Lack of iron or anemia is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies especially affecting children and pregnant women. By consuming foods that contain iron, this deficiency can be easily combated. The best wide variety of iron rich foods from ground beef to spinach. Let’s have a look at it.
Heme Vs Non-heme Iron
The two types of irons are heme and non-heme. Heme iron-rich food items include non-veg options such as meat, fish, and poultry. On the other hand, non-heme iron is generally found in plant-based foods including fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
Heme iron gets easily absorbed in the body. Whereas, non-heme iron requires foods high in vitamin C for absorption.
Daily Requirement of Iron
According to researchers, the daily recommended amount of iron is,
|19-50 Age Non-pregnant Women||18 mg|
|Pregnant Women||27 mg|
|Lactating Women||9 mg|
|Women Aged 51 & Older||8 mg|
|Infants and Children||7-16 mg (depends on age)|
Iron Rich Foods Name List
Animal-Based Iron-Rich Foods
Animal-based foods are the best sources of heme iron. As per many researchers, iron deficiency is less likely to be seen in people consuming meat, poultry, or fish regularly.
1. Organ Meats
The most popular types of organ meats are the liver, kidneys, brain, and heart. In addition to that, these iron-rich foods are high in essential nutrients as well.
- 6.5 mg of iron in 3.5-ounce or 100 gms of beef liver.
- 113 grams of chicken giblets contains 6.1 mg of iron.
- Pork liver provides 6.61 mg of iron in a 1-ounce serving.
- Avoid organ meats if your cholesterol is high, or you are pregnant.
Also Read:- Antioxidant Rich Foods
2. Red Meat: Beef, Lamb, Veal, Pork
It is said that the redder the meat, the richer it is in iron. Red meat, especially ground beef is one of the best sources of heme irons to get absorbed in the body easily.
- Ground beef provides 2.7 mg of iron per 100 gms (3.5-ounce).
- It is about 15% of the DV (Daily Value).
- Pork loin offers just over 0.5 mg per 3 ounces of serving.
3. Poultry: Chicken, Turkey
Among poultry meat, dark turkey offers the most amount of iron. White turkey and chicken are also a good addition to your diet. But provides less iron content.
- It is around 8% of the daily need.
- White turkey contains just 0.7 mg.
- Every 100 gms of chicken provides approx 1.3 mg iron.
- Roughly 6% of the daily requirement.
- Dark turkey offers 1.4 mg of iron in 100 gms (3.5-ounce).
4. Shellfish: Oysters, Mussels, Clams
All shellfish are regarded as a good source. But clams, oysters, and mussels are particularly known as the best shellfish to provide iron.
- 100 gms (3.5-ounce) of clams can provide up to 3 mg of iron.
- It takes care of around 17% of the daily value.
Tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines are some of the best iron-rich fishes to add to your diet. It is also counted as a great source of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.
- A 3-ounce or 85-gram serving of canned tuna can give you about 1.4 mg of iron.
- It covers 8% of the daily iron requirement.
Plant Based Iron Rich Foods
In addition to the fruits and vegetables, there are some other plant-based iron-rich foods as well. Have a look at them.
It is a popular soy-based food among vegetarians for their protein intake. But did you know that it’s a rich source of iron as well? Well, it is.
- Half a cup of tofu or 126-gram serving contains 3.4 mg of iron.
- It provides 19% of the daily requirement.
- Tofu is also a good source of other nutrients including calcium, magnesium.
- It is also good for your overall health.
Legumes include beans as well as lentils. It contains a wide variety of ingredients such as black beans, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, soybean, etc. Consume legumes with vitamin C-rich foods to maximize iron absorption.
- Legumes are a great source of iron for a vegetarian diet.
- 6.6 mg iron from one cup (198 gms) of cooked lentils.
- It is 37% of the requirement of iron.
- Meanwhile, half a cup or 86 gms serving of cooked black beans offers 1.8 grams of iron.
- It takes care of 10% of the daily need.
3. Whole-grains: Quinoa, Amaranth
Amaranth and Quinoa are both gluten-free grains loaded with iron. Furthermore, they are a good source of protein for vegetarians.
- You can get around 5.2 mg of iron per cup from cooked whole amaranth.
- It is about 29% of the daily value.
- a single cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa contains 2.8 mg of iron.
- It offers 16% of the daily need.
4. Iron-fortified Breakfast cereals
Can you imagine getting iron from your breakfast cereal? That’s right. There are some fortified breakfast cereals available to offer you a good amount of iron.
- Raisin bran provides about 9.39 mg of iron per cup.
- It takes good care of your digestion with its high fiber content.
5. Dark Chocolate
To get your iron intake right, add some chocolate to your diet. Although it’s hard to believe, it’s true. Dark chocolate benefits and satisfies the taste buds and adds to the iron content of our body as well.
- Per 100 grams of dark chocolate, get 6.32 mg of iron.
- always have it with keeping your calorie count in mind.
Iron Rich Vegetables
There are several fruits and vegetables rich in iron to add to your diet. Let’s have a look!
Although it is non-heme iron, spinach is one of the best vegetarian sources of iron. It is also rich in vitamin C to boost iron absorption in the body.
- Get 2.7 mg of iron from 3.5 ounces or 100 grams of raw spinach.
- It is about 15% of the daily requirement.
Broccoli is among the few vegetables to top the non-heme iron-rich food list. Being high in vitamin C, Broccoli also helps with iron absorption in the body.
- Around 1-cup or 156-gram of cooked broccoli provides 1 mg of iron.
- It is 6% of the DV (Daily Value).
3. Potatoes (baked)
Unpeeled, baked potatoes can be your real friend on the plate to offer adequate iron. The iron present in potatoes is mostly concentrated in their skins.
- A large, unpeeled potato (10.5 ounces) contains 3.2 mg of iron.
- It delivers 18% of the daily requirement.
Iron Rich Fruits
You can also meet your regular iron requirement by including some iron-rich fruits in your diet.
With a mild laxative effect, prunes are one of the best iron-rich dry fruits. It also adds fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese to your regular diet.
- Prune juice provides 3 mg of iron per 237 ml or a cup.
- It takes care of 17% of the daily requirement.
Olives are a delicious iron content food to add to your diet. Besides, it comes with a variety of healthy plant compounds as well.
- Get around 3.3 mg of iron per 100 grams of olives.
- It accounts for about 18% of the daily need.
Iron Rich Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are some of the most important superfoods to offer sufficient iron. They are not only a healthy addition to your diet but offer some extra crunch as well.
1. Seeds: Pumpkin, Sesame, Flaxseed
Pumpkin, sesame, and flax seeds are not only rich in iron, but also known as tasty snacks. These seeds are easy to incorporate into your daily diet as well.
- Pumpkin seeds offer 3.3 mg of iron Per
- 100gm. flax seeds provide 5.6 mg per 100gm.
- Sesame seeds are comparatively richer in iron than these two with 14.6 mg per 100 gm.
- These seeds are also a great source of vitamin A, folate, calcium, potassium, magnesium, etc.
- They are good for your overall health.
2. Nuts: Cashew, Almond, Pine nuts
Nuts and nut butter contain a great amount of non-heme iron.
- Almonds, cashews, and pine nuts provide around 1 or 1.6 mg iron per ounce.
- 100 grams of cashews contain 6.7 mg of iron
- Almonds deliver 5.4 mg.
- It is 6–9% of the regular iron requirement.
- Avoid blanching or roasting nuts as it can damage their nutrients.
- Eat them raw and unblanched for the best result.
If you are a teenager or an adult, never consume more than 45 mg of iron per day. For kids between 13 and younger, it should never be more than 40 mg per day.