1. Eat iron-boosting foods. Foods high in vitamin C (citrus fruit, strawberries, green pepper, kiwi), when eaten along with iron-containing foods, increase iron absorption. Milk, tea, coffee, and antacids inhibit the absorption of iron.
2. Consider the myths about iron. Remember when your mother made you eat your spinach? Yes, spinach is rich in iron, but most of it cannot be absorbed through human intestines. There are other foods like this, ones that contain a lot of iron that is not absorbable. The figures look good on paper, but that’s all it is — “paper iron.” The iron found in vegetables and egg yolk, for example, is not well absorbed.
3. Read labels. The amount of “iron” listed on a food label may be misleading. More nutritionally important is “elemental iron,” which means the amount of iron that is available for absorption.
4. Choose from iron-rich foods including liver, beef, oysters, sardines, tuna, clams, shrimp, apricots, figs, peaches, raisins, bread, cereals (iron-fortified), bagel, pasta, nuts, lentils, artichoke, peas, potato, with skin and Brewer’s yeast.