Although most Americans don’t have any difficulty ingesting enough amounts of iron, some populations are at higher risk of inadequate intake. As a result, they may have iron deficiency or suffer from anemia.
One of the many ways to boost your iron intake naturally is by drinking iron-rich fruit juices. Fruit juices like prune, mulberry, and tomato can be good sources of non-heme iron.
|Juice (Serving Size)||Non-Heme Iron(mg)|
|Prune (1 cup)||6mg|
|Mulberry (1 cup)||2mg|
|Tomato (1 cup)||1mg|
|Passion Fruit (1 cup)||.89mg|
|Pineapple (1 cup)||.8mg|
|Grape (1 cup)||.6mg|
|Apple (1 cup)||.3mg|
As non-heme iron is not absorbed as efficiently as heme iron, it has been suggested that people following a plant-based diet may require iron supplementation or take in as much as 80% more iron than their meat-eating counterparts.
Women, particularly during pregnancy, and those who strictly adhere to a plant-based diet are among those at risk of iron deficiency. For those that struggle with insufficient iron consumption, fruits and vegetables may offer a surprising source of iron that can easily be added to your diet.
In this article, we will evaluate several fruit juices high in iron and if it is viable to get a significant portion of your iron from fruit juices.
What Is Iron & Why Is It So Important?
Iron is a vital nutrient as it helps with the transportation of oxygen throughout our bodies. Without this function, our bodies would not be able to function effectively. Additionally, iron helps keep our cells, hair, skin, and nails healthy. A low level of iron may lead to anemia, fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, pale skin, and brittle nails, among other symptoms.
Iron needs will vary based on age and gender, with infants and toddlers often requiring higher amounts than adults due to their rapid growth. Women aged 19-50 have higher needs than men due to blood loss from menstruation. This is why they are more likely to have an iron deficiency, as they need 18 mg of iron daily. In comparison, men and post-menopausal women need only 8 mg per day.
There are two main types of iron: heme and non-heme. Heme iron is more readily absorbed within the body. It is found primarily in animal products, including meat, poultry, and seafood,
Non-heme iron, found in plant-based products, is not absorbed as efficiently. As a result, it has been suggested that people following a plant-based diet may require iron supplementation. However, a recent study identified a low prevalence of iron deficiency anemia in children consuming a plant-based diet. This study shows that fruits and veggies may, in fact, provide the necessary sources of iron.
While most commonly known for its benefit in remedying constipation, prune juice is also a fantastic source of iron. One cup provides 6 mg of non-heme iron, which is 75% of the RDI for men and post-menopausal women! This makes them an excellent addition to the diet of those who want to boost their iron consumption naturally.
Prunes also contain significant amounts of other important macro-and micronutrients, including fiber, potassium, vitamins K and A, and several B vitamins. As an added benefit, a recent study suggested that ingestion of prunes is associated with reduced blood pressure and improved bone health.
Have we given you enough reasons to incorporate prune juice into your diet yet? We hope so!
Second to prunes, 1 cup of mulberry juice contains 2 mg of iron. Compared to other fruits, mulberries have significantly lower calories and carbohydrates since they are 88% water. This makes them a great choice if weight loss is also a consideration. Mulberries are rich in various micronutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, Potassium, and vitamin E. Their high vitamin C content is a bonus as vitamin C plays a critical role in iron absorption and cellular iron uptake.
One cup of tomato juice contains about 1 mg of iron, as well as an array of other vitamins and minerals, so this is quite an iron-rich juice.
Tomato juice is rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. It also contains vitamins A, C, and K and several B vitamins. Additionally, one cup of tomato juice provides nearly all of your daily vitamin C needs, further enhancing the absorptive capacity of iron.
The antioxidant activity offers further nutritional boost by preventing free radical damage and, as a result, preventing many chronic diseases. Aside from that, tomato juice is naturally low in sugar compared to other juice products.
Passion Fruit Juice
Passion fruit juice is not only delicious but an incredibly healthy iron-rich juice. In fact, it has recently been gaining popularity as a result of its high antioxidant content. It has a high iron content at 0.89 mg per 1 cup. Like the other juices, it is also rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, and magnesium. Because of this, passion fruit juice can help prevent anemia resulting from low iron and keep blood cells healthy.
Pineapple juice offers various health benefits, including improved digestion, enhanced heart health, and reduced inflammation. Additionally, it provides a rich source of iron, containing 0.8 mg in 1 cup of juice. Similar to the other juices mentioned, its high vitamin C content helps with the absorption of iron. Pineapple juice is also rich in a variety of other nutrients, including manganese, copper, and vitamin B6.
Grape juice provides 0.6 mg of iron per one cup. Additionally, it contains a variety of other micronutrients, including antioxidants. It has been suggested that grape juice may offer similar nutritional and health benefits as wine.
Apple juice is a moderate source of potassium in addition to iron, offering 0.3 mg per 1 cup. The juice is rich in antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals and available in cloudy (pulp) and clear (pulp-free) varieties. Cloudy apple juice offers significantly higher amounts of antioxidants than pulp-free products, although its nutritional content is otherwise similar. Although apple juice is naturally low in vitamin C, most commercial varieties do have vitamin C added, which improves the absorption of iron.
Are Juices A Healthy Way Of Getting Iron?
Although most of the sugar in juice is natural, store-bought products do contain quite a bit of added sugar. Because juice products can contribute significantly to your overall sugar consumption, it is imperative to pay attention to what you are drinking.
When purchasing juice from the store, be sure to look for 100% authentic fruit juice products rather than “fruit cocktail” or “fruit beverage” products. Excess consumption of these artificial fruit juices can unknowingly contribute to weight creep. We recommend limiting juice consumption to 1 or 2 cups per day.
Of course, making your own juice at home is the best way to ensure that it is rich in nutrients without packing all of that sugar. For those that are pinched for time, you can follow an easy recipe online.
If you’re making homemade juices, it might be a good idea to try making other iron-rich juices from other fruits and vegetables. Fruits aren’t the only things you can juice, you can find iron in all sorts of food. Leafy greens like Spinach and Kale are also good sources of iron and can be a part of your diet as a juice or smoothie.
For those with persistent iron deficiency, we recommend following closely with your doctor or Registered Dietitian to determine the underlying cause and best course of treatment. People with diabetes should consult with their doctor before adding these juices to their diet as it will likely increase overall sugar consumption and blood sugar as a result.
The Bottom Line
Fruit juices can offer various nutritional benefits, including being a natural source of iron, thereby helping in preventing anemia. These can keep you healthy and even give you other benefits like weight loss. Although, make sure not to drink it in excess since its sugar content could become a health risk.
Do you have your favorite juice? Let us know!