Iron / ferritin levels are going down fast - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 07-17-2014, 11:48 PM
 
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Red face Iron / ferritin levels are going down fast

I've been a vegetarian for one and a half year but my doctors are concerned about my ferritin levels (iron).
I'm a blood donor which requires a lot of iron in my blood but since I don't eat meat, the ferritin levels are falling which is also making me anemic.
This will result in that I won't be able to donate blood any longer, because the quality of my blood is just too poor.
I take iron pills every day but they're not enough.
I admit I don't eat too healthy, but that's mostly because I really don't know what to eat.
Does anybody have any suggestions on what would be good to eat with lots of iron? I've googled stuff but I can't seem to find anything good.
In addition to my low hemoglobin and ferritin levels, I'm getting more and more tired each day which is pretty annoying.
My doctors want me to eat meat, at least just a few times a week but I won't do that.

Thanks in advance.
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#2 Old 07-18-2014, 12:24 AM
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I love raw baby spinach. Makes great salads, on sandwiches, in lasagne, etc. Bon appetit!

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#3 Old 07-18-2014, 02:08 AM
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I second incorporating leafy greens into your diet daily! Try them in smoothies (spinach is soft and blends well in a regular blender), in salads, in sandwiches etc. Another one is blackstrap molasses. One serving has almost 20% iron. I use it often with hot cereal or in smoothies or in sauce for bbq or stir fry. With plant based nonheme iron, you want to include a source of vitamin c with your plant source of iron. So if you have a salad with iron rich leafy greens, to help absorb them better throw in some orange slices or strawberries or bell pepper. If I have the molasses in my cereal I might have a fruit on the side or strawberries in my cereal.

Beans/legumes also have lots of iron and it is suggested to eat at least a cup of beans per day on a plant based diet unless you are eating all raw or something.

I have never had a problem with anemia or iron deficiency so I will leave it to others to help in that area. Hope this helps!

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#4 Old 07-18-2014, 04:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katxap View Post
I've been a vegetarian for one and a half year but my doctors are concerned about my ferritin levels (iron).
I'm a blood donor which requires a lot of iron in my blood but since I don't eat meat, the ferritin levels are falling which is also making me anemic.
This will result in that I won't be able to donate blood any longer, because the quality of my blood is just too poor.
I take iron pills every day but they're not enough.
I admit I don't eat too healthy, but that's mostly because I really don't know what to eat.
Does anybody have any suggestions on what would be good to eat with lots of iron? I've googled stuff but I can't seem to find anything good.
In addition to my low hemoglobin and ferritin levels, I'm getting more and more tired each day which is pretty annoying.
My doctors want me to eat meat, at least just a few times a week but I won't do that.

Thanks in advance.
I've always been slightly anemic, even when I was eating meat. I haven't gotten my iron checked in a while (I will within the next 2 weeks) but I'm thinking my levels will actually be better now bc I've been eating lots of leafy greens and beans which I didn't before.

If you're on iron pills and your iron levels are still low you could have problems absorbing the iron. That's something to look into bc you'll be anemic no matter how much iron you take whether it'd be from meat or supplements.
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#5 Old 07-18-2014, 04:51 AM
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Did your doctor refer you to a nutritionist? They could probably help with your iron, tiredness, and eating healthier overall.

+1 for leafy greens (I personally will eat spinach all day long but kale... gotta be a smoothie or chips for me) and beans. I've also been told eating your iron-containing foods with foods high in vitamin c helps absorption.
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#6 Old 07-18-2014, 03:36 PM
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Eat foods that are higher in iron with vitamin c, an avoid caffeine -coffee and tea, both green and black-most herbals are fine.

Use a cast iron skillet. Particularly with foods with tomatoes, they do impart a good amount of iron.

I used to regularly low on iron until I became veg'n. I guess I paid more attention and that's when i started using cast iron for almost every thing.

