade juice.
  • Boil beets and eat them as a side dish.
  • Cube boiled beets and cover them with olive oil and vinegar for a refreshing summer salad.

Dates and Apples

Both apples and dates are high in iron and other essential nutrients that prevent anemia. Apples and dates are high in vitamin C, helping your body boost the nutrients it receives from all other sources. Just one apple or 10 dates a day will help reduce and prevent anemia symptoms.


Tomatoes are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, which are both incredibly healthy for your body. The nutrients in tomatoes will not only boost the absorption of other vitamins but will also help prevent anemia from the inside out.

Ways to Add Tomatoes to Your Diet:

  • Add a raw tomato to one meal each day.
  • Juice a tomato and add it to smoothies, soups, or sauces.
  • Add tomatoes to hot dishes you make at home.


Pomegranates are high in iron and vitamin C. They are known for their boost to blood flow and overall health. Pomegranates are also high in electrolytes, which can help reduce symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and dizziness.

Ways to Add Pomegranate to Your Diet:

  • Drink pomegranate juice several times a week.
  • Add pomegranate to salads.
  • Snack on pomegranate in place of other fruit.


Molasses (particularly blackstrap molasses) is high in a variety of minerals and iron. This makes it an effective remedy for reducing anemia symptoms. One tablespoon of molasses contains about 20 percent of the iron you need to eat daily.

Ways to Add Molasses to Your Diet:

  • Add molasses to baked goods in place of sugar.
  • Sweeten your coffee, tea, and other beverages with a bit of molasses.
  • Use molasses where you normally would use sugar.

Peaches, Raisins, and Prunes

Prunes, peaches, and raisins are surprisingly high in iron. Even though you won't get all the iron you need from a single peach or raisin, it is helpful to know that these foods contain notable levels of iron and can be an easy source of added iron in the diet. A salad of peaches, raisins, and prunes can be an excellent source of iron and other nutrients.


Eggs are a superfood that can help with a host of health problems. Eggs are high in B vitamins and other essential nutrients. Each egg contains about 10 percent of the daily recommended intake for iron. Just eating one egg daily can make a large difference.


Soybeans are high in iron and minerals. Soybeans are particularly high in iron.

Ways to Add Soy Beans to Your Diet:

  • Eat tofu.
  • Purchase frozen soybeans and eat them as an appetizer or side dish.
  • Add soybeans to a smoothie.


Seafood and other fish are high in B vitamins, iron, and other nutrients. Tuna, salmon, mussels, and oysters are particularly high in B12 and iron. Try to eat fish at least twice a week for the iron and nutrient boost.


All nuts contain iron, minerals, and a few other nutrients. Brazil nuts are particularly helpful in preventing anemia as they are incredibly high in selenium. A handful of Brazil nuts is enough to provide all the selenium you need in a day. However, other nuts are also high in iron and selenium, including pistachio nuts.


Just like molasses, honey can also be beneficial in fighting anemia. Honey contains magnesium, iron, and copper, which are all important for preventing and reversing anemia. Simply use honey wherever you would use sugar for an instant nutrient boost.

Food Can Reverse Anemia

Unless your anemia is caused by another disease or health condition or is extremely severe, all you have to do to reverse anemia is simply add more nutrients to your diet. Selenium, iron, and vitamin B12 are usually the main nutrients that lead to anemia, although other nutrients are also a part of the package. Along with a few supplements to kickstart your health, you can completely reverse and prevent anemia with the foods listed above.





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