Food With Iron In It

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There is a lot of information out there about iron, but it’s not always easy to get clear answers. In this blog post, we will explore the role of iron in the human diet and how you can incorporate it into your meals.

What Is Iron?

Iron is an essential nutrient that helps transport oxygen throughout the body. It also helps cells use energy from food, which is why it’s so important for people who are physically active or pregnant (1). The human body needs iron to keep its cells healthy and function properly.

Where Does Iron Come From?

The best way to get more iron into your diet is through food sources such as meat, poultry, seafood and plant-based proteins like beans or lentils (2). However, if you have anemia or other conditions that could increase your need for this mineral then you may need extra supplementation from a doctor before you start adding any extra foods into your diet because too much iron can be harmful as well!

How Much Iron Do You Need Daily?

The recommended daily intake (RDI) for adults ranges between 8-18 mg per day depending on age group and gender while pregnant woman should consume at least 27 mg per day (3). Adults aged

Food With Iron In It

Food with iron in it is an admirable matter. It is a known fact that you need iron to produce blood. I think it is quite important that you know about how iron can help you and what kind of food we will be talking about in this article.

Foods rich in iron can help your body produce haemoglobin, the part of our red blood cells that transports oxygen around our bodies. The more haemoglobin you have, the more oxygen you can absorb. This post is to help people who are looking to find a diet that will not only improve their overall health, but also give them more energy and help to avoid tiredness associated with anaemia.

Foods high in iron

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Iron is a nutrient needed for many functions of the body, such as making haemoglobin in red blood cells, which transports oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. While it can store iron, your body can’t make it. The only way to get iron is from food.

Iron-rich foods

There are 2 types of iron in food: haem and non-haem. Haem iron, found in meat, poultry and seafood, is absorbed more effectively than non-haem iron, which is found in eggs and plant foods.

Animal-based sources of iron

Top animal-based sources of iron include:

  • red meats (beef, lamb, veal, pork, kangaroo). The redder the meat, the higher it is in iron
  • offal (liver, kidney, pate)
  • poultry
  • fish or shellfish (salmon, sardines, tuna)
  • eggs

Plant-based sources of iron

Plant foods containing non-haem iron can still provide an adequate amount of iron for the body. Good sources include:

  • nuts
  • dried fruit
  • wholemeal pasta and bread
  • iron-fortified bread and breakfast cereal
  • legumes (mixed beans, baked beans, lentils, chickpeas)
  • dark leafy green vegetables (spinach, silver beet, broccoli)
  • oats
  • tofu

How much iron do I need?

Your recommended daily intake (RDI) of iron depends on your age and sex:

  • Children aged 1-3 years — 9 milligrams (mg)
  • Children 4-8 — 10mg
  • Boys 9-13 — 8mg
  • Boys 14-18 — 11mg
  • Girls 9-13 — 8mg
  • Girls 14-18 — 15mg
  • Men aged over 19 — 8mg
  • Women aged 19-50 — 18mg
  • Women 51+ — 8mg
  • Pregnant women — 27mg
  • Women breastfeeding exclusively — 9-10mg

Women need more iron to replace the amount lost in blood during menstruation. Until menopause, women need about twice as much iron as men.

Iron deficiency occurs when the iron levels are too low, which can lead to anaemia. If you are worried you have an iron deficiency, your doctor may order some blood tests and may suggest iron supplements. You should always speak to your doctor before you take iron supplements as you could poison yourself if you take too much.

Need help getting enough iron?

Learn how much iron you need each day, which foods are the best sources of iron and how to incorporate them in your diet.

Infographic with tips for meeting your iron daily needs with your diet

How to improve iron absorption from food

How you prepare food, and which foods you eat together, can affect how much iron your body absorbs.

For example, foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, kiwi fruit, melons, green leafy vegetables and capsicum can help you absorb more iron if you eat them at the same time as iron-rich foods. Add them raw to your plate, drink unsweetened orange juice with your meal, or take a vitamin C supplement.

Coffee, tea and red wine (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), on the other hand, can reduce iron absorption. Calcium-rich foods, calcium supplements and some soybean-based foods can also inhibit iron absorption.

It’s better to have coffee, tea, red wine and dairy foods in between meals.

Can you have too much iron?

In healthy people, the body regulates how much iron it absorbs from food and supplements — so it’s difficult to have ‘too much’ iron in your diet.

However, some people have a genetic condition called haemochromatosis, which causes the body to absorb excess iron. The normal level of iron in the body is 3 to 4 grams, but in people with haemochromatosis it can be more than 20g.

About 1 person in every 300 has haemochromatosis, and it’s usually picked up through screening people who have a close relative with the condition.

Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your iron levels.

fruits rich in iron

Iron is an essential mineral used to transport oxygen around the body in the form of hemoglobin. A slight deficiency of iron causes anemia (fatigue/weakness), and a chronic deficiency can lead to organ failure.

