Maintaining adequate levels of iron(hemoglobin) is crucial for overall health and well-being. Iron deficiency is a prevalent nutritional disorder characterized by inadequate levels of iron in the body.
What is Haemoglobin?
Haemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells which is responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body. This gives the red colour to your blood. So, we need to consume sufficient amounts of iron-rich foods to maintain our normal Hb levels. Iron plays a very important role in the production of hemoglobin.
While many people turn to traditional sources of iron like red meat and spinach, incorporating iron-rich drinks into their diet can be a refreshing and convenient way to boost their hemoglobin levels. Let me share with you six delicious and nutrient-packed drinks that can help increase your iron intake naturally.
What is Iron Deficiency?
When the body doesn’t have enough iron to meet its needs. Common causes include insufficient iron intake, poor iron absorption, increased iron requirements (such as during pregnancy), or chronic blood loss. It affects people of all ages, but certain groups, such as pregnant women, children, and vegetarians, are more susceptible.
What is recommended daily intake for Iron?
The recommended daily iron intake varies based on age, sex, and specific conditions. For adult men and postmenopausal women, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) is around 8 milligrams (mg) of iron. However, premenopausal women have higher iron requirements due to menstrual blood loss and need about 18 mg per day. Pregnant women have an even higher RDA of approximately 27 mg to support their own needs and the developing fetus.
The Most Common Effects of Iron Deficiency
Iron deficiency can have several detrimental effects on the body. The most common is the development of iron deficiency anemia, characterized by low hemoglobin levels. Symptoms include fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, pale skin, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating. Iron deficiency can also weaken the immune system, impair cognitive function, and negatively impact overall energy levels and productivity.
2 Forms of Dietary Iron
There are two Dietary iron forms present in food.
- Heme Iron: Heme iron is found only in animal products and is readily absorbed by our bodies.
- Example: Ferritin is found in the spleen, liver, muscle tissue, and bone marrow.
- Non-heme iron: non-heme iron is found mainly in plant products.
- Example: fortified cereals, beans, dark chocolate, lentils, spinach, nuts, seeds, etc but are not readily absorbed by our body.
How vegetarians can improve their hemoglobin levels?
- Combining Non-Heme sources of Iron with Vitamin C: Vegans have only non-heme iron as the main source of iron for their body but it is not readily absorbed due to inhibitory factors like tannins, phytates polyphenols, etc. To increase its absorption, vegans need to consume non–heme iron along with vitamin C sources like all citrus fruits.
- Preparing food in Cast Iron Utensils: Food prepared in iron cooking pots as an intervention for reducing iron deficiency anemia. It is clear from the research paper published by the National Library of Medicine(NCBI) that iron content increases in food when cooked in cast iron utensils. But the amount of iron leached in the food item will depend upon many factors like the pH level of the food, the amount of time taken to cook the food, etc.
6 Iron Rich Drinks to Boost Your Haemoglobin
Sharing with you 6 drinks that can help boost your iron level
1. Pomegranate and Beet Juice
This pomegranate beet drink is low in calories and fat but is packed with iron, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, vitamin C, nitrates, pigments, etc. This drink helps in building up the levels of ferritin in your body.
- Calories – 133 Kcal,
- Iron – 6.5 mg
- Medium-sized pomegranates-2 pc
- Beetroot – ½ pc
- Rock salt – 5 g
- Water – 100 ml (as required)
How to make Pomegranate Beet Juice?
- Cut and deseed pomegranates in a bowl.
- Take a juicer, and add pomegranate and beet along with salt and water.
- Blend the mixture and your healthy iron-rich juice is ready.
2. Khubani Shake
Apricot shake has balanced amounts of potassium and sodium; thus, it helps in lowering high blood pressure. Magnesium present in it helps in relaxing the smooth muscles of the heart. It has niacin that helps in lowering bad cholesterol. Overall, Khubani is a great source of iron, and taking it along with almond milk helps in a good amount of iron absorption by the body.
- Calories – 210 Kcal
- Iron – 3 mg
- Apricots dried/ Khubani- 8
- Almonds – 10
- Jaggery – 5 g
- Water – 200 ml
How to make Khubani Shake
- Soak almonds and apricots overnight in water.
- Next day peel almonds and blend them in 200 ml water.
- Into this almond milk, add 8 pc of overnight soaked and softened apricots.
- Put this material into a blender, blend and pour into a glass.
- Add jaggery to this shake, mix well and consume. Prefer not to sieve.
3. Molasses Raisins Shake
Molasses is a rich source of B vitamins and folate; this promotes the production of RBCs. This can also treat megaloblastic anemia (abnormally large RBCs). This drink is rich in iron, zinc, magnesium, and B complex, which helps to prevent cancer.
- Calories – 65 Kcal
- Iron – 2.6 mg
- Blackstrap Molasses – 1 tsp
- Almonds – 10 pcs
- Raisins – 5 pc
How to make Molasses Raisin Shake
- Soak raisins and almonds in water overnight.
- Next day peel the almonds and put them in 200 ml water in a blender jar, also add the soaked raisins to it, blend, and pour it in a glass.
