How Much Iron Is In Beef


Healthy Foods That Are High in Iron

What is iron?

Iron is a mineral that plays lots of different roles in the body, from maintaining a healthy immune system to transporting oxygen around the body.

If you’re not getting enough foods high in iron, you might feel tired and low in energy.

How much iron do I need?

Women aged 19-50 should aim to get 14.8mg of iron a day from foods high in iron – more if they’re pregnant. Dr Carrie explained, “Women have higher requirements than men as we lose some iron each month as a consequence of the menstrual cycle.” Adult men and women over 50 need 8.7mg a day. It’s also important for kids to get enough iron as they grow. Young infants need 1.7mg a day, while adolescents need between 11.3mg a day (for boys) and 14.8mg a day (for girls).

How much iron is there in foods?

Don’t worry – it’s easy to meet your target if you include enough foods high in iron in your daily diet. Just make sure you throw some of these iron-rich foods into your trolley on your next weekly shop. Many of us typically associate red meat as a food high in iron, however there’s plenty of options for veggies and vegans as well.

Red meat is satisfying and nutritious. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of ground beef contains 2.7 mg of iron, which is 15% of the DV ( 23 ). Meat is also rich in protein, zinc, selenium, and several B vitamins ( 24 ).

Beef is a great source of iron and it has 142% more iron than chicken – beef has 2.7mg of iron per 100 grams and chicken has 0.93mg of iron.

Iron is a mineral that serves several important functions, its main one being to carry oxygen throughout your body as a part of red blood cells.

It’s an essential nutrient, meaning you must get it from food. The Daily Value (DV) is 18 mg.

Interestingly, the amount of iron your body absorbs is partly based on how much you have stored.

A deficiency can occur if your intake is too low to replace the amount you lose every day .

Iron deficiency can cause anemia and lead to symptoms like fatigue. Menstruating women who don’t consume iron-rich foods are at a particularly high risk of deficiency.

Luckily, there are plenty of good food choices to help you meet your daily
iron needs.

Meat That Contains High Iron

Getting enough iron is crucial to your overall health, since it’s involved in oxygen transport, energy production and more. And if you’re looking for dietary sources of iron, meat is a good start. Not only are many meats great sources of this mineral, but they tend to contain a form of iron easily absorbed by your body. Read on to learn more.

Heme and Nonheme Iron

Eating meat is a good way to increase your iron intake, as it contains heme iron, the type of iron that is more easily absorbed by your body. Plant-based iron sources contain non-heme iron, which is absorbed two to three times less efficiently than heme iron. Foods that are a good source of iron contain at least 10 percent of the daily value for iron, and for a food to be high in iron it should contain at least 20 percent of the DV.

Organ Meat

Organ meats provide significant amounts of iron. Along with clams and oysters, they are one of the few animal-based foods that are high in iron. A 3-ounce serving of pan-fried chicken liver contains 11 milligrams of iron, or 61 percent of the DV, and the same-sized serving of pan-fried beef liver contains 5.2 milligrams of iron, or 29 percent of the DV.


Another meat that can contain high levels of iron is beef, with each 3-ounce serving containing between 10 and 24 percent of the daily value for iron, depending on the cut and preparation. For example, a 3-ounce patty of broiled 85-percent-lean ground beef contains 2.2 milligrams of iron, or 12 percent of the DV, making it a good source of iron.


Poultry can also be a good source of iron, especially if you choose dark meat instead of light meat. A 3-ounce serving of roasted dark meat turkey contains 2 milligrams of iron, or 11 percent of the DV, compared to only 1.1 milligrams, or 6 percent of the DV, found in light-meat turkey. A serving of duck meat contains 2.3 milligrams of iron, and a serving of roasted dark meat chicken contains 1.1 milligrams of iron.

Lamb and Seafood

Lamb provides a similar amount of iron to beef, with a 3-ounce serving of cooked lamb shoulder containing 2.3 milligrams, or 13 percent of the DV. Seafood can also be high in iron, providing up to 40 percent of the DV. A 3-ounce serving of canned oysters provides 32 percent of the DV, and the same-sized serving of light tuna canned in water provides 7 percent of the DV.

Healthy Foods That Are High in Iron

1. Shellfish

Shellfish is tasty and nutritious. All shellfish is high in iron, but clams, oysters, and mussels are particularly good sources.

For instance, a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of clams may contain up to 3 mg of iron, which is 17% of the DV.

However, the iron content of clams is highly variable, and some types may contain much lower amounts.

The iron in shellfish is heme iron, which your body absorbs more easily than the non-heme iron found in plants.

A 3.5-ounce serving of clams also provides 26 grams of protein, 24% of the DV for vitamin C, and a whopping 4,125% of the DV for vitamin B12.

In fact, all shellfish is high in nutrients and has been shown to increase the level of heart-healthy HDL cholesterol in your blood

Although there are legitimate concerns about and toxins in certain types of and shellfish, the benefits of consuming seafood far outweigh the risks .

SUMMARYA 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of clams provides 17% of the DV for iron. Shellfish is also rich in many other nutrients and may increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels in your blood.

