To increase iron levels in the blood, we must avoid those food combinations that hinder its absorption, and increase those that favor it.

Last update: November 17, 2023

Iron is a fundamental trace element for the formation of hemoglobin and red blood cells. Therefore, increasing iron levels in the blood is vital for a healthy body.
When iron levels drop, the lack of oxygen in the tissues causes weakness, fatigue and diseases such as anemia. If your doctor has told you that you have iron deficiency, he follows his instructions and, if the professional recommends it, he takes these tips that we are going to share with you below.

Normal blood iron values

Serum iron is a result of daily intake, hemoglobin metabolism, and exchange with storage organs. Blood levels can be obtained from a laboratory test. The normal range for serum iron is between 60 and 170 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dl).

Other parameters that guide the deficiency of this trace element are transferrin saturation and total iron binding capacity (CTFH). In general, low levels of iron in the blood affect the concentration of hemoglobinthe normal values ​​in adults being the following:

  • Man: 13 to 16 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl).
  • Women: 12 to 15 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl).

Symptoms of iron deficiency

Iron deficiency is expressed clinically in the form of iron deficiency anemia. This may initially not produce any symptoms and go unnoticed. However, as the anemia worsens, so do the clinical manifestations. Some of the most common signs are the following:

  • Exhausted.
  • Weakness and pale skin.
  • Rapid and irregular palpitations.
  • Headache.
  • Dizziness and nausea.
  • Brittle nails.
  • Inflammation and pain in the tongue.
  • Need to chew ice.

How to increase iron levels in the blood?

1. Eat foods rich in iron

To maintain optimal blood iron levels, it is necessary to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.

The main cause of low blood iron levels is usually poor diet. . Since iron is a mineral, we can find it naturally in foods, both of animal and plant origin.

  • Iron from food of animal origin is the one that the body absorbs most easily. Its main source is meat (especially red meat).
  • The iron obtained from plant foods is absorbed in a very low amount, although it is still a good idea to consume them. The best options are legumes, green leafy vegetables and nuts.

2. Increase your consumption of foods rich in vitamin C

For iron to be absorbed by the body, it must be transformed into ferritin. . This process occurs due to the action of gastric juice, which contains hydrochloric acid and the presence of vitamin C. For this reason, it is necessary to include more acidic foods rich in vitamin C in the diet, such as: lemon, orange, strawberries, broccoli and pepper.

Although the vitamin C It is of great importance for the immune system and for better absorption of iron in the body, it must be taken into account that, Excessive intake causes folic acid deficiency. Ideally, you should consume a maximum of two citrus fruits a day.

3. Moderate the consumption of iron-inhibiting foods

Just as there are foods that help increase your iron levels in the blood, others avoid it.. If your doctor has diagnosed you with anemia or iron deficiency, avoid these foods:

  • Egg. The phosvitin it contains prevents the body from absorbing iron from plant sources.
  • Milk. The calcium contained in dairy products inhibits the absorption of iron from animal and plant origin when consumption is greater than 300 mg per day.
  • Tea. The oxalate contained in tea affects the absorption of iron from plant sources. It is not recommended to take it with foods high in iron.
  • Cocoa and coffee. The phenolic compounds contained in cocoa and coffee inhibit the absorption of iron from plant sources.
  • Walnuts. The phytates contained in nuts and other seeds act as strong inhibitors and can reduce iron absorption by 50 to 65%.

4. Take iron supplements if you are pregnant or if your doctor indicates it

If you are pregnant, it may be advisable to take supplements to increase iron levels and meet your body’s energy demand and the iron needs of the fetus for its proper development. Consult your doctor about this to find out what is best for you.

Depending on the causes of your low blood iron levels, consult your doctor before starting any supplements. This is because it is not necessary in all cases since Not all supplements are suitable for everyone. .

If your iron deficiency is due to other reasons, there is a little more freedom in the sources of supplements you can take. There are natural products, such as shilajit or ferrous sulfate pills, which are used recurrently. However, its intake must also be accompanied by medical supervision.

5. Avoid eating large amounts of dietary fiber

The fiber Diet has important functions in the body, as it regulates your digestion, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and protects you from some chronic diseases, such as colon neoplasia.
Although its consumption brings excellent benefits to the body, eating excessive fiber is counterproductive when you have low iron levels in your blood.
Due to its laxative action, Iron passes faster through the digestive tract and its absorption is reduced; and This means that iron is retained in the feces and cannot be absorbed.

Avoid eating large amounts of dietary fiberAvoid eating large amounts of dietary fiber

Salad to increase your blood iron levels

Although these tips are very simple to put into practice, you may not know where to start to increase your blood iron levels. Then, We recommend that you try this salad.


  • 1 cup of arugula (100 g).
  • 1 cup of spinach (100 g).
  • Lean red beef meat (150 g).
  • 1 pink grapefruit in wedges, without skin or seeds.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper (a pinch, to taste)


  • Season the steak or piece of meat and grill it.
  • Chop the roast beef into small pieces so they are easy to handle.
  • In a bowl, combine the meat, vegetables and grapefruit.
  • Season with a little salt and freshly ground pepper and eat instantly.

Take care of yourself and always eat healthy

Low consumption of foods rich in iron can lead to anemia, among other complications. Now, it is not about incorporating large quantities of this nutrient overnight, but rather finding a way to introduce it more frequently, in a balanced way.

Remember to always take into account the doctor’s instructions, since he is the one who can best advise you on matters of well-being. After all, he knows in detail what is most convenient according to your state of health.

Finally, know some causes of low hemoglobin

There are diseases that cause the body to not produce the necessary red blood cells. One is aplastic anemia, which is when the body does not generate enough new blood cells. The condition causes fatigue and makes the person who suffers from it prone to infections and bleeding.

Another is thalassemia, a hereditary disease that causes the body to have less hemoglobin than it needs, causing anemia and fatigue. Deficiency of vitamins containing folate, vitamin B-12 and vitamin C, as well as iron, causes a lack of healthy red blood cells. And, sickle cell anemia, also an inherited condition, causes the sufferer to not produce enough red blood cells to transport oxygen.

Other causes that cause low hemoglobin are the presence of cancer in the bone marrow, kidney diseases and some others associated with the thyroid, such as hypothyroidism. By the way, a person who suffers a burn of more than 10% on their body may suffer from anemia.

Definitely, If you feel tired, fatigued or weak, go to the doctor. They are symptoms closely related to low hemoglobin.