5 Beneficial Beverages for Anemia

by Ella

Anemia is a condition characterized by a deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin, resulting in fatigue, weakness, and a variety of other symptoms. While dietary adjustments, particularly regarding solid foods, are often emphasized, the choice of beverages also plays a significant role in managing anemia. This article delves into what to drink when anemic, providing a comprehensive guide to beverages that can aid in improving iron levels and overall health, as well as those that should be avoided or consumed in moderation.

Understanding Anemia

Anemia occurs when the body lacks sufficient red blood cells or hemoglobin, which are necessary for carrying oxygen to the tissues. The most common type is iron-deficiency anemia, but other forms include vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, folate deficiency anemia, and anemia due to chronic diseases or genetic conditions. Proper hydration and the right choice of beverages can support the management of anemia by improving iron absorption and providing essential nutrients.


The Role of Beverages in Managing Anemia

Beverages can influence iron absorption and overall nutrition in several ways. Some drinks are rich in vitamins and minerals that enhance iron absorption, while others can inhibit it. Knowing which beverages to include in your diet can significantly impact anemia management.


Beneficial Beverages for Anemia

1. Iron-Rich Drinks

While most iron is obtained from food, certain beverages can also contribute to your iron intake. Iron-fortified drinks and some plant-based beverages contain non-heme iron, which can be a helpful addition to your diet.


Iron-Fortified Drinks:

Fortified Juices: Some fruit juices are fortified with iron and can be a good source of non-heme iron. Look for labels indicating iron fortification.


Fortified Plant-Based Milks: Soy milk, almond milk, and other plant-based milks are often fortified with iron, making them a suitable choice for those needing to boost their iron intake.

2. Vitamin C-Rich Beverages

Vitamin C enhances the absorption of non-heme iron from plant-based foods and fortified beverages. Including vitamin C-rich drinks with meals can help improve iron absorption.

Sources of Vitamin C:

Citrus Juices: Orange juice, grapefruit juice, and lemonade are excellent sources of vitamin C.

Berry Juices: Strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry juices are high in vitamin C.

Tropical Juices: Pineapple, mango, and papaya juices are rich in vitamin C and can help with iron absorption.

3. Herbal Teas

Certain herbal teas can support iron absorption and provide other health benefits. However, it’s important to choose teas that do not contain tannins, which can inhibit iron absorption.

Beneficial Herbal Teas:

Rooibos Tea: This South African tea is free from tannins and rich in antioxidants.

Nettle Tea: Known for its high iron content and other beneficial nutrients.

Ginger Tea: Ginger can help improve digestion and is free from iron-inhibiting compounds.

Dandelion Tea: Rich in vitamins and minerals, dandelion tea can be a good choice for anemic individuals.

4. Smoothies

Smoothies can be an excellent way to combine iron-rich and vitamin C-rich ingredients, making them a powerful tool for managing anemia.

Iron-Rich and Vitamin C-Rich Smoothies:

Spinach and Strawberry Smoothie: Blend fresh spinach (a good source of non-heme iron) with strawberries and orange juice (both high in vitamin C).

Kale and Pineapple Smoothie: Combine kale with pineapple and a splash of fortified plant-based milk.

Beet and Citrus Smoothie: Blend cooked beets (rich in folate) with oranges or lemon juice to enhance iron absorption.

5. Hydration and Anemia

Staying hydrated is crucial for overall health and well-being, particularly for individuals with anemia. Dehydration can exacerbate symptoms such as fatigue and dizziness. Water is the best choice for maintaining hydration, but other hydrating beverages can also be beneficial.

Hydrating Beverages:

Water: Essential for all bodily functions and should be the primary source of hydration.

Electrolyte Solutions: Useful in cases of severe dehydration or electrolyte imbalance.

Coconut Water: A natural source of electrolytes and a hydrating option.

