Mineral Review

Which meat has the most hemoglobin?

Every third person on the planet faces iron deficiency. RBC Style has compiled a list of ten products that will help restore microelement levels. Iron is an important trace element needed by all living organisms. It helps synthesize collagen and serotonin, supports the functioning of the immune system and participates in metabolic processes. But the main function of iron is cellular respiration. This trace element is part of hemoglobin, the protein that makes up red blood cells. It is iron that helps blood cells bind oxygen and deliver it to tissues, and then remove waste carbon dioxide from the body. By the way, it also colors the blood red. Our body is not able to produce iron on its own. He gets it from food, so it is important that his diet be varied. There are two types of iron: heme and non-heme. The former is absorbed more efficiently. It can be found in meat, fish and seafood. The source of the second is plant foods. Here is a list of foods with the highest levels of both types of iron. Including them in the diet will help replenish microelement reserves.

Daily iron intake

Women aged 19–50 need iron the most. They need to receive at least 18 mg of microelement per day. During pregnancy, the need for it increases to 27 mg. Adolescents 14–18 years old also require increased iron levels: girls – 15 mg, boys – 11 mg. The average daily iron intake for adult men and older adults of both sexes is 8 mg. It increases significantly with intense sports, regular heavy physical activity and heavy menstruation.

Foods high in iron

  • Shellfish
  • Offal
  • Red meat
  • Spinach
  • pulse
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Kinoa
  • Broccoli
  • Tofu
  • Dark chocolate


Almost all types of shellfish are rich in iron. Thus, one hundred-gram serving of oysters contains about 3 mg of iron, which is 17% of the daily requirement. Additionally, this amount also provides 24% of the Daily Value for Vitamin C and 4% of the Daily Value for Vitamin B12. Shellfish are also low in calories, high in protein, and increase levels of “good” cholesterol, which prevents heart disease.


Liver, kidneys, brain, heart, stomachs and other offal contain large amounts of iron. Although not everyone likes their taste, by-products are often superior to meat in terms of nutritional content. For example, to get 36% of your daily iron requirement and meet your daily requirement for vitamin A, you only need to eat 100 g of beef liver. In addition, offal is a good source of protein, copper, selenium and choline, which is important for the liver.

Red meat

It is the main source of easily digestible heme iron. Moreover, the darker the meat, the more of this microelement it contains. One 2,7-gram steamed ground beef patty contains 15 mg of iron. This fulfills the daily requirement by 100%. Meat is also a source of protein, zinc, selenium and B vitamins. But poultry is not so rich in iron: in 0,7 g of turkey its content does not exceed XNUMX mg.


Such a rich set of nutrients as in spinach is rare. It contains folate, lutein, beta-carotene, calcium, vitamins A and E. In addition, 100 g of the product replenishes 15% of the daily iron requirement. It is non-heme, but is quite well absorbed due to the high concentration of vitamin C in spinach. Doctors advise boiling the leaves a little – this will help reduce the amount of oxalic acid, which interferes with the absorption of iron.

But keep in mind: 100g of fresh spinach is a big bag. It is designed for several people, and it is hardly possible to eat it at once. In addition, spinach tends to accumulate nitrates, which are often used when growing it. Buy the product from trusted farm stores or in special organic packaging. Or try growing it yourself – on the windowsill. In winter, instead of fresh spinach, you can take frozen spinach: all its beneficial properties and taste are preserved.

You can read the continuation of the article by following the link to RBC Style.

One of the most common diseases is hemoglobin deficiency. Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein found in red blood cells (erythrocytes) and is responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body.

Vera Afanasyeva
general practitioner, head of the therapeutic department of Institute of Health LLC

– When the hemoglobin level decreases, a person feels tired, weak, shortness of breath, and headache. If hemoglobin drops significantly, anemia begins. Products that increase hemoglobin often help solve the problem. Let’s figure out in what cases it is enough to adjust the diet, and when it is necessary to take more serious measures.

Most blood cells, including red blood cells, are produced in bone marrow, a spongy material found in the cavities of many large bones. Red blood cells live in the bloodstream for about 120 days.

To produce hemoglobin and red blood cells, the body needs iron, vitamin B12, folic acid and other nutrients from food.

Hemoglobin level is determined by the amount of hemoglobin in grams (g) per deciliter (dl) of whole blood, a deciliter equals 100 milliliters.

The level of hemoglobin in the body depends on the age and gender of the person. Since there are different test systems, normal values ​​may differ slightly (approximately within 0,5 g/dL).

