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Answers from the BJC Experts

Ask the BJC Expert allows you to get the answers you need about a variety of health, medicine and exercise issues to help you live a more healthy life.

Please browse the most recent questions below or use the search the questions feature to see if the answer to your question is already given. If not, please submit a new question for our experts.

My doctor has advised me to increase my iron intake. I could take a supplement, but would prefer to increase it through dietary intake. What do you recommend? I hate liver!

Beef, poultry and fish are the best sources of iron and are the most readily absorbed. You should eat 6 ounces of protein a day. A serving of meat (3 ounces) is the size of a deck of cards.

There are other sources of iron, such as fortified or enriched cereals, and some vegetables. These include spinach, raisins, Raisin Bran, Cream of Wheat, and pinto and kidney beans. In cereals, you want to look for one that has at least 25 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of iron.

Another way to increase your iron intake is to consume a high Vitamin C food with your meal. Consuming a food high in Vitamin C with meat, poultry or fish helps the body absorb the iron more efficiently. Foods high in Vitamin C include broccoli, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, tomato products, oranges, orange juice, cantaloupe, strawberries and tangerines.

Cooking in cast iron pots and pans can help increase the iron in the foods you prepare. Avoid drinking coffee and tea at meals, as they can decrease the absorption of iron. If you are taking a calcium phosphate supplement, don't take it with your meals, as this also can decrease absorption of iron.

Find more information at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. You will find other useful resources at this website, as well.

Nutrition counseling services are available at:

BJC dietitians also can be located by calling Help For Your Health at 314.747.7234.

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