Boost Your Iron With This Thanksgiving Meal Plan

Editor’s Note: This article is for informational purposes only. You should not use it to replace any professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any health issues. Any questions about your blood health should be directed toward a physician, hematologist, or other licensed healthcare professional.

After all, nobody wants to feel fatigued when they start holiday shopping. Here’s what to put on your plate. 

We’re sure you already have a list of all the foods you’re going to eat on Thanksgiving Day—perhaps your aunt’s famous potato casserole or that pecan pie that’s only made once a year. And while we want you to have and enjoy all of that, we want to make sure you don’t neglect your iron intake on this day either. 

With this iron-boosting Thanksgiving meal plan, you can stock up on all the sides you want while still ensuring you get all the micronutrients you need to stay energized for Black Friday shopping (no matter if you dare to do it in person or on your computer from the comfort of your home). 

1. Call dibs on the turkey’s dark meat

When it comes to Thanksgiving’s main event, otherwise known as the turkey, anemics or anyone else low on iron should get their hands on a leg or wing. That’s because a 3.5-ounce piece of dark turkey meat has 1.43 milligrams of iron, compared to only 0.71 milligrams in the same amount of white turkey meat

2. Pass the potatoes, please 

No matter what form they come in, potatoes are a great source of iron and Vitamin C (which helps improve iron absorption). 

Russet potatoes, however, take the cake with 3.2 milligrams of iron per spud and are chock full of other iron-boosting nutrients like folate, Vitamin C, and niacin. 

Go ahead and have the sweet potato casserole, but know that sweet potatoes contain less than 1 milligram of iron per potato and don’t have as much Vitamin C as their russet counterparts. 

3. Load up on spinach 

You need some greens on your plates anyway, it can’t all be sides and desserts, so why not make it Popeye’s favorite vegetable: spinach! A 100-gram serving of spinach, which is about the size of your palm, will give you 2.71 milligrams of iron, and 28.1 milligrams of Vitamin C. 

4. A note for vegetarians 

Those who live a plant-based lifestyle, or people who just prefer not to eat meat, have options on Thanksgiving as well. 

There are some plant-based “turkey” roasts that have a respectable amount of iron per serving. If you’re daring enough to make your own vegan turkey, you’ll be happy to know that 100 grams of vital wheat gluten (the stuff people use to make imitation meats) has 5.2 milligrams of iron. 

If you’re not going to eat turkey or any other animal-based products, it’s important to make sure you get enough Vitamin C on your plate (through potatoes, spinach, or other vegetables) to help with iron absorption. 

5. Enjoy your dessert

Go ahead and reach for a second helping of pie or an extra cookie. In fact, some studies have suggested that sugar can actually help with iron absorption. 

We’re Thankful for You This Thanksgiving 

From everyone at Sanguina, we wanted to thank you for your support throughout this year! We have a lot to be thankful for—100,000 users, we’re closing in on half a million tests done through our app, and the launch of our premium subscription. 

Join the AnemoCheck family by clicking here to download the app via the iOS or Android app stores.

REFERENCES

Li N, Zhao G, Wu W, et al. The Efficacy and Safety of Vitamin C for Iron Supplementation in Adult Patients With Iron Deficiency Anemia: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(11):e2023644. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.23644

Christides T, Sharp P. Sugars increase non-heme iron bioavailability in human epithelial intestinal and liver cells. PLoS One. 2013;8(12):e83031. Published 2013 Dec 10. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083031

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