Conversely, too much iron leads to the production of harmful free radicals and interferes with metabolism causing damage to organs like the heart and liver. Iron which comes from fruits and vegetables is well regulated by the body, so overdose is rare and usually only occurs when people take supplements.

Contrary to popular belief, fruits and vegetables can be a good source of iron. In addition, vitamin C is abundant in fruits and vegetables, and helps increase the absorption of iron into the body.

Fruits and vegetables high in iron include dried fruits, dark leafy greens, podded peas, asparagus, button mushrooms, acorn squash, leeks, dried coconut, green beans, and raspberries. The current daily value (DV) for iron is 18 milligrams (mg).


List of Fruits and Vegetables High in Iron

#1: Dried Fruit (Apricots)

Iron
per Cup
Iron
per 100g
Iron
per 200 Calories
8mg
(42% DV)
6mg
(35% DV)
4mg
(22% DV)

Nutrition Facts for Low-Moisture Dried Apricots.(Source)

More Dried fruit High in Iron

  • 36% DV per cup of dried peaches
  • 26% DV per cup of dried prunes and currants
  • 24% DV per cup of dried raisins
  • 21% DV per cup of dried pears
  • 17% DV per cup of dried figs
  • 7% DV per cup of dried apples

#2: Spinach

Iron
per Cup Cooked
Iron
per 100g
Iron
per 200 Calories
6mg
(36% DV)
4mg
(20% DV)
31mg
(172% DV)

Nutrition Facts for Cooked Spinach.(Source)

Other Greens High in Iron

  • 22% DV per cup of cooked Swiss chard
  • 16% DV per cup of cooked turnip greens
  • 6% DV per cup of raw chopped kale
  • 5% DV per cup of raw chopped beet greens

#3: Podded Peas

Iron
per Cup
Iron
per 100g
Iron
per 200 Calories
3mg
(18% DV)
2mg
(11% DV)
9mg
(52% DV)

Nutrition Facts for Cooked Snow Peas.(Source)

  • Lima beans provide 23% DV of iron per cup

#4: Asparagus

Iron
per Cup
Iron
per 100g
Iron
per 200 Calories
3mg
(16% DV)
2mg
(12% DV)
21mg
(119% DV)

Nutrition Facts for Asparagus.(Source)

#5: White Button Mushrooms

Iron
per Cup Cooked
Iron
per 100g
Iron
per 200 Calories
3mg
(15% DV)
2mg
(10% DV)
12mg
(69% DV)

Nutrition Facts for Cooked White Button Mushrooms.(Source)

Other Mushrooms High in Iron

  • 45% DV per cup of cooked morels
  • 6% DV per cup of cooked oyster mushrooms
  • 3% DV per cup of shiitake

#6: Acorn Squash

Iron
per Cup Cooked
Iron
per 100g
Iron
per 200 Calories
2mg
(11% DV)
1mg
(5% DV)
3mg
(18% DV)

Nutrition Facts for Baked Acorn Squash.(Source)

#7: Leeks

Iron
per Cup
Iron
per 100g
Iron
per 200 Calories
2mg
(10% DV)
2mg
(12% DV)
7mg
(38% DV)

Nutrition Facts for Leeks.

#8: Dried Coconut

Iron
per Oz
Iron
per 100g
Iron
per 200 Calories
1mg
(5% DV)
3mg
(19% DV)
1mg
(6% DV)

Nutrition Facts for Dried Coconut.

Other Coconut Products High in Iron

  • 5% DV per ounce of toasted desiccated (dried) coconut
  • 5% DV per ounce of creamed coconut
  • 5% DV per ounce of coconut milk

#9: Green Beans

Iron
per Cup
Iron
per 100g
Iron
per 200 Calories
1mg
(5% DV)
1mg
(4% DV)
5mg
(26% DV)

Nutrition Facts for Cooked Green Beans (Previously Frozen).

See more vegetarian foods high in iron.

#10: Raspberries

Iron
per Cup
Iron
per 100g
Iron
per 200 Calories
1mg
(5% DV)
1mg
(4% DV)
3mg
(15% DV)

Nutrition Facts for Raspberries.

