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How to Prevent Anemia

What is anemia?

Anemia is when you don't have enough healthy red blood cells in your blood. These cells carry a special substance called hemoglobin that needs iron to work. Hemoglobin helps take oxygen from your lungs to all parts of your body. When you have anemia, your body doesn't have enough red blood cells to do this job properly, so you don't get enough oxygen.


What is iron and why is it important?

Iron is an important mineral that our bodies need to grow and develop properly.


How can low iron levels affect me?

  • Upset stomach.
  • Lack of energy (feeling tired and not having enough strength).
  • Trouble concentrating and remembering things.
  • Getting sick more easily (your body has a harder time fighting germs).
  • Trouble controlling your body temperature.
  • Children may have trouble learning.
  • Pregnant people might have babies born too soon or too small.


Where can I find iron?

  • Red meat like beef, lamb, and pork
  • Poultry like chicken and turkey
  • Fish and seafood
  • Legumes like beans, lentils, and chickpeas
  • Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale
  • Fortified cereals and bread (some breakfast cereals and bread have extra iron added)
  • Nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds and cashews

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is like iron's good friend because it helps iron get absorbed more easily.

Ideas to combine them in one meal:

  • Drink a small glass of orange juice with your breakfast cereal.
  • Cook your beans with some tomatoes.
  • Add salsa to your taco.
  • Give your baby some fruit along with cereal.

Vitamin C-rich foods:

  • Vegetables: potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bell peppers.
  • Fruits: oranges, cantaloupes, mangoes, papayas, grapefruits, strawberries.
  • Juices: orange, grapefruit, tomato, lemon, lime, and any 100% vitamin C juices.


  1. Iron. WIC Works Resource System. Accessed November 18, 2023. https://wicworks.fns.usda.gov/resources/iron.
  2. Iron. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements. Accessed November 18, 2023. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-Consumer/.

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