Dietary Sources of Iron to Increase Red Blood Cell Count


My red blood cell (HB) count is consistently hovering at the minimally acceptable level to receive treatment – thank you, body, for the small mercy!

My oncologist has had me on Chelafer supplements for the past few months.  There’s mostly little else one can do for blood counts while on chemotherapy except to make dietary adjustments.  Here’s the list* that was recommended to me by the nursing sister (plus egg yolks & beetroot; I don’t know why those aren’t on the list below).

Food                                            Approximate Measure        Iron (mg)
High Iron Sources
Cream of Wheat (quick or instant)            half a cup                  7.8
Kidney, beef                                                 60g (2 oz)                 5.3
Liver, beef                                                    60g (2 oz)                 5.8
Liver, calf                                                      60g (2 oz)                 9.0
Liver, chicken                                               60g (2 oz)                 6.0
Liverwurst                                                     60g (2 oz)                 3.6
Prune juice                                                   half a cup                  5.1
Spinach                                                        half a cup                  3.2

Moderate Iron Sources
All-Bran cereal                                             half a cup                  2.9
Almonds, dried unblanched                        half a cup                  3.0
Dried beans and peas
baked beans, no pork                                 quarter cup               1.5
blackeye peas, cooked                               quarter cup               0.8
chickpeas, dry                                              quarter cup               3.5
great northern beans, cooked                    quarter cup               1.3
green peas, cooked                                    quarter cup               1.4
lentils, dry                                                      quarter cup               3.4
lima beans, cooked                                     quarter cup               1.3
navy beans, cooked                                     quarter cup               1.3
red beans, dry                                               quarter cup               3.5
soybeans, cooked                                        quarter cup               1.4
white beans, dry                                            quarter cup               3.9
Beef, cooked                                                 60g (2 oz)                 2 – 3
Ham, cooked                                                 60g (2 oz)                 1.3

*Always consult your doctor first.  Every patient’s needs differ from the next.



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