9 Iron-Rich Drinks for a Healthy Boost

9 Iron-Rich Drinks for a Healthy Boost

Iron is a necessary mineral that serves various functions in the body. Iron, as a component of hemoglobin found in red blood cells, aids in the transportation of oxygen throughout the body. It also contributes to energy generation, immunological function, brain development, and other processes.

While we frequently focus on solid foods to meet our nutritional needs, it’s worth understanding that drinks contain iron and can considerably add to our daily intake. Drinking your nutrition can be a simple and efficient approach to supplement your iron levels, especially for people who have dietary limitations or hate iron-rich meals.

Why is Iron Important?

Iron is important for health because it is an essential component of hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that transports oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Without adequate iron, your body is unable to manufacture enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells, resulting in weariness and decreased immunity.

What is the Difference between Heme vs Non-Heme Iron

Iron exists in two forms: heme iron and non-heme iron. The primary distinction between the two is the source.

Heme iron is derived from hemoglobin and myoglobin, proteins present in iron-rich animal meals such as red meat, fish, and chicken. Heme iron is readily absorbed by the body. Examples of beverages with heme iron are:

  • Bone broth
  • Clam juice
  • Oyster juice

Plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and grains contain non-heme iron. Non-heme iron is less easily absorbed than heme iron. Examples of beverages with non-heme iron include:

  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Dried apricots juice
  • Prune juice
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Tofu smoothies
  • Spinach juice
  • Vegetable juices like tomato, carrot, beet

The absorption of non-heme iron can be enhanced by combining iron-rich plant meals with diets high in vitamin C, as vitamin C improves iron absorption.

Iron Deficiency

Iron Deficiency

More than 30% of the world’s population suffers from iron deficiency, making it one of the most frequent dietary deficiencies. It happens when the body does not have enough iron to generate hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that transports oxygen to tissues throughout the body.

The main symptoms of iron deficiency include:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Swelling or soreness of the tongue

Iron deficiency can cause poor appetite, brittle nails, chilly hands, and feet, oral irritation or pain, and restless leg syndrome.

Iron deficiency can lead to iron deficiency anemia, which occurs when hemoglobin levels fall below normal. This can lead to symptoms becoming more severe.

Some groups at higher risk of iron deficiency include

  • Women of childbearing age due to blood loss from menstruation
  • Pregnant women
  • Babies, children, and adolescents due to increased iron needs during growth spurts
  • Athletes, especially female athletes
  • People with diseases that cause inflammation and internal bleeding, such as ulcerative colitis
  • People donating blood frequently

Iron deficiency is estimated to impact around 1.6 billion individuals worldwide. However, it may be prevented and treated by increasing iron intake through food or supplementation. Maintaining proper iron levels is critical for overall health and wellness.

9 Iron-Rich Healthy Drinks

9 Iron-Rich Healthy Drinks

If you’re looking for high-iron drinks, here’s a starter list:

Fortified Orange Juice

Fortified liquids, particularly orange juice, are high in non-heme iron content. Orange juice contains vitamin C, which helps with iron absorption.

Prune Juice

Prune juice, a natural source of non-heme iron, is a tasty method to increase your iron intake. It’s also high in fiber, which may help digestion.

Prune juice is strong in iron and a great alternative to heme (animal-based) iron. According to studies, a 240ml cup of prune juice provides 17% of your daily iron need. It increases energy and is safe for persons with diabetes.

Spinach and Kale Smoothie

Leafy greens like spinach and kale are high in non-heme iron. To enhance absorption, blend them in a smoothie with vitamin C-rich fruits.

Pumpkin Juice

Pumpkin has antioxidative characteristics and includes elements that benefit your health. Its seeds are high in iron and may be eaten as a snack, blended into a smoothie, or sprinkled over cuisine. Blending chopped pumpkin into a puree is also an excellent method to increase your iron consumption.

Tomato Juice

Tomatoes are an excellent source of nonheme iron. Consume it in moderation, though, because certain processed types include a high salt concentration.

Molasses Drink

Blackstrap molasses is unexpectedly high in iron. Make a soothing drink by mixing it with warm water or non-dairy milk.

Beet Juice

Beetroots are rich in iron but also contain significant levels of folate, which is required for red blood cell development.