Normal hemoglobin level

Age Reference values ​​(g/dL) Average value (g/dl)
Newborns 13,5 – 24,0 Feet 16,5
up to 1 month 10,0 – 20,0 Feet 13,9
1–2 months 10,0 – 18,0 Feet 11,2
2–6 months 9,5 – 14,0 Feet 12,6
0,5 – 2 of the year 10,5 – 13,5 Feet 12,0
2 – 6 years 11,5 – 13,5 Feet 12,5
6 – 12 years 11,5 – 15,5 Feet 13,5
Girls 12–18 years old 12,0 – 16,0 Feet 14,0
Women older than 18 years 12,1 – 15,1 Feet 14,0
Boys 12–18 years old 13,0 – 16,0 Feet 14,5
Men older than 18 years 13,6 – 17,7 Feet 15,5

Types of anemia and their causes

There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long-lasting and range from mild to severe.

  1. Железодефицитная анемия – the most common, caused by iron deficiency in the body, without which the bone marrow cannot produce the required amount of hemoglobin for red blood cells. Iron deficiency anemia can be caused by blood loss, for example, due to heavy menstrual bleeding, stomach or small intestinal ulcers, or colon cancer. Iron deficiency anemia can also occur due to regular use of certain painkillers, such as aspirin. Aspirin provokes inflammation of the gastric mucosa, which leads to blood loss. It is very important to determine the true cause of iron deficiency in order to prevent anemia.
  2. Folate deficiency anemia – caused by a lack of folic acid (vitamin B9), often accompanies iron deficiency and B12 deficiency anemia. Vitamin B9 is synthesized by intestinal microflora and also enters the body as part of folate contained in plant foods.
  3. Avitaminosis (pernicious, B12-deficiency) anemia – an autoimmune disease in which vitamin B12 is not absorbed. To produce enough healthy red blood cells, the body needs folic acid and vitamin B12 in addition to iron.
  4. Aplastic anemia – rare and life-threatening. Occurs when bone marrow stem cells do not produce enough red blood cells. Aplastic anemia is caused by infections, certain medications (such as antiretrovirals), autoimmune diseases, and exposure to toxic chemicals.
  5. Hemolytic anemia – develops when red blood cells are destroyed faster than the bone marrow can replace them. Some blood diseases increase the destruction of red blood cells. Hemolytic anemia can be hereditary or develop during life.
  6. sickle cell anemia – a hereditary form of anemia, sometimes a type of hemolytic anemia. Caused by defective hemoglobin, which causes red blood cells to take an unusual crescent (sickle) shape. These blood cells die prematurely, leading to a chronic shortage of red blood cells.

Who is at risk?

People with the following conditions should be especially careful and check their hemoglobin levels regularly.

Anemia can be caused by:

  • Immune and inflammatory diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis: interfere with the production of red blood cells.
  • Bone marrow diseases – leukemia, myelofibrosis, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndrome: affect the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow.
  • Intestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease: interfere with the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine.
  • Chronic kidney disease: disrupts the production of red blood cells because the kidneys produce a hormone that signals the bone marrow to produce new red blood cells.
  • Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly): The spleen filters red blood cells as they move through the body—trapping and destroying damaged or dying red blood cells. An enlarged spleen retains more red blood cells than necessary, ending the life of these cells prematurely.
  • Thalassemia: a blood disorder that affects the body’s ability to produce hemoglobin and red blood cells.
  • Chemotherapy: Can affect bone marrow cells, reducing the number of red blood cells it produces.

But completely healthy people can also be at risk.

Factors that can also trigger the development of anemia:

  • Diet low in iron, vitamin B12, folic acid and copper.
  • Menstruation. To replace the hemoglobin lost during menstruation, women require approximately twice as much iron as men, as well as women after menopause.
  • Pregnancy. Failure to take multivitamins with folic acid and iron increases the risk of developing iron deficiency and folate deficiency anemia.
  • Alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption can affect the production of red blood cells.
  • Age. People over 65 years of age are at increased risk of developing anemia.

Symptoms of low hemoglobin

Low hemoglobin is indicated by: fatigue, weakness, pale or yellowish skin, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, cold hands and feet, headaches.

At first, the anemia may be so mild that it is difficult to notice. But as it worsens, the symptoms get worse.

How to treat low hemoglobin

Treatments for anemia depend on the cause and range from dietary supplements to medical procedures.

If the diagnosis reveals iron deficiency or folate deficiency anemia, the doctor will recommend diversifying the diet with foods rich in iron, folic acid and vitamin B12, and will also prescribe appropriate dietary supplements.

If the root cause lies in a serious illness, then it must be treated.

What does prolonged anemia lead to?

If anemia is started, the following health problems may begin:

  1. Extreme fatigue. Severe anemia can cause you to be so tired that you can’t perform everyday tasks.
  2. Complications during pregnancy. Folate deficiency anemia is especially dangerous for pregnant women, as it can cause malformations of the fetal nervous system, and also increases the risk of placental abruption and premature birth.
  3. Heart problems. Anemia can lead to arrhythmia (fast or irregular heartbeat). With anemia, the heart pumps more blood to make up for the lack of oxygen in the blood. This can lead to heart enlargement or heart failure.
  4. Death. Some inherited anemias, such as sickle cell anemia, can lead to life-threatening complications. Losing large amounts of blood quickly leads to acute, severe anemia and even death. For older people, anemia can be deadly.

