Q. What can I give my 2 year old as far as fruits and vegetables because he has anemia? I’m trying to build his red blood cells up.
A. Anemia is a result of low iron in the body. There are two types of iron sources to consider from food: heme and non-heme. Heme is easily absorbed and is found in animal meats with higher concentrations being in red meats. Non-heme comes from plant sources and supplements, also a good source of iron, but the absorption rate is less. Therefore, while vegetables do contain iron, combining them with a high protein iron source will help your body absorb the iron more readily. Absorption of non-heme iron is also increased with the presence of vitamin C. One recommended strategy is to consume vitamin C rich foods with any meal that combines iron-rich plant foods. Commonly eaten combinations, such as beans and tomato sauce or spinach and strawberries results in generous levels of iron absorption. Try some of these easy recipes that combine vitamin C and iron: Pork Chops w/ Mandarin Orange Salsa, Rubies & Greens, Corn & Black Bean Salad.