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Iron-rich Foods for Your Diet

Are you feeling tired or low on energy? Your diet may be lacking in an essential mineral, iron. Including iron-rich foods in your diet can help boost your energy levels while improving your overall health. Whether you are a meat eater or vegetarian, there are plenty of foods with iron that you can add to your diet. From leafy greens and beans to seafood and red meats, there are numerous iron-rich food sources to choose from. So, let’s explore the many fruits and vegetables, meats, and seafood rich in iron and discover the best iron-rich diet for you!


Iron: Overview

Iron is an essential mineral required for the proper growth and development of the body. Haemoglobin and myoglobin are two critical proteins that rely on iron to function properly.
Haemoglobin, which is a protein found in red blood cells (RBC), uses iron to transport oxygen from the lungs to different organs of the body. Similarly, myoglobin is another protein that relies on iron to supply oxygen to the muscles. Additionally, iron plays a significant role in the production of certain hormones in the body. Without sufficient iron intake, these vital bodily functions can be compromised, leading to various health issues.


Daily Intake of Iron Required

The quantity of iron required by your body each day is determined by your gender, age, and whether you primarily eat plant-based foods. The average daily recommended value in milligrams (mg) is mentioned below.



Stage of life

Daily recommended value

Adult men (19–50 years)

8 mg

Adult women (19–50 years)

18 mg

Adults older than 51 years

8 mg

Pregnant women

27 mg

Teenage boys (14–18 years)

11 mg

Teenage girls (14–18 years)

15 mg

Children (9–13 years)

8 mg

Children (4–8 years)

10 mg

Children (1–3 years)

7 mg

Infants (7–12 months)

11 mg

Birth to 6 months

0.27 mg


Moreover, vegetarians who do not eat poultry, meat, or fish require almost double the amount of iron mentioned in the table, as their bodies do not absorb non-heme iron found in plant-based foods as effectively as the iron found in animal foods.

Iron-rich Foods

There are two main iron food sources–plant-based and animal-based foods. You can find out fruits and vegetables rich in iron as well as animal-based foods that contain iron here.
Here are some of the best iron-rich foods to add to your diet, whether you are a non-vegetarian or a strict vegetarian. We have covered it all!

1. Spinach

Spinach has several health advantages, yet it only contains a few calories.
A bunch of 100 g of raw spinach provides 2.7 mg of iron, approximately 15% of the daily value.
Despite the fact that spinach is a source of non-heme iron, which is not very well absorbed in the body, the vegetable is high in vitamin C. This is crucial since vitamin C substantially help boosts the absorption of iron.


2. Beans and legumes

Beans and legumes are packed with nutrients.
Lentils, beans, chickpeas, soybeans, and peas are a few common legume types consumed on a daily basis.

For vegetarians, they provide a rich source of iron. One cup, which is about 198 g of cooked lentils, provides 6.6 mg (37% of the daily value) of iron.
Beans including navy beans, kidney beans, and black beans can all easily bolster your intake of iron.

For example, 100 g of black beans (cooked) offer around 2.1 mg of iron, which is approximately 10% of the daily value.

3. Shellfish

Shellfish is both delicious and beneficial for your health. The iron content in all shellfish is abundant, but oysters, clams, and mussels are among the good sources.
For example, about 100-g (roughly 3.5-ounce) portion of mixed species of clams may provide about 2.8 mg of iron, roughly equivalent to 17% of the daily value.
Even so, the iron content in different types of clams varies greatly, with some types having much lower levels than others.

Shellfish provides heme iron, a type of iron that is more readily absorbed by your body than non-heme iron found in plants.
Despite valid worries regarding mercury and toxins in some species of shellfish and fish, the health benefits of eating seafood exceed the risks involved.


4. Meat obtained from organs and liver

Organ meats are known to be highly nutritious. Some of the common iron-rich organs include the kidneys, liver, heart, and brain.
For instance, a serving size of 100 g (equivalent to 3.5 ounces) of beef liver can offer 6.5 mg of iron, which is approximately 36% of the daily recommended value.


5. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds, especially pumpkin seeds, are a good source of iron.
A 1-ounce (28-g) portion of the seeds of pumpkin provides 2.5 mg of iron, or 14% of the daily required value.

Other nuts, including almonds, pine nuts, cashews, and macadamia nuts, provide 0.8–1.7 mg of iron in one ounce (28.5 g).


6. Broccoli
Broccoli is very rich in nutrients. About 1 mg of iron (6% of the daily value DV) is found in 1 cup, which is roughly a 156 g portion of cooked broccoli.

Furthermore, one cup of broccoli contains 112% of the daily value of vitamin C, thereby helping in iron absorption.


7. Red meat
Red meat is an excellent source of iron, particularly beef.
A serving size of 3.5 ounces (equivalent to 100 g) of ground beef can provide 2.7 mg of iron, accounting for about 15% of the daily recommended value.
According to researchers, individuals who regularly consume meat, fish, and poultry may have a lower risk of developing iron deficiency.


8. Mulberries
Mulberries are a variety of berries with an exceptionally high nutritional content.
One cup (140 g) of mulberries not only provides approximately 2.6 mg of iron (14% of the daily value), but they also contain 57% of the daily value for vitamin C.

9. Prune juice
Prunes are also an excellent source of iron.
For example, one cup, which is roughly 237 mL, of prune juice contains about 2.9 mg of iron. This is around 16% of the daily requirement and double the iron content present in the equivalent quantity of dried prunes.


10. Dark chocolate
Not only are dark chocolates delicious, but they also have numerous health benefits.
An ounce or 28 g of dark chocolate provides 3.4 mg of iron, which makes up about 19% of the daily recommended value.


11. Fish
Fish is a highly nutritious food, and some varieties of fish, like tuna, are especially rich in iron.
A serving size of 3 ounces or 85 g of canned tuna can offer approximately 1.4 mg of iron, which is roughly 8% of the daily recommended value.
Apart from tuna, other types of iron-rich seafood that you can consider adding to your diet include mackerel, haddock, and sardines.


12. Mushrooms
Certain types of mushrooms are very high in iron.
For instance, one cup of white mushroom (cooked) provides approximately 2.7 mg, or 15% of the daily required amount, whereas one cup of oyster mushroom (uncooked) provides 1.14 mg of iron; however, shiitake mushroom provides very little iron content.

In conclusion, incorporating iron-rich foods into your diet is crucial for maintaining good health and preventing iron deficiency. Whether you’re a meat eater or vegetarian, there are plenty of options available to ensure you get enough iron in your diet. From foods with iron like beans, nuts, and red meats to iron-rich vegetarian foods like lentils, seeds and nuts, and spinach, there are plenty of choices. Additionally, fruits and vegetables rich in iron, like dark leafy greens and mushroom, can help boost your iron levels. Knowing the iron food sources and foods that contain iron can help you make informed choices about your diet and ensure you are getting the necessary nutrients for optimal health. So, start incorporating iron-rich foods into your diet today and feel the difference in your overall energy levels and well-being.


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About The Author

Dr.William Lewis Aliquam sit amet dignissim ligula, eget sodales orci. Etiam vehicula est ligula, laoreet porttitor diam congue eget. Cras vestibulum id nisl eu luctus. In malesuada tortor magna, vel tincidunt augue fringilla eget. Fusce ac lectus nec tellus malesuada pretium.

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) Gold Medalist (2009-2015) M.D In General Medicine (2016-2019), CCID (Infectious Diseases)

PG Diploma In Clinical Endocrinology v& Diabetes, Clinical Associate in Non-Invasive Cardiology

Dr.William Lewis Aliquam sit amet dignissim ligula, eget sodales orci. Etiam vehicula est ligula, laoreet porttitor diam congue eget. Cras vestibulum id nisl eu luctus. In malesuada tortor magna, vel tincidunt augue fringilla eget. Fusce ac lectus nec tellus malesuada pretium.

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) Gold Medalist (2009-2015) M.D In General Medicine (2016-2019), CCID (Infectious Diseases)

PG Diploma In Clinical Endocrinology v& Diabetes, Clinical Associate in Non-Invasive Cardiology

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