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How does your body use iron in food?

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When you eat food with iron, iron is absorbed into your body mainly through the upper part of your small intestine.

There are two forms of dietary iron: heme and nonheme. Heme iron is derived from hemoglobin. It is found in animal-based foods that originally contained hemoglobin, such as red meats, fish, and poultry (meat, poultry, and seafood contain both heme and non-heme iron). Your body absorbs the most iron from heme sources. Most nonheme iron comes from plant-based sources.

From: Iron-Rich Foods WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: "Iron deficiency anemia."

MedlinePlus: "Iron deficiency anemia."

The University of Chicago Medical Center: "Iron Deficiency Anemia."

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: "Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Iron."

University of Colorado, Denver: "Here’s how to increase iron in your diet!"

Womenshealth.gov: "Anemia."

Northwestern University: "Nutrition Fact Sheet: Iron."

Reviewed by Christine Mikstas on November 26, 2018

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: "Iron deficiency anemia."

MedlinePlus: "Iron deficiency anemia."

The University of Chicago Medical Center: "Iron Deficiency Anemia."

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: "Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Iron."

University of Colorado, Denver: "Here’s how to increase iron in your diet!"

Womenshealth.gov: "Anemia."

Northwestern University: "Nutrition Fact Sheet: Iron."

Reviewed by Christine Mikstas on November 26, 2018

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What are the best sources of heme iron?

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