20 Iron-Rich Foods That Are Good For You

20 Iron-Rich Foods That Are Good For You

Iron is an important nutrient (which means we must get it from food) and a very important mineral that our bodies need to function properly. It plays an important role in many crucial body processes. Iron may be a part of hemoglobin – a protein in red blood cells, which enables the cells to hold oxygen from the lungs to all other organs, tissues, and cells and helps our muscles store and use oxygen. Iron is additionally needed to form many other proteins and enzymes.

To function properly, our bodies need the precisely right amount of iron.  An excessive amount of iron in our bodies can lead to iron poisoning, therefore taking iron supplements are often a risky business.  Insufficient iron, on the opposite hand, may cause iron deficiency anemia – the foremost common form of anemia.

Iron deficiency anemia may be a condition in which the blood has insufficient amounts of healthy red blood cells due to too little iron. As a result, the body can’t produce sufficient amounts of hemoglobin therefore the oxygen can’t get carried throughout the body properly. This might result in fatigue, weakness, and irritability.

While only 3% of men have iron deficiency, women, especially menstruating and pregnant women, also as young children are at a particularly high risk of iron deficiency. Studies have shown that 20% of women and a staggering 50% of pregnant women do not have enough iron in their bodies.  The foremost common causes of iron deficiency include blood loss, poor diet, and inability to soak up enough iron from food.

In many cases, iron deficiency is often treated by simply consuming plenty of iron-rich foods. The Daily Value (DV) of iron is 18mg. However, the quantity varies depending on gender and life stage. Men and post-menopausal women, for instance only require 8 mg of iron per day. On the opposite hand, menstruating women need 18 mg each day and pregnant women should intake approximately 27 mg of iron a day.  The quantity of iron the body absorbs is partially based on the amount of iron you have stored. We must ensure to replace the amount of iron we lose daily. Fortunately, there are many iron-rich vegetables, even iron-rich fruits, and other healthy foods that contain quite enough iron to meet your daily iron needs.

Top 20 Iron-rich Foods

There are two sorts of dietary iron–heme and nonheme. Heme iron springs from hemoglobin and can be found in animal foods, which originally contain hemoglobin. Our bodies can absorb more iron from heme iron food sources, however, these foods should be consumed carefully.

Nonheme iron, on the opposite hand, is found in plant sources.  It’s added to iron-enriched foods. Our bodies are less effective at absorbing nonheme iron, yet nonheme iron encompasses most of our dietary iron. Moreover, plant iron food sources are considered healthier and may be consumed in larger amounts.

Heme Iron-rich Foods

Liver and Other Organ Meats

Organ meats, including liver, kidneys, heart, and brain are extremely high in iron. Research has shown that a 3.5-ounce or 100-gram serving of beef liver contains 6.5 mg of iron, which is 36% of the Daily Value.

Organ meats also are high in protein, vitamin B, copper, selenium, and choline – a nutrient that's vital for proper brain and liver function. The liver is additionally incredibly high in vitamin A.

However, organ meats aren't appropriate iron-rich foods for pregnancy and should be avoided during all three trimesters.


Shellfish are a number of the most effective iron-rich foods for anemia. All types of shellfish are high in iron, especially oysters, clams, and mussels. A 3.5-ounce or 100-gram serving of clams, for instance, contains up to 3mg of iron, which is 17% of the DV, however, the quantity of iron in clams may vary.

Shellfish are very nutritious overall.  They’re packed with protein, vitamin C, and large amounts of vitamin B12. Additionally, shellfish are shown to increase the level of the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol in your blood.

While certain sorts of shellfish and fish may contain large amounts of mercury and other toxins, consistent with a 2012 study, the advantages of eating seafood outweigh the risks considerably.

Raw shellfish, however, could also be contaminated with bacteria and parasites, as such, they ought to not be consumed during pregnancy.

Red Meat

Red meat is an excellent source of iron in the food and probably the most accessible source of dietary heme iron. A 3.5-ounce or 100-gram serving of hamburger, for instance, contains 2.7 mg of iron and covers 15% of the DV.

A 1992 study examining iron status in exercising women has found that ladies who consume meat seem to absorb iron better than those who took iron supplements instead. Red meat is also rich in high-quality protein, selenium, zinc, and various B vitamins.


Most fish, especially tuna, sardines, mackerel, haddock, perch, and salmon, are considered healthy, very nutritious, and filled with iron. A 3.5-ounce or 100-gram serving of canned tuna, for instance, contains approximately 1.6 mg of iron, which is simply over 11% of the DV.