2. Spinach

Spinach provides many health benefits but very few calories.

About 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw spinach contain 2.7 mg of iron, or 15% of the DV.

Although this is non-heme iron, which isn’t absorbed very well, spinach is also rich in vitamin C. This is important since vitamin C significantly boosts iron absorption.

Spinach is also rich in antioxidants called carotenoids, which may reduce your risk of cancer, decrease inflammation, and protect your eyes from disease

Consuming spinach and other leafy greens with fat helps your body absorb the carotenoids, so make sure to eat a healthy fat like olive oil with your spinach

SUMMARYSpinach provides 15% of the DV for iron per serving, along with several vitamins and minerals. It also contains important antioxidants.

3. Liver and other organ meats

Organ meats are extremely nutritious. Popular types include liver, kidneys, brain, and heart — all of which are high in iron.

For example, a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of beef liver contains 6.5 mg of iron, or 36% of the DV

Organ meats are also high in protein and rich in B vitamins, copper, and selenium.

Liver is especially high in vitamin A, providing an impressive 1,049% of the DV per 3.5-ounce serving.

What’s more, organ meats are among the best sources of choline, an important nutrient for brain and liver health that many people don’t get enough of.

SUMMARYOrgan meats are good sources of iron, and liver contains 36% of the DV per serving. Organ meats are also rich in many other nutrients, such as selenium, vitamin A, and choline.

4. Legumes

Legumes are loaded with nutrients.

Some of the most common types of legumes are beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, and soybeans.

They’re a great source of iron, especially for vegetarians. One cup (198 grams) of cooked lentils contains 6.6 mg, which is 37% of the DV .

Beans like black beans, navy beans, and kidney beans can all help easily bump up your iron intake.

In fact, a half-cup (86-gram) serving of cooked black beans provides around 1.8 grams of iron, or 10% of the DV ().

Legumes are also a good source of folate, magnesium, and potassium.

What’s more, studies have shown that beans and other legumes can reduce inflammation in people with diabetes. Legumes can also decrease heart disease risk for people with metabolic syndrome

Additionally, legumes may help you lose weight. They’re very high in soluble fiber, which can increase feelings of fullness and reduce calorie intake .

In one study, a high fiber diet containing beans was shown to be as effective as a low carb diet for weight loss

To maximize iron absorption, consume legumes with foods high in vitamin C, such as tomatoes, greens, or citrus fruits.

SUMMARYOne cup (198 grams) of cooked lentils provides 37% of the DV for iron. Legumes are also high in folate, magnesium, potassium, and fiber and may even aid weight loss.

5. Red meat

Red meat is satisfying and nutritious.

A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of ground beef contains 2.7 mg of iron, which is 15% of the DV Meat is also rich in protein, zinc, selenium, and several B vitamins .

Researchers have suggested that iron deficiency may be less likely in people who eat meat, poultry, and fish on a regular basis .

In fact, red meat is probably the single most easily accessible source of heme iron, potentially making it an important food for people who are prone to anemia.

In one study looking at changes in iron stores after aerobic exercise, women who consumed meat retained iron better than those who took iron supplements .

SUMMARYOne serving of ground beef contains 15% of the DV for iron and is one of the most easily accessible sources of heme iron. It’s also rich in B vitamins, zinc, selenium, and high quality protein.

 Foods That Have More Iron than Beef

Though red meat is a great source of iron (one 4 oz serving of lean ground beef has 2.5 mg, or 14 percent of your daily value), you can actually get this mineral from a slew of delicious plant and animal sources that have a much smaller carbon footprint, and, in some cases, even more iron than beef.

Of course, it’s important to note that iron from animals is more readily absorbed than iron from plants. “So vegetarians and vegans should consume around 1.8 times the recommended daily value,” says Sharon Palmer, RDN, author of The Plant Powered Diet. That works out to about 32 mg per day for women ages 31 to 50, and 14 mg per day for women over 50. You can also enhance plant-iron absorption by eating it along with a source of vitamin C, like a squirt of lemon juice.

With that in mind, check out these delicious foods that have more iron than a serving of beef.
  • Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are loaded with fiber and protein (and they make a damn good addition to this an three-bean salad). The 4 mg of iron (22% DV) in each cup is an added bonus.

  • Swiss Chard

Spinach not your thing? A cup of cooked swiss chard delivers a respectable 4 mg of iron (22% DV).

  • Edamame

Heat up 1 cup of frozen edamame for a high-protein snack that delivers 3.5 mg of iron (19% DV). Fun fact: It also packs more potassium than a banana.

  • Lentils

There’s a whopping 7 mg of iron (39% DV) in each cup of cooked lentils

  • Oats

This hearty breakfast staple packs 4 mg of iron (22% DV) in each half cup.

Sometimes we wonder if quinoa is just showing off: It’s a complete vegetarian protein (meaning it has all nine essential amino acids that your body can’t make on its own) and it has 3 mg of iron (17% DV) per cooked cup.

  • Oysters

Slurp down six oysters for 4 mg of iron (22% DV). That same serving also satisfies your daily requirement of hard-to-get dietary zinc.

Other Foods That Pack More Iron Than Beef


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