Pea Protein Shakes

Pea protein complements smoothies and drinks and combines well with other iron-rich foods. It delivers 30% of your daily iron requirement in a 0.71-ounce (20-gram) portion.

Pea protein is high in protein, good fats, and vitamin C. Buying the unflavored variety means you’ll avoid any extra sugars.

Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranate juice is both pleasant and nutritionally packed. This fruit is strong in iron and vitamin C, which promotes hemoglobin formation and absorption. The vivid crimson color of this juice reflects its high nutritional value.

Foods to Avoid

Certain foods and drinks might reduce iron absorption. This includes:

  • Coffee and black tea contain polyphenols that prevent non-heme iron absorption.
  • Calcium in dairy products can limit iron absorption if ingested in sufficient quantities with iron-rich meals or beverages.
  • Whole grain cereals. Although healthful, they include phytates, which can bind to iron and reduce its bioavailability.

Conclusion

When it comes to iron-containing drinks, a range of juices, milk, and smoothies can help you meet your daily iron requirements. However, remember that a well-balanced diet is essential, and high-iron beverages should only account for a portion of your total iron consumption. 

Always contact a healthcare practitioner before making major dietary changes, especially if you feel you have an iron deficiency. Drink responsibly and enjoy your journey to a revived, healthy, iron-rich life!

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to read this article on Unveiling the Power of Beet Juice: A Natural Boost for Iron Levels.

*This information is not intended to serve as a substitute for professional medical or dietary advice tailored to individual needs.

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Dr. Kimberly Langdon

Kimberly Langdon

Dr. Kimberly Langdon has been an MD for 31 years, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place accolades for her Senior Research Project and Score of 98th percentile on a National Proficiency Test.

During her clinical career, she delivered over 2000 babies and specialized in minimally invasive procedures, menopause, endometriosis, menstrual disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. After retiring from clinical practice, she founded a medical device company to commercialize her two patented and four patent-pending medical devices for both life-threatening and non-life-threatening infections.

Kimberly Langdon M.D.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Coologics, 2010-present
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kimberly-langdon-m-d-41847610/
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine 1987-1991
The Ohio State University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program 1991-1995
Private practice 1995-2010

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., received his medical doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. During his medical school training, Dr. Hsu worked with various patients, including adult and pediatric patients with acute and chronic conditions. Dr. Hsu’s interests include neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and sleep medicine.

Before medical school, Dr. Hsu finished a master’s degree at Harvard University and wrote a thesis on neuroimaging in schizophrenia patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. Dr. Hsu was also a part of the 2008 NASA Phoenix Lander Mission team, which sent a robotic spacecraft to the North polar region of Mars. Dr. Hsu also had research experience on neuroimaging in neonates at Boston Children’s Hospital, another Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hospital.

Since graduating from medical school, Dr. Hsu has worked as a full-time medical writer and consultant. In addition, he has experience writing and ghostwriting books and articles for physicians and health technology start-up companies. Dr. Hsu believes good communication between healthcare providers and patients creates the best results.

Publications

-Peer Reviewed Journal Article:
Kounaves, S.P., Hecht, M.H., West, S.J., Morookian, J.-M., Young, S.M.M., Quinn, R., Grunthaner, P., Wen, X., Weilert, M., Cable, C.A., Fisher, A., Gospodinova, K., Kapit, J., Stroble, S., Hsu, P.-C., Clark, B.C., Ming, D.W. and Smith, P.H. The MECA wet chemistry laboratory on the 2007 phoenix mars scout Lander. Journal of Geophysical Research. 2009, Mar; 114(E3): 10.1029/2008je003084.

-Poster Presentation:
2011 Harvard Psychiatry Mysell Poster Session; Boston, MA
Hsu, P.C., Rathi, Y., Eckbo, R., Nestor, P., Niznikiewicz, M., Thompson, E., Kubicki, M., Shenton, M.E. (March, 2011). Two-Tensor Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Acoustic Radiations in Schizophrenia

Dr. Nicolette Natale

Nicolette Natale

Dr. Nicolette Natale is a physician, with a background in Psychology, General Medicine, and English Literature, combining her expertise to provide readers with the most accurate, easy-to-understand, and comprehensive information regarding healthcare. She received her Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Nova Southeastern University, and her bachelor’s in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Miami. Dr. Natale seeks to empower individuals with knowledge, fostering a greater understanding of holistic health and encouraging a proactive approach to well-being