Anemia plant-based diet

General guidelines in the diet for anemia

Some considerations to take into account to prevent or treat anemia

  • Make 5 meals a day with iron rich foods throughout the day (better absorption).
  • Iron from animal food is better absorbed than iron from plant food.
  • Vitamin C increases iron absorption. Take vitamin C rich fruit dessert and, if you take iron supplements, take them with orange juice:
  • Sources of iron in vegetarian diets: Egg is a discrete source of iron. Milk and dairy products contain very little iron. Therefore, it is recommended to enrich the dishes with nuts, dried fruit, chickpea flour, soy flour, yeast or wheat germ (to increase the iron content of the dish).
  • If you take vegetable drinks, find those enriched with calcium and vitamin B12.

Foods to avoid in anemia diet

  • Tannins (tea) and caffeine (coffee): Drink rooibos tea, decaffeinated tea or coffee, or leave at least 1 hour after meals.
  • Carbonated drinks (carbonated) drinking gas beverages sequesters iron (besides calcium, magnesium and other minerals). Do not abuse of these liquids. Choose beverages without gas.
  • Foods high in oxalates (cocoa, spinach, beets, chard, tomatoes, etc..) decrease iron absorption: Boil the vegetables and broth throwing away (part of the oxalates are going into the cooking water). Serve these dairy foods, because calcium oxalates inactive.
  • Taking too many whole foods reduces the absorption of calcium due to the phytates. Combine whole cereals with foods rich in calcium (calcium inactivates phytates).

Guideles in the diet for anemia

Tips for anemia. Print-summary of the dietary advice for anemia.


BREAKFAST– Dairy foods: They provide calcium, vitamin B12 and protein. You can substitute them by vegetable drink enriched with calcium and vitamin B12.

Muesli, breakfast cereals enriched with iron. Oats are cereal with most iron.

Fruits: Vitamin C helps your body absorb calcium.

For people who have no appetite, you can prepare a fruit shake, with yogurt and oatmeal, for example.

MID MORNINGChoose TWO of the three options:

– Yoghurt, drinking yoghurt or milk, cheese (in a sandwich, for example)

– Muesli, sandwich

– 20g. nuts (pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, coconut), 20g. dried fruit (apricots, dates, etc.). or mixture of the two.

LUNCH– Main course rich in carbohydrates: cereals (rice, pasta, etc..) Or legumes (lentils, etc..). It can be combined with green vegetables to provide doses of folic acid, also important for anemia (spinach, chard, etc..). Eg: Chickpeas with spinach.

– An animal food: omelets, egg, cheese, yogurt, etc.. The iron is in the egg yolk, so that we must eat it. Taking only a yogurt is not a sufficient intake of protein and vitamin B12.

– A raw food (vitamin C): pepper, salad, dessert or fruit salads, fruit juice.

– Dessert: fruit + dairy is perfect.

– Do not drink coffee or tea because caffeine and tannins inhibit the absorption of sugar. Wait at least 1 hour after eating.

SNACKAs mid-morning.
DINNERAs in lunch.
It is possible that vegetarian diets do not provide the recommended daily dose of iron. It is recommended to see a doctor to assess iron intake and consider whether to take iron supplements.

* Go on reading:

  1. Types of iron for anemia
  2. Food rich in iron for anemia
  3. Bad food for anemia
  4. Is it enough to eat iron-rich food to avoid anemia?
  5. Tea and coffee for anemia
  6. Beet for anemia

More information on anemia

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

17 May, 2021

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