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Good Dietary Sources of Iron

The most common reason a person is deferred is low iron count.   Twenty-five percent of all potential blood donors in our region are temporarily deferred because they have a low iron count.  Food and Drug Administration guidelines require that any person be deferred if their count is less than 38 percent (i.e.: if the packed red blood cells, which carry the iron, make up less than 38 percent of the total blood volume).

You should normally eat a balanced diet that  includes iron-rich foods.   But at a minimum, please adjust your diet for at least one week prior to donating to minimize the risk of being deferred.

Increasing Iron In Your Diet

Include meat, poultry or fish along with a food high in vitamin C at each meal. 

FOODS HIGH IN VITAMIN C

Broccoli                                   Orange Juice

Brussel Sprouts                        Oranges

Cantaloupe                               Strawberries

Cauliflower                               Sweet Potatoes

Cranberry Juice                        Tangerines

(fortified with vitamin C)            Tomato Products

Grapefruit                                 Turnip Greens

Grapefruit Juice                         Vegetable Juice     

Choose foods from the list to the right that are high in iron.  When selecting breakfast cereals, choose one fortified with at least 25% of the USRDA for iron.

Good Sources of Iron

 

Serving Size

Mg per serving

BREADS & CEREALS

 

 

Cream of Wheat

6 oz.

8.1

Raisin Bran

cup

13.4

40% Bran

cup

6.7

Whole Wheat Bread

1 slice

0.8

White Bread, enriched

1 slice

0.8

Rice, enriched

cup

0.5

Pasta, enriched

cup

0.6

MEAT, FISH & POULTRY

 

 

Beef or Veal

3 oz.

2.8

Calves Liver

3 oz.

12.1

Chicken Livers

3 oz.

7.6

Pork (fresh and cured)

3 oz.

1.0

Chicken and Turkey

3 oz.

1.1

Oysters (raw)

3 oz.

4.3

Tuna (water packed)

cup

1.8

VEGETABLES/FRUITS/BEANS

 

 

Dried apricots

4 halves

0.7

Kale

cup

2.5

Pinto Beans

cup

2.7

Prunes

4

0.8

Prune Juice

cup

1.5

Raisins

2 tbsp

0.6

Spinach

cup

0.9

Turnip Greens

cup

0.6

OTHER

 

 

Molasses

1 tbsp

1.2


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