Iron & Hemoglobin In Our Diet



Haemoglobin is an iron-rich protein which occurs in R.B.C. It is essential to maintain its normal level i.e. 14 to 18 g/dl for adult men and 12 to 16 g/dl for adult women for leading a healthy life.

If the hemoglobin level drops it causes the symptoms like fatigue, weakness, breath shortness, dizziness, headaches, pale skin, brittle nails, increased heartbeat and loss of appetite and results into anemia.

The main cause of low hemoglobin levels are the iron deficiency and others are blood loss during surgery or trauma or bone marrow diseases, cancer, kidney problems, arthritis, diabetes, stomach ulcers, digestive tract diseases, also frequent blood donations.

Haemoglobin level can be improved by incorporating following:

  • Iron-rich foods: Iron is essential for hemoglobin formation. Good sources of iron are liver, red meat, shrimp, tofu, spinach, almonds, dates, lentils, fortified cereals, oysters and asparagus.
  • Vit-C rich foods: It helps in iron absorption and the good sources are-Papaya, oranges, lemon, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, grapefruit, tomatoes and spinach.
  • Include Folic acid: Folic acid helps in producing red blood cells so its deficiency leads to low hemoglobin level. Sources of folic acid are green leafy vegetables, liver, brown rice, sprouts, dried beans, wheat germ, fortified cereals, peanuts, bananas, broccoli and liver.
  • Include Vit-B-12: Low level of Vit-B-12 also causes pernicious anemia. Good sources of Vit-B-12 are- shellfish, liver, fish, crab, fortified soy (tofu, soymilk), fortified cereals, low-fat dairy, cheese and eggs.

Ten best foods to raise hemoglobin level are:

  • Beetroots: It is rich in iron and folic acid. Taking beet juice daily helps in increasing R.B.C.
  • Fruits:
  • Apples: Apples are iron rich which increases hemoglobin level if taken one green apple with its skin daily.
  • Pomegranate: It is also iron rich and a medium sized pomegranate or its juice is helpful in improving hemoglobin level.
  • Other fruits like ripe banana, watermelon, ripe papaya, peaches, oranges, strawberries, blackberries, Indian gooseberry also improve hemoglobin level.
  • Nettle: This herb if taken with lukewarm water and honey is helpful in improving hemoglobin level due to its rich source of iron, Vit-B and Vit- C content.
  • Meat and Eggs: Lean meats are heme iron-rich and hence absorbs easily. Lean meats are recommended weekly twice. One egg per day helps to fight against anemia due to its iron content.
  • Green Vegetables: Green vegetables like broccoli, beans, green peas, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower etc naturally increases hemoglobin levels and helps in supplying oxygenated blood.
  • Cereals and Grains: Iron enriched cereals like brown bread, rice, pastas, and corns also increase hemoglobin level.
  • Legumes: Legumes like soy nuts, red kidney beans, chick peas, black-eyed peas, black beans, lentils, fava beans are iron and Vit-B rich which improves hemoglobin level gradually. .
  • Dried fruits: Apricots, raisins, dates, currants, prunes, sundried tomatoes, and mulberries are fair sources of iron and thus boost our hemoglobin level.
  • Honey and Jaggery: Both honey and jaggery are excellent sources of iron and a good substitute of sugar. Honey with lime water improves hemoglobin level as well as it also purifies the blood.


  • Avoid foods which disturb iron absorption like
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Colas
  • Wine
  • Beer
  • Antacids
  • Calcium rich foods like dairy products and Calcium supplements.
  • Avoid gluten containing foods
  • Include more iron rich foods after menstruation and during pregnancy.
  • If diet modifications in not enough to improve hemoglobin level then include iron, Vit-C and folate supplements after consulting with physician.
  • Aerobic exercise helps in haemoglobin production, which helps in oxygen transport.