Other Berries High in Iron

  • 14% DV per cup of Mulberries
  • 13% DV per cup of Elderberries
  • 9% DV per cup of Raspberries
  • 7% DV per cup of Blackberries
  • 6% DV per cup of Strawberries
  • 5% DV per cup of Raspberries
  • 5% DV per cup of Blackberries
  • 5% DV per cup of Longanberries
  • 5% DV per cup of Wild Blueberries

Even More Iron Rich Fruits and Vegetables

FoodServingIron
#1 Lemon Grass (Citronella)View(Source)1 cup30% DV
(5mg)
#2 Palm HeartsView(Source)1 cup25% DV
(5mg)
#3 Passion-Fruit (Granadilla)View(Source)per cup21% DV
(4mg)
#4 ParsleyView(Source)per cup21% DV
(4mg)
#5 SuccotashView(Source)1 cup16% DV
(3mg)
#6 Horned Melon (Kiwkano)View(Source)1 cup15% DV
(3mg)
#7 Lentil SproutsView(Source)per cup cooked14% DV
(2mg)
#8 SauerkrautView(Source)1 cup12% DV
(2mg)
#9 Dandelion GreKensView(Source)per cup9% DV
(2mg)
#10 Artichokes (Globe or French)View(Source)in a medium artichoke9% DV
(2mg)
#11 GroundcherriesView(Source)1 cup8% DV
(1mg)
#12 Mamey SapoteView(Source)1 cup chopped8% DV
(1mg)
#13 AvocadosView(Source)per Avocado6% DV
(1mg)
#14 LettuceView(Source)per cup4% DV
(1mg)
#15 OlivesView(Source)1 large3% DV
(0mg)

Factors which Affect Iron Absorption and Retention

  • The most important factor is your existing iron level. A low iron level will increase absorption, while a high iron level will decrease absorption. In general, you absorb 10-15% of the iron from foods.
  • Meat proteins will increase the absorption of non-heme iron.
  • Vitamin C will increase the absorption of non-heme iron by as much as 85%.
  • Tannins, oxalates, polyphenols, and phytates found in tea and coffee can reduce the absorption of non-heme iron by up to 65%. Black tea reduces absorption more than green tea and coffee. and beverages also inhibit iron absorption: Peppermint tea, cocoa, vervain, lime flower, chamomile, and most other herbal teas containing polyphenols. (4)
  • Calcium, polyphenols, and phytates found in legumes, whole grains, and chocolate can reduce absorption of non-heme iron. (2) Further milk, and antacids can inhibit absorption of iron supplements. (5)
  • Some proteins from soy products may inhibit non-heme iron absorption. (2)
  • High fiber foods, such as whole grains, raw vegetables, and bran can inhibit absorption of iron supplements. (5)
  • Foods or drinks containing caffeine can inhibit absorption of iron supplements.

Causes of Iron Deficiency

  • Menstruating Women – Due to blood loss during menstruation, women are at risk of iron deficiency. The greater the blood loss the greater the risk. (2)
  • Individuals with Kidney Failure – People with kidney failure, and especially those on dialysis, are at high risk of iron deficiency anemia. This is due to an inability of the kidney to create adequate amounts of the hormone erythropoietin which is necessary for red blood cell creation, and therefore, retaining iron. (2)
  • Pregnant and lactating women – A developing fetus requires a high amount of iron, likewise, there is a high amount of iron lost through breast milk after birth. (2)
  • Older infants and toddlers – Infants and toddlers require a lot of iron as they grow and so are at risk of iron deficiency. (2)
  • People with low levels of Vitamin A – Vitamin A helps move iron from storage in the body. Without adequate amounts of vitamin A, the body cannot regulate iron leading to an iron deficiency. (2)
  • People with gastrointestinal disorders – Diarrhea, ulcers, and other gastrointestinal disorders and diseases can lead to an inadequate iron absorption. (2)
  • Cancer – 60% of patients with colon cancer are iron deficient. 29-46% of patients with other cancers are also deficient in iron. (2)
  • People with Gastrointestinal Disorders – People on a restricted diet, or who have problems absorbing nutrients are at risk of iron deficiency. This includes people after bypass surgery. (2)
  • People with Heart Failure – Around 60% of people with heart failure are iron deficient. (2)

About the Data

Data for the curated food lists comes from the USDA Food Data Central Repository.

You can check our data against the USDA by clicking the (Source) link at the bottom of each food listing.

Note: When checking data please be sure the serving sizes are the same. In the rare case you find any difference, please contact us and we will fix it right away.

About Nutrient Targets

Setting targets can provide a guide to healthy eating.Some of the most popular targets include:

  • Daily Value (%DV) – The %DV is a general guideline for everyone and takes into account absorption factors. It is the most common target in the U.S. and found on the nutrition labels of most products. It is set by the U.S. FDA.
  • Reference Dietary Intake (%RDI) – The Reference Dietary Intake (RDI) accounts for age and gender. It is set by the U.S. Institute of Medicine. The RDI for amino acids is set by the U.N. World Health Organization. The daily value (%DV) builds on the reference dietary intake to create a number for everyone.
  • Adequate Intake (%AI) – Sets a target for Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats. The Adequate Intake is also set by the U.S. Institute of Medicine. It represents a number to ensure adequacy but lacks the same level of evidence as the Reference Dietary Intake. In short, the number is less accurate than the RDI.

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