What can cause high hemoglobin levels?

A high level of hemoglobin leads to an increased concentration of red blood cells, which makes the blood more viscous and dense. This can lead to high blood pressure, thrombosis, embolism (the presence of “wandering” blood clots in the bloodstream that are not attached by a stem to the wall of the vessel), myocardial infarction and stroke.

“With increased hemoglobin, the blood supply to organs and tissues deteriorates, as with decreased hemoglobin,” adds Vera Afanasyeva.

Hemoglobin levels become too high when the body requires an increased ability to carry oxygen. In healthy people, as a rule, the causes of increased hemoglobin can be the following:

– High concentration of carbon dioxide in the air (smokers and residents of megacities are at risk).

– Living at high altitude – to compensate for the lack of oxygen supply, the production of red blood cells naturally increases.

  • Fluid deficiency in the body: can occur during drying, strict diet, dehydration.
  • Active sports: Intense cardio and sports such as athletics require more oxygen, which means the body begins to produce more hemoglobin.

Also, hemoglobin may increase due to problems with the heart and lungs – if they cannot cope, then the production of red blood cells increases to maintain the required amount of oxygen in the body.

In addition to the above reasons, high hemoglobin levels can be caused by diseases such as congenital heart disease, exacerbation of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), dehydration, emphysema, kidney cancer, liver cancer, polycythemia vera.

How to increase hemoglobin

Eating a balanced diet focusing on important nutrients is the best way to maintain healthy red blood cells and hemoglobin.

The diet must include red meat, liver, fish, leafy vegetables (cabbage, spinach), lentils, beans, peas, nuts and dried berries.

Unfortunately, with the help of a properly selected diet, you can only get rid of iron deficiency and folate deficiency anemia. A diet for low hemoglobin should include foods containing iron, vitamins B9 and B12, as well as vitamins and minerals that promote iron absorption.

Hardware – found in beef and other meats, liver, eggs, beans, lentils, iron-fortified cereals, dark green leafy vegetables (cabbage, spinach) and dried fruits. (Top list of foods high in iron).

Vitamin V12 – found in meat, dairy products, as well as fortified grains and soy products. (Top list of foods high in vitamin B12).

Folic acid (vitamin B9) – found in bell peppers, bananas, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dark green leafy vegetables, green peas, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, asparagus and fortified grain products such as breads, cereals, pasta and rice .

Green coriander (cilantro)

Green peas, fresh

Copper and vitamin C promote iron absorption.

There is a lot of copper in beef liver, seafood (shrimp, crabs), it is also found in seeds, nuts, mushrooms, and chocolate.

Vitamin C – oranges, lemons, grapefruits, bell peppers, kiwis, tomatoes, broccoli, melon and strawberries are rich in it.

If you have low hemoglobin levels, it is better to limit your intake of foods containing polyphenols, tannins, phytates, oxalic acid, such as tea, coffee, cocoa, soy products and bran, emphasizes Vera Afanasyeva. – They interfere with the absorption of iron.

You should be careful with foods rich in calcium and calcium supplements – they also hinder the absorption of iron.

People who, for one reason or another, do not eat animal products, with low hemoglobin, should pay special attention to the following fruits and vegetables:

  1. Beetroot – one of the best products to increase hemoglobin levels. It has a high content of not only iron (1,7 mg/100 g), but also folic acid, as well as potassium and fiber.
  2. Garnet – a rich source of iron (1 mg/100 g), calcium, as well as protein, carbohydrates and fiber. It is one of the best foods to increase hemoglobin levels due to its exceptional nutritional value.
  3. dates – are an excellent source of iron (1,5 mg/100 g). But they are contraindicated for people with diabetes due to their high sugar content.
  4. pulse – lentils (11,8 mg/100 g), peas (6,8 mg/100 g) and beans (5,9 mg/100 g) – increase hemoglobin levels, as they have a high content of iron and folic acid.
  5. Peanut – also rich in iron (5 mg/100 g) and folic acid.
  6. Pumpkin seeds – contain iron (8–9 mg/100 g) along with sufficient amounts of calcium, magnesium and manganese.
  7. Watermelon – helps increase hemoglobin levels due to its iron content (1 mg/100 g) and vitamin C.

Monitor your hemoglobin levels, eat right, and get regular medical checkups, especially if you notice that you are often very tired. Of course, fatigue can have many causes besides anemia, but when it comes to health, it’s better to be on the safe side and get checked again.

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