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Iron Deficiency and Foods to Combat It


Dr. Michael Fenster, MD.


health, fitness, and beauty

Michael S. Fenster, MD, better known as Chef Dr. Mike, is one of a handful of physicians worldwide to hold both culinary and medical degrees. He is the only Interventional Cardiologist, Professional Chef, and Professor of Culinary Medicine (at The University of Montana, USA) to do so.

The symptoms of iron deficiency, and many other mineral deficiencies, can be frustratingly vague and non-specific. If you have these symptoms and they are persistent, check in with your local health provider. The testing is as simple, in most cases, as a blood test. 


The 10 most common symptoms are (in no particular order):

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Generalized Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Chest Pain (with or without a fast heartbeat)
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Headache, Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Tongue Inflammation and Soreness
  • Brittle nails
  • Decreased Appetite


Severe iron deficiency may need to be treated with supplementation. Dietary sources of foods rich in iron include:

  • Red meats (Beef, Lamb, Bison, etc.)
  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Legumes such as Beans and Peas
  • Dark Green Leafy Vegetables, such as spinach


Since we often consume specific foods as part of a meal, combining the above with the following food helps increase iron absorption, as the foods listed below are good sources of vitamin C:

  • Cruciferous vegetables like Broccoli
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwi
  • Leafy greens
  • Melons
  • Oranges
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines
  • Tomatoes

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