Hemoglobin is a molecule that is found in our red blood cells that helps to transport oxygen to different tissues. Hemoglobin consists of two parts one is the heme part (iron part), and another part is the globin part (non-heme part/ protein part).  Kidneys are involved in the formation of red blood cells. That’s why CKD patients develop anemia as one of the complications

How do kidneys help in erythropoiesis?

Erythropoiesis is a process of formation of red blood cells (otherwise called erythrocytes). Erythropoietin is a hormone that helps the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Erythropoietin is produced by kidneys. CKD patients produce less amount of erythropoietin so the amount of circulating red blood cells decreases resulting in anemia.

Iron-rich foods can be divided into two groups

  1. Heme iron foods: It is easier to absorb and mostly produced by animal meat
  2. Non-heme iron foods: more difficult to absorb than heme iron and mostly by plants


Heme iron only accounts for 40-45 percent of the iron in animal meets. This non-heme type of iron makes up the remainder of the iron in meat (55-60 percent).

Kidney friendly diet for CKD patients

Animal sources are the best iron supplements. But recommending animal sources for CKD patients is critical and has other complications. Some iron-rich kidney friendly plant sources are available.

Vegetables (amount of iron shown per cup)

  1. Spinach (palak): 3.72 mg
  2. Cabbage (patta gobhi): 0.7 mg
  3. Mushroom: 0.35 mg
  4. Broccoli: 0.7 mg
  5. Sweet potato (shakarkand): 0.6 mg (boiled: 0.7 mg)
  6. Peas (matar): 2.1 mg

Fruits (amount of iron shown per cup)

Iron-rich meals can even be found in fruits. Fruits should also be included in the diet of CKD patients who are on a renal diet. Dried fruits that are high in iron are the most common. However, certain fresh fruits are still high in iron.

  1. Raisins (kishmish): 3 mg
  2. Figs (anjeer): 0.2 mg
  3. Dates (pind khajoor): 2 mg
  4. Watermelon (tarbooz): 0.4mg

Beans and legumes (amount of iron shown per 100g)

Beans and legumes are an important element of a CKD patient’s renal diet. Everyone can find something to love here since it is packed with plant-based protein, fiber, and plenty of other vitamins and minerals.

  1. Kidney beans (raajama): 3 mg
  2. Peanuts (moongphali): 2 mg
  3. Cooked chickpeas (chane): 3mg
  4. Cooked lentils (masoor ki daal): 3 mg
  5. Navy beans: 2 mg

Other iron-rich foods

  1. Coconut milk (nariyal ka doodh)
  2. Dark chocolate

Egg- source for IRON

Iron levels in eggs are unexpectedly high (as well as protein). Iron is found in 0.8 mg per big egg. You won’t get enough iron if you stick to egg whites for a low-phosphorus diet. The egg yolk stores iron as well as other minerals such as B vitamins.

How to increase the absorption of iron?


Iron absorption is improved by vitamin C. Non-heme iron is captured and stored in a form that is more easily absorbed by your body. Iron absorption was enhanced by more than 50 percent when 100 mg of vitamin C was taken with a meal. As a result, drinking citrus juice or eating other vitamin C-rich meals while eating high-iron foods might help your body absorb more iron. Iron absorption can be improved in vegetarian diets by eating vitamin C-rich foods. Also, vitamin C is a rich antioxidant.


Vitamin A-rich foods are carrot, spinach, broccoli, etc.,  are known to increase the absorption of iron

Foods that lower the absorption of iron

These are the foods to be avoided when you plan to have a high iron diet

  • Phytate containing foods like soy, nuts, and legumes
  • Calcium-rich foods like dairy products
  • Foods containing more amount of polyphenols like coffee and tea