Iron deficiency anemia occurs when there is not enough iron in the body. A person can use ingredients containing high amounts of iron and vitamin C to make smoothies that can increase the body’s iron intake.

Red blood cells contain an iron-rich protein called hemoglobin. It helps transport oxygen around the body. Low iron levels can cause a condition called anemia, which is when a person does not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues.

Iron deficiency anemia usually develops over time when the body’s iron intake is low. Doctors treat this condition with iron supplements and advise people to increase the amount of iron they consume.

A person should ensure to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and support their overall health.

This article discusses how a person can increase their iron intake through what they drink. It also explores how much iron a person should consume per day.

A person holding a bowl of spinach, alongside ginger, a green apple, a kiwi, and avocado to make a drink for anemia.Share on Pinterest
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Experts explain that there are two types of dietary iron: heme and nonheme iron.

Nonheme iron comes from plants and iron-fortified foods. Heme iron comes from animal food sources. The body does not absorb nonheme iron as easily as heme iron.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute advises that increasing the amount of vitamin C that someone consumes can help the body absorb more iron.

One way of doing this is to include vitamin C-rich ingredients in smoothies. People can add the following ingredients which are high in vitamin C:

Citrus fruits

This group of fruits includes oranges and grapefruits and contains large amounts of vitamin C.

Approximately 180 grams (g) of orange segments contain 95.8 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C.

The same amount of grapefruit contains 56.2 mg of that vitamin.

A person can try the following smoothie recipes, all of which use citrus fruit:

Kiwi

Kiwi is a nutrient-dense fruit that is rich in vitamin C. It is also a good source of vitamin E, fiber, and folate.

Approximately 180 g of kiwi contains 134 mg of vitamin C.

Some smoothie recipes that contain kiwi include:

Strawberries

Strawberries contain vitamin C, potassium, and folate.

Approximately 150 g of raw strawberries contains 88.2 mg of vitamin C.

Examples of smoothie recipes a person may wish to try include:

Guava

Guava contains fiber, potassium, and vitamin A.

In 165 g of raw guava, there is 376 mg of vitamin C.

Some smoothie recipes that use guava include:

People with iron deficiency anemia should also try to increase their intake of iron-rich foods.

They can make smoothies using the following iron-rich ingredients:

Spinach

Spinach is a good source of nonheme iron. Other dark green vegetables, such as cabbage and broccoli, also contain nonheme iron.

Approximately 85 g, or 3 cups, of spinach contains 2 mg of iron.

A person can try the following smoothie recipes containing spinach:

Kale

Kale contains approximately 1.59 mg of iron per 100 g.

Someone can try adding kale to their smoothies to increase their iron intake. Combining green vegetables with fruits can help to sweeten the smoothie.

The following smoothie recipes containing kale:

Asparagus

Asparagus is a spring vegetable that contains potassium and fiber.

Approximately 85 g of asparagus contains 2 mg of iron.

A person can try the following recipes containing asparagus:

Tofu

Tofu is a food that manufacturers make by coagulating soy milk. People can purchase various types of tofu, including firm tofu or silken tofu, which is softer.

Firm tofu may contain higher amounts of iron. However, some people may prefer to use silken tofu for a smoother texture.

Firm tofu contains 1.08 mg of iron per 79 g.

Approximately 84 g of silken tofu contains 0.79 mg of iron.

A person can try the following recipes containing silken tofu:

Prunes

Prunes are dried plums. They are a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin K.

Approximately 174 g of pitted prunes contains 1.62 mg of iron.

A person can try the following recipes that contain prunes:

Mulberries

Mulberries are sweet or sour fruit that grows on trees.

Approximately 100 g of mulberries contains 1.85 mg of iron.

Some smoothie recipes that use mulberries include:

Dried apricots

People can use dried apricots in smoothies to increase their iron intake. A person may find that soaking them first in water helps to blend them more easily.

Approximately 40 g, or five dried apricots, contains 1.08 mg of iron.

People can try the following recipes containing dried apricots:

Adding fruit or vegetable juices to smoothies is another way to increase vitamin C and help the body absorb iron. Alternatively, people can consume the juices on their own, rather than adding them to a smoothie.

For example, the vitamin C and iron content of some popular juices are as follows:

JuiceIron content (mg)Vitamin C content (mg)
pear, 240 ml0.7260
prune, 248 g2.9310.2
tomato, 248 g0.967174

The following smoothie recipes contain fruit juices:

Additional ingredients for smoothies

Additionally, a person can try including the following ingredients in smoothies to boost the iron content:

IngredientIron content (mg)
sesame seeds, 28 g1.78
spirulina powder, 3 g 0.975
hemp seeds, 30 g2
chia seeds, 30 g2.7
sunflower seeds, 40 g2.7
almond butter, 16 g0.558

According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), certain foods and drinks can reduce iron absorption in the gut.

A 2020 article states that some compounds found in food can inhibit iron absorption. These include polyphenols, a group of chemicals found in:

The authors also noted that calcium can affect short-term heme and nonheme iron absorption, but other sources suggest that this effect has not been definitely established. Experts recommend not taking supplements together and avoiding calcium supplements with iron-rich meals.

Doctors may prescribe a supplement containing elemental iron to treat iron deficiency anemia. This amount is higher than the amount someone could find in a typical daily multivitamin or consume through their diet. It usually takes around 3–6 months to restore a person’s iron levels.

However, a person can still increase their iron intake via the food and drinks they consume.

There are different types of anemia, and it is important that individuals consult a doctor who can diagnose which type of anemia they have.

Following a diet that is higher in iron may help with anemia.

Foods that are rich in iron include:

Learn more about foods and meal plans for iron deficiency.

Symptoms of anemia can range from mild to severe.

While people with mild anemia may not have any symptoms, people with more severe anemia may experience the following:

Research suggests that iron deficiency anemia affects sleep quality. Iron is involved in the metabolism of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin that regulate sleep.

Studies also indicate that people with iron deficiency anemia may find it more difficult to sleep or have insomnia.

Research does not indicate that a person with anemia needs to sleep more than people without anemia.

If a person experiences symptoms of anemia, they should seek guidance from a healthcare professional. Doctors diagnose anemia using a blood test.

An underlying condition such as gastrointestinal bleeding can cause anemia, so it is important that a person discusses any symptoms with a doctor who can carry out a thorough assessment.

Anemia can cause symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, and pale skin.

A person may increase the iron levels in their blood by drinking smoothies and juices containing ingredients that are naturally high in iron and vitamin C. People can add fruits, vegetables, and seeds to smoothies or drink juices. However, a person should be aware of the sugar content of fruit juices to stay within recommended daily amounts.