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HomeHealth articlesiron defeciency anemiaWhat Nutritional Strategies Are Instituted for Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Nutritional Strategies for Iron Deficiency Anemia

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Iron deficiency anemia could be promptly tackled by instituting specific nutritional strategies. Read to know more about it.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop

Published At May 16, 2024
Reviewed AtMay 16, 2024


Every subset of blood cells is entitled to discrete and specific functions and duties to carry out. Health is also governed by the proportions of these blood cells. Each of these blood cell types needs to be within the stipulated ratios, which is designated to be an important health determinant. Derangements or disparities in the blood cell proportions, which could be an upturn or downturn, call for therapeutic interventions. When the red blood cell proportions markdown, it brings forth a medical state called anemia. Once the red blood cell palliates, all the functions inflicted and entitled by the red blood cell gravitate down, bringing forth several bodily presentations. Palliation in the red cell count could be inflicted by discrete etiologies or causes. Therefore, anemia could be cataloged into subtypes considering the cause that has prompted red cell count depletion.

What Is Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Iron is a critical element that is indispensable for red blood cells. Insufficiency in the proportions of iron could bring forth several health crises. Iron deficiency anemia is such an ailment which is brought out by inadequacy and undersupply of iron.

The red blood cells are in charge of cellular oxygen delivery. This ability to deliver oxygen is assisted and aided by the protein molecules within RBC called hemoglobin. The hemoglobin molecule clings onto the oxygen molecules and thus expedites oxygen delivery. Each hemoglobin molecule enwraps four iron atoms. It is with the iron atom that oxygen molecules are tied up and transported. So when the iron proportions scale down, it does bring out immediate reflections in the hemoglobin proportions, and so does the red blood cell count.

Paleness of skin, fatigue, exhaustion, sluggishness, dizziness, hair loss, shortness of breath, and raced heartbeats are some of the notable manifestations invoked by iron deficiency anemia. Though both genders are susceptible, the female population, particularly of the reproductive age group, showcases an uplifted inclination for iron deficiency anemia.

What Nutritional Strategies Are Instituted for Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Iron deficiency anemia, despite being a preventable ailment, is still underscored for its heightened prevalence across the globe. As the condition is invoked by iron deficiency, supplementing or augmenting the dietary iron supply could be a key strategy to clear off the deficiency and thereby alleviate iron deficiency anemia. Even before instituting dietary revisions, the exact reason or the factor that downturns the availability of iron ought to be considered and worked out. Without comprehending the error point that instigates iron deficiency anemia, all the interventions and strategies to counter the iron deficiency will go into wane. Iron deficiency anemia could be promoted by error in the iron uptake (malabsorption), insufficiency in dietary iron supply, overstated iron requirements, or extensive blood loss. Nutritional strategies are a key implement for iron deficiency anemia. Here are a few nutritional strategies that could bring forth promising outcomes in individuals with iron deficiency anemia:

  • Practicing an Iron-Rich Diet: Incorporating, integrating, and practicing a diet that is loaded with iron is the routine dietary revision that is advocated for iron deficiency anemia patients. Poultry, leafy greens (broccoli, curly kale, and spinach), fish (anchovy, clams, sardine, salmon, tuna, oyster), legumes (peas and beans), citrus fruits, and red meats are the iron sources that one could integrate into their routine diet. In addition, certain seeds and nuts, particularly pumpkin seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds, and pistachios, do house notable iron proportions.

  • Regulating Iron Inhibiting Food Intake: The selection of nutritional elements needs to be thoughtfully considered and outlined. Certain dietary elements could downturn the iron uptake. Calcium is one such nutrient that could cramp down dietary iron uptake. However, calcium could not be completely dismissed as it would bring up calcium deficiency and other health crises. Therefore, regulating and balancing calcium consumption in such a way that its potency to hamper iron uptake could be down-regulated without inflicting calcium deficiency. In addition to calcium, polyphenols and phytates could also taper and downscale iron uptake. Hence, coffee and tea intake ought to be moderated owing to their higher polyphenol proportions. Likewise, dietary fibers, particularly in wholegrains, also mark down iron uptake, and consumption needs to be regulated.

  • Encouraging Iron Uptake Boosting Foods: Certain dietary elements could upscale and expedite iron uptake. Integrating such dietary choices aids in palliating iron deficiency anemia by silencing and covering up the iron deficiency. The expedited iron uptake inflicted by such food sources augments the iron requirements. Vitamin C, beta carotene, and vitamin A are a few nutritional elements that heighten iron uptake. Furthermore, poultry, red meat, and fish, despite contributing iron, also upscales the uptake of certain forms of iron.

  • Iron Fortification: Iron fortification is another nutritional strategy to boost and underscore iron uptake. Food fortification is a peculiar approach whereby specific nutrients are amalgamated with certain foods to upgrade their nutritional value. In iron fortification, food items or raw food products are enriched and refined with iron by incorporating iron atoms into them. Iron fortification is being instituted for cereals, whole grains, grain flour, salt, and many other items. It could even be accomplished in condiments like sauces, bread, and biscuits. Iron fortification aids in subjugating the proclivity for iron deficiency anemia.

  • Iron Supplementation: Nutritional supplements are a viable strategy, and one may turn to nutrient supplements when dietary revisions and amendments fail to fulfill and bring off the nutritional demand adequately. Nutritional supplements aid in palliating various nutrient deficiencies. Iron supplementation, which could be in syrup or pill form, renders additional iron input apart from the dietary input. Iron supplementation is often advocated alongside other dietary revisions to tackle iron deficiency anemia. Many such iron supplements are marketed as OTC (over-the-counter) medicines. However, the dosage of the supplements needs to be precisely weighed and should be tailored to fit individual requirements.

  • Food Processing That Boosts Iron Uptake: Certain food processing strategies favor and expedite the intestinal uptake of iron. Fermentation, germination, malting, and soaking techniques upregulate the iron uptake, and hence, incorporating food that is processed by any of these proceedings could counter iron deficiency anemia by buttressing the iron uptake.


Iron deficiency anemia showcases surprising prevalence and often necessitates extensive therapy. However, by inculcating certain amendments and revisions in dietary choices, one could turn down the propensity for iron deficiency anemia. The rationale behind every therapeutic intervention for iron deficiency anemia is to upscale the iron proportions as it is being underscored as the critical etiology behind the illness. Nutritional strategies like incorporating iron sources and iron-fortified meals and moderating iron-inhibiting food demonstrate appreciable outcomes in iron deficiency anemia. These nutritional strategies work as both preventative and curative implements against iron deficiency anemia.

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Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop
Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop



iron defeciency anemia
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