Beverages to Avoid or Limit

Certain beverages can inhibit iron absorption or exacerbate anemia symptoms and should be consumed in moderation or avoided altogether.

1. Tea and Coffee

Tea and coffee contain polyphenols and tannins, which can significantly inhibit the absorption of non-heme iron. It’s best to avoid drinking these beverages with meals or iron supplements.

Managing Tea and Coffee Consumption:

Drink tea and coffee between meals rather than during or immediately after meals.

Opt for herbal teas that do not contain tannins as an alternative to traditional black or green tea.

2. Milk and Dairy Products

While dairy products are nutritious, they contain calcium, which can interfere with iron absorption. It’s advisable to separate dairy consumption from iron-rich meals.

Managing Dairy Consumption:

Drink milk or consume dairy products at least an hour before or after iron-rich meals.

Consider using fortified plant-based milks with added iron instead of regular dairy milk.

3. Certain Herbal Teas

Not all herbal teas are beneficial for anemia. Some, like chamomile and peppermint, contain compounds that can inhibit iron absorption.

Herbal Teas to Limit:

Chamomile Tea: Contains tannins that can inhibit iron absorption.

Peppermint Tea: Although soothing, it can interfere with iron absorption when consumed in large amounts.

Creating a Beverage Plan for Anemia

Developing a beverage plan tailored to your needs can help manage anemia more effectively. Here are some guidelines and sample beverage plans:

1. Morning Routine

Start Your Day with Vitamin C: A glass of orange juice or a smoothie with vitamin C-rich fruits can enhance iron absorption from breakfast foods.

Mid-Morning Hydration: Opt for a cup of rooibos or nettle tea to stay hydrated and get additional nutrients without inhibiting iron absorption.

2. Lunch Routine

Iron-Rich Beverage: Drink a glass of fortified plant-based milk or an iron-fortified juice with your lunch.

Hydration: Water should be the primary drink during lunch to ensure proper hydration.

3. Afternoon Routine

Smoothie Time: A mid-afternoon smoothie with spinach, berries, and fortified plant-based milk can boost iron and vitamin C intake.

Herbal Tea: A cup of ginger or dandelion tea can provide a gentle energy boost and additional nutrients.

4. Evening Routine

Light Dinner Beverage: Pair your dinner with a small glass of citrus juice to enhance iron absorption from your meal.

Hydration Before Bed: Drink a glass of water or a mild herbal tea like rooibos to stay hydrated overnight.

Sample Daily Beverage Plan


A glass of fortified orange juice.

Spinach and strawberry smoothie.

Mid-Morning Snack:

A cup of nettle tea.

A small glass of water.


A glass of fortified almond milk.

A serving of water.

Afternoon Snack:

Kale and pineapple smoothie.

A cup of dandelion tea.


A small glass of lemon water.

Water with the meal.

Evening Snack:

A cup of rooibos tea.

Water before bed.

Supplements and Liquid Formulations

For some individuals, dietary changes alone might not be sufficient to manage anemia. In such cases, liquid iron supplements and other liquid formulations can be beneficial.

Liquid Iron Supplements:

Often recommended for individuals who have difficulty absorbing iron from solid foods or pills.

Should be taken with a source of vitamin C to enhance absorption and reduce gastrointestinal side effects.

Liquid B12 and Folate Supplements:

Useful for individuals with deficiencies in these vitamins.

Ensure to follow the recommended dosage as prescribed by a healthcare provider.

See Also: Anemia: What to Eat & What to Avoid


Managing anemia involves a comprehensive approach that includes the right choice of beverages. Consuming iron-rich drinks, enhancing iron absorption with vitamin C-rich beverages, and staying hydrated can significantly improve anemia symptoms and overall health. Avoiding beverages that inhibit iron absorption, such as tea, coffee, and high-calcium drinks, is equally important. By carefully selecting what to drink and when, individuals with anemia can better manage their condition and enhance their quality of life. Always consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice and treatment options.



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