20 Iron-Rich Foods That Are Good For You

Fish also are packed with omega-3 fatty acids,  which supply countless other health benefits, including promoting brain health, strengthening the system, and supporting healthy growth and development. Additionally, they're rich in selenium, niacin, vitamin B12, and other essential nutrients.


Poultry, especially turkey and dark turkey meat may be a great source of iron. A 3.5-ounce or 100-gram serving of dark turkey meat contains 1.4 mg of iron, which is 8% of the DV. The identical amount of white turkey meat, on the opposite hand, contains only 0.7 mg (4% of the DV).

Turkey and other poultry also are packed with healthy protein, selenium, zinc, and several other B vitamins. Moreover, consuming poultry and other high-protein foods may cause you to feel food and increase your metabolic rate after a meal, leading to weight loss without losing muscle mass.

Nonheme Iron-rich Foods for Vegetarians


When it involves plant-based nonheme iron-rich foods that are also suitable for vegetarians and iron-rich vegetables, particularly, only some are as high in iron as spinach. A 3.5-ounce or 100-gram serving of raw spinach contains approximately 2.7 mg of iron, which is 15% of the DV.

Spinach also offers plenty of other health benefits, yet it’s low in calories. While spinach contains nonheme iron, which isn't as easily absorbed as heme iron, it's rich in vitamin C and as studies have shown that vitamin C considerably boosts iron absorption, the iron-vitamin C combination is especially healthy and powerful.

20 Iron-Rich Foods That Are Good For You

It also contains plenty of antioxidants called carotenoids, which are linked to decreased inflammation, better eye health, and reduced risk of cancer. To form sure the antioxidants get properly absorbed, consume them with healthy fats, like olive oil.

While spinach is the most iron-rich leafy green vegetable, kale, collard, beet greens, and Swiss chard all contain large amounts of iron.

Sun-dried Tomatoes

Raw tomatoes contain relatively small amounts of iron. However, dried or concentrated in paste, tomatoes are quite high in iron. Half a cup of sun-dried tomatoes, for instance, offers up to fifteen of the DV. Half a cup of ingredient, on the opposite hand, contains 22% of the recommended daily amount of iron. As tomatoes also are rich in vitamin C, iron absorption is increased.


Broccoli is an exceptionally nutritious food.  It’s packed with vitamin C – a vitamin that helps the body absorb iron, fiber, vitamin K, folate, and in fact, iron. One cup or 156 groves of broccoli contains 1 mg of iron, which is 6% of the DV.

Furthermore, broccoli, also with other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts, also contains indole, sulforaphane, and glucosinolates – plant compounds that appear to protect the cells and the body against cancer.


Potatoes, especially their skin, also are rich in iron. One large (10.5-ounce of 295-gram) unpeeled potato contains 3.2 mg of iron, which is eighteen of the DV.  The identical serving of sweet potatoes, on the opposite hand, provides 12% of the DV. 

Potatoes also are high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B6.


Some sorts of mushrooms contain considerable amounts of iron as well. For instance, a cup of cooked white mushrooms contains 2.7 mg of iron, which is 15% of the DV. Oyster mushrooms sometimes contain twice the maximum amount of iron as white mushrooms.

20 Iron-Rich Foods That Are Good For You

Shiitake and Portobello mushrooms, on the opposite hand, contain very small amounts of iron.


Olives are delicious and nutritious. Plus, they're packed with iron. A 3.5-ounce or 100-gram serving of olives contains 3.3 mg of iron, which adds up to 18% of the daily value.

Furthermore, olives are high in fiber, healthy fats, and vitamins A and E. They’re linked to decreased risk of heart disease and other health benefits.


Legumes, including lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas, and soybeans are all an excellent source of iron and are especially vital for vegetarians. One cup (approximately 198 grams) of cooked lentils, for instance, contains 6.6 mg of iron, which is 37% of the DV. One cup of cooked black beans, on the opposite hand, provides 3.6 mg of iron, which makes up 20% of the DV.

In addition to iron, legumes also are high in folate, potassium, and magnesium. They're linked to reduced inflammation, and decreased link of heart condition, plus, they'll help you feel full and lose weight.


Like other legumes, soybeans also are packed with iron and as tofu is made of soybeans, it's a great iron-rich food for vegetarians. A half-cup (126 grams) portion comes with 3.4 mg of iron, which makes 19% of the DV.

In addition to iron, tofu also contains considerable amounts of thiamine, calcium, magnesium, selenium, and other essential nutrients. It also offers 22 grams of protein per serving. Furthermore, it contains flavones, which are related to a reduced risk of insulin resistance and heart disease and decreased symptoms of menopause.