- To this add 1 tsp of black strap molasses.
- Mix well and consume.
4. Anjeer Badam Shake
Anjeer badam shake serves fair amounts of iron that help in treating anemia. It has magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin E, that promote healthy hair growth.
- Calories – 300 Kcal
- Iron – 3.9 mg
- Dried anjeer – 8 to 10 pc
- Badam – 8- 10 pc
- Water – 200 ml
- Jaggery – 5-6 g
How to make Anjeer Badam Shake
- Soak dried anjeer and almonds in water overnight.
- Next day, peel the almonds and put them in a blender jar. Add 200 ml water to it.
- To this add anjeer and blend. Pour it into a glass and add jaggery to it.
- Mix well and consume.
5. Masala Pineapple Juice
Masala pineapple drink served with fair amounts of iron, thus helping in treating anaemia.
- Pineapple – 1 cup
- Cumin seeds (jeera) – ½ tsp
- Chaat masala – ½ tsp
- Rock salt – ½ tsp
- Chilled water – ½ glass
- Calories – 92 Kcal
- Iron – 4.84 mg
How to make Masala Pineapple Drink
- Add chopped pineapple to a blender jar, then add chilled water to it.
- Meanwhile on a hot tawa put ½ tsp cumin seeds till it starts to crackle.
- Put this roasted jeera into the blender containing pineapple, and add rock salt and chaat masala to it.
- Blend it and pour it into a glass.
6. Red Green Juice
Due to visibly fair amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C and iron which will help in beating anaemia. Nitrates present in beet, aid in detoxification and also help to lower bad cholesterol (LDL).
Servings – 1, Preparation time – 20 min
- Spinach 100 g
- Carrot – 1 pc
- Amla – 1 pc
- Beetroot – ½ pc
- Water – 100 ml
- Calories – 63 Kcal
- Iron – 1.4 mg
How to make Red Green Juice
- Wash thoroughly spinach, amla, carrot and beet.
- Then peel and chop the carrot, beet and amla.
- To a blender jar add the spinach, beet, amla and carrot.
- Add 100 ml water to it. Blend and pour it in a glass.
- Add salt as per taste.
Try this iron-rich chutney from Fitness with Nidhi’s Kitchen
Amla Jaggery Chutney is a perfect combination for the winter season. People who are anaemic can include this chutney as a side dish with their lunch and dinner.
Foods that hinder Iron Absorption
While incorporating iron-rich drinks into your diet is essential, it’s also important to be aware of foods that can hinder iron absorption. Here are some foods to avoid or consume in moderation when trying to boost your hemoglobin levels:
- Coffee and Tea:
The tannins present in coffee and tea can inhibit iron absorption. Try to consume them between meals rather than with iron-rich foods.
- Calcium-Rich Foods:
Calcium can interfere with iron absorption. Avoid consuming calcium supplements or high-calcium foods along with iron-rich meals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are cast iron utensils beneficial for increasing your iron levels?
Yes, these utensils are beneficial but care must be taken of what to cook in them and what not.
Which fruit increases hemoglobin?
Pomegranate is known to be a fruit that can increase hemoglobin levels. It is rich in iron and other nutrients that support healthy blood production. While pomegranate is a nutritious fruit that can contribute to increasing hemoglobin levels, the rate at which it affects hemoglobin levels can vary from person to person. Consistently consuming pomegranate and incorporating it into a balanced diet can gradually help improve hemoglobin levels over time.
Are apples high in iron?
While apples are a good source of dietary fibre and other nutrients, they are not particularly high in iron. However, they contain vitamin C, which aids in iron absorption. Pairing apples with iron-rich foods can enhance the absorption of iron from those sources.
Is beetroot high in iron?
Yes, beetroot is considered to be high in iron. It is a nutrient-dense root vegetable that can contribute to increasing iron levels in the body.
Does kiwi increase hemoglobin?
Kiwi is a fruit that is rich in vitamin C, which helps in iron absorption. While kiwi itself does not directly increase hemoglobin, including it in a well-balanced diet can support iron absorption and overall iron levels in the body.
Do almonds increase hemoglobin?
Almonds are a good source of iron, among other nutrients. Incorporating almonds into your diet can contribute to increasing hemoglobin levels. However, it’s important to note that the iron content in almonds is relatively moderate compared to other iron-rich foods.
How can I increase my iron and hemoglobin fast?
To increase iron and hemoglobin levels, you can incorporate iron-rich foods and drinks into your diet, such as leafy greens, lean meats, fortified cereals, legumes, and iron-rich drinks like beetroot juice or spinach smoothies. Consuming vitamin C-rich foods alongside iron-rich foods can also enhance iron absorption. Additionally, consulting a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian can provide personalized guidance and recommendations.
Incorporating iron-rich drinks into your diet is a fantastic way to boost your hemoglobin levels naturally. Additionally, be mindful of foods that may hinder iron absorption. By making these dietary adjustments and adopting a balanced approach, you can optimize your iron intake and support healthy hemoglobin levels. Cheers to your health!