Get your Iron, Woman!
Inadequate iron stores among women of childbearing age is very common and is often caused by menstrual blood loss and low dietary intake of iron.
*Consult your ND for appropriate iron intake recommendations.*
The essential functions of iron:
Enhances oxygen delivery to the body
Supports energy production
Production of blood
Required for synthesis of thyroid hormone
Plays a role in immune function
Iron may be useful for the prevention or treatment of:
Dysfunctional uterine bleeding
Restless leg syndrome
Mild depression or low mood
Hair loss or thinning/Alopecia
Impaired mental concentration
Menorrhagia (heavy periods)
Chronic lead poisoning
QUALITY PLANT SOURCES OF IRON (Non-Heme Iron)
Excellent sources (4-6mg per serving)
Soybeans – 1 cup
Lentils – 1 cup
Spinach – 1 cup
Sesame seeds – ¼ cup
Garbanzo beans – 1 cup
Lima beans – 1 cup
Olives – 1 cup
Navy beans – 1 cup
Swiss chard – 1 cup
Kidney beans – 1 cup
Very Good sources (2-4mg per serving)
Cumin – 2 tsp
Beet greens – 1 cup
Collard greens – 1 cup
Pinto beans – 1 cup
Tofu – 4 oz
Pumpkin seeds – ¼ cup
Green peas – 1 cup
Blackstrap molasses – 2 tsp
Quinoa – 1 cup
Cashews – ¼ cup
Good sources (1-2mg per serving)
Brussels sprouts – 1 cup
Parsley – ½ cup
Turmeric – 2 tsp
Bok choy – 1 cup
Asparagus – 1 cup
Mustard greens – 1 cup
Turnip greens – 1 cup
Leeks – 1 cup
Beets – 1 cup
Kale – 1 cup
Broccoli – 1 cup
Go Organic! Organic crops have been found to contain significantly more iron compared to conventionally grown crops.
+ VITAMIN C! + Consuming 50 milligrams of vitamin C together with non-heme (plant) iron foods can increase or optimize iron absorption, making it possible to triple the absorption of iron. This amount of vitamin C can be found in an orange, kiwi, ½ grapefruit, ¾ cup strawberries or ¾ cup pineapple.
QUALITY ANIMAL SOURCES OF IRON (Heme Iron)
Mollusks: clams, mussels, oysters, scallops, octopus
Fish: wild-caught sardines
Liver: from organic, grass-fed, free-range pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, beef
Beef & Poultry: organic, grass-fed, free-range
1. Gaby, Alan. Nutritional Medicine. 2011.
2. Mateljan, George. Worlds Healthiest Foods. 2007.
3. Zimmerman, M. Nutritional iron deficiency. The Lancet. Aug 2007.
4. Blach, James. Prescription for nutritional healing. 2010.