Seeds, especially pumpkin, sesame, hemp, and flaxseeds are very high in iron. Two tablespoons of these seeds contain approximately 1.2-4.2 mg of iron or 7-23% of DV. Two tablespoons of tahini – a paste made from sesame seeds contains 2.6 mg of iron or 14% of DV. Hummus, which is formed from tahini and chickpeas has 3 mg of iron per half a cup or 17% of DV.

Seeds also are packed with protein, fiber, magnesium, manganese, zinc, calcium, selenium, antioxidants, vitamin K, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and more.


Like seeds, nuts also are great iron-rich foods suitable for vegetarians. Nuts, particularly almonds, cashews, pine nuts, and macadamia nuts contain 1-1.6 of iron per ounce, which covers 6-9% of the recommended daily intake.

In addition, they're high in protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other healthy compounds.

When it involves nut kinds of butter, ensure to opt for 100% natural varieties, as others may contain plenty of added oils, salt, and sugar.


Quinoa may be a healthy whole grain and among other healthy nutrients, it contains iron. One cup of cooked quinoa offers 2.8 mg of iron, which provides you 16% of the DV.

20 Iron-Rich Foods That Are Good For You

This grain is additionally high in protein, folate, magnesium, manganese, copper, etc.  It’s also packed with antioxidants. Moreover, as quinoa may be a gluten-free grain, it's also suitable for people with gluten intolerance.


Like quinoa, amaranth is additionally a very healthy and nutritious gluten-free whole grain.  Additionally to large amounts of plant proteins, complex carbs, fiber, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus, it's also high in iron. It contains 5.2 mg of iron per cup cooked, which is 29% of the DV.


Spelled may be a very healthy and nutrient-packed ancient grain. It contains admirable amounts of protein (1.5 times quite wheat), fiber, complex carbs, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and some other B vitamins.

Most importantly (at least in our case), spelled is filled with iron. It contains 3.2 mg of iron per cup cooked or 18% of the DV.


Oats are tasty, nutritious, and straightforward to add to our diet. They’re packed with plant protein, magnesium, folate, zinc, and soluble fiber, which supports gut health, makes us feel full, and reduces cholesterol, also as blood sugar levels.

In addition, oats are high in iron. One cup of cooked oats contains approximately 3.4 mg of iron, which is nineteen of the DV.

Cocoa and Bittersweet Chocolate

Chocolate lovers are going to be pleased to know that cocoa and dark chocolate are also very nutritious and high in iron. A 1-once or 28-gram serving of bittersweet chocolate contains 3.4 mg of iron or 19% of the recommended daily intake.

Dark chocolate also contains a lot of copper, magnesium, prebiotic fiber, antioxidants, and other healthy ingredients. Cocoa has been shown to scale back bad cholesterol and boost cardiovascular health.

As cocoa and bittersweet chocolate contain much more flavones and other healthy compounds, ensure to opt for chocolate with a high cocoa content (at least 70%), rather than milk chocolate.

Outstanding Mentions

Other iron-rich foods which will currently not be a regular part of your diet, but contain huge amounts of iron include:

           Palm Hearts (contain 4.6 mg of iron per cup – 26% of the DV)

           Coconut Milk (3.8 mg of iron per half cup – 21% of the DV)

           Prune Juice (3 mg of iron per cup – 17% of the DV)

           Mulberries (2.6 mg of iron per cup – 14% of the DV)

           Blackstrap Molasses (1.8 mg of iron per two tablespoons – 10% of the DV)

           Dried Thyme (1.2 mg of iron per teaspoon – 7% of the DV)

Increased Iron Absorption from Nonheme Iron-Rich Foods

As heme iron is more easily absorbed by the body than plant-based nonheme iron, vegetarians and vegans are advised to intake 1.8 times more iron each day than people who eat meat.

As such, men and post-menopausal women should take 14 mg of iron each day, menstruating women 32mg each day, and pregnant women 49 mg of nonheme iron each day.

To maximize iron absorption, you'll also incorporate some of the following strategies:

  • Make bound to consume nonheme iron-rich foods with foods that contain large amounts of vitamin C, like citrus fruits, greens, tomatoes, peppers, etc. this might increase iron absorption by up to 300%. 
  • Eating nonheme iron-rich foods with (an amino acid), such as legumes and quinoa may also increase iron absorption? 
  • Prepare foods in forged iron cookware, because it can provide 2-3 times more iron. 
  • Soaking, sprouting, and fermenting both grains and legumes can improve iron absorption. 
  • Refrain from drinking coffee or tea with meals, as doing so can decrease iron absorption by 50 to 90%.

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