Here's a very good site and a PDF
http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/factsheets/iron.html

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?t...trient&dbid=70

Another good tip is to compare labels on the same product, being sure the serving size is the same. I bought brown rice based on one being two points higher in iron and protein.

Breakfast cereals are always good choices. Cream of Wheat came to mind and yes, it has 50% DVR of iron, other than D3 no other animal sources. There multi grain has 70% and does have milk. I'm sure there are similiar hot cereals
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#7 Old 07-19-2014, 12:51 AM
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Why are you giving so much blood if you're iron-poor? Keep your blood and eat healthy.
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#8 Old 07-19-2014, 07:47 PM
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No, eating spinach is *NOT* a good idea if you are iron-deficient. Yes, spinach has plenty of iron. But it also has oxalates. Oxalates prevent you from absorbing the iron in spinach. That's why eating spinach does you little or no good. But it can be very helpful if you want to give yourself kidney stones.

This point has been made thousands of times on this board whenever the subject of iron-deficiency comes up. Dunno why it is so hard for some people to grasp. Maybe they have seen too many "Popeye the Sailor" cartoons.
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#9 Old 07-20-2014, 06:25 AM
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Its always low Vitamin D and/or low intake of leafy greens when minerals are low.
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#10 Old 07-20-2014, 10:51 AM
 
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I also struggle with low hgb and ferritin, partly due to a hereditary issue. Instead of iron pills, my doctor prescribed prenatal vitamins with iron. They're easier for me to keep down, and at my last appointment the numbers were creeping up.


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#11 Old 07-20-2014, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katxap View Post
I've been a vegetarian for one and a half year but my doctors are concerned about my ferritin levels (iron).
I'm a blood donor which requires a lot of iron in my blood but since I don't eat meat, the ferritin levels are falling which is also making me anemic.
This will result in that I won't be able to donate blood any longer, because the quality of my blood is just too poor.
I take iron pills every day but they're not enough.
...
In addition to my low hemoglobin and ferritin levels, I'm getting more and more tired each day which is pretty annoying.
My doctors want me to eat meat, at least just a few times a week but I won't do that.

Thanks in advance.
I am not a doctor. But it seems to me if your problem is as severe as you describe, your doctors should be considering--or more than considering--giving you injections to deal with your blood iron deficiency problems.

I am not clear on what is involved with such injections, but I think they should be looked into.
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#12 Old 07-20-2014, 04:05 PM
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Here are two lists of top iron foods in various categories taken from books by registered dieticians.
It is a myth that meats have the highest iron contents. Not necessarily so. Note also that several of the highest-iron plant foods are "Oriental" vegetables, like kelp, dulce, nori, and alaria. I think it is stupid (and possibly racially prejudiced) that such vegetables are often excluded from "WASP" lists of high-iron foods.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf TOP-FE-G.pdf (7.2 KB, 16 views)
File Type: pdf TOP-IRON-g.pdf (9.5 KB, 8 views)
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#13 Old 07-23-2014, 02:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LedBoots View Post
Why are you giving so much blood if you're iron-poor? Keep your blood and eat healthy.
I agree with this, my father is a frequent donor but had to slow down his frequency lately because he as the same problem as the op. He not only eats meat but also lots of legumes, nuts, and leafy greens. He also tried to supplement iron also but the supplements conflicted with something in his body.

Take a break from donating frequently and let your body build back up, for males a little bit lower iron isn't that big of a deal as long as they levels aren't critically low.
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#14 Old 07-23-2014, 03:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe View Post
No, eating spinach is *NOT* a good idea if you are iron-deficient. Yes, spinach has plenty of iron. But it also has oxalates. Oxalates prevent you from absorbing the iron in spinach. That's why eating spinach does you little or no good. But it can be very helpful if you want to give yourself kidney stones.

This point has been made thousands of times on this board whenever the subject of iron-deficiency comes up. Dunno why it is so hard for some people to grasp. Maybe they have seen too many "Popeye the Sailor" cartoons.
But can't you cook out a significant amount of oxalates by boiling it and ditching the cook water?
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