Iron Rich Foods

If you want to know which foods are high in iron, then you have certainly come to the right page. This is a thorough guide to high iron foods, where we tell you all of the different types of food that contain iron, before providing a long iron rich foods list. The list highlights more than just individual foods, but also how much iron you can get from various serving sizes of these great food sources of iron.

Additionally we also explain you how much iron you need per day, by showing you the daily iron requirements for all ages and genders. As far as foods with iron in go, this is a simple but effective guide to them and one that anybody can follow.

We have also explained the different types of iron that you need, and the foods that each one can be obtained from. Failing to get enough iron through your diet can lead to an iron deficiency, and further down the page we have explained the signs that you will need to look out for in case this is something that may be effecting you.

What foods are high in iron?

Before we go onto our list of foods rich in iron, let's generally cover what foods are high in iron. You are going to be doing yourself the world of good in terms of keeping your iron levels up, if you eat a combination of the following foods each day.

  • Meat

    - Red and white meats are both good sources of iron, so chicken, pork, beef, turkey, lamb, veal and liver are all good to eat.
  • Fish and seafood

    - Great food sources of iron include fish such as tuna, mussels, oysters and sardines.
  • Nuts and seeds

    - Sources of iron in food don't come much better than nuts and seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, and cashew nuts are great examples.
  • Fortified foods

    - Fortified breads and cereals are some of the best sources of iron too.
  • Fruits

    - Fruit has all manor of nutritional goodness, and if you are looking for a quick and easy iron rich food, look no further than raisins.
  • Eggs

    - As well as being a wonderful source of protein, eggs are one of the many foods with iron in them. Especially the yolk.

Iron rich foods list

Now we are going to show you some exact examples of various iron rich foods, showing the total iron that they contain per specified serving.

Here are 10 wonderful examples of high iron foods.

  1. Sesame seeds

    - Get all of the iron you need in an entire day with this amazing food rich in iron. With just one 144 g cup of sesame seeds you can get 20.9 milligrams of iron, and this equates to 116% of your RDI (recommended daily intake).
  2. Pumpkin/squash seeds

    - These two types of seeds are also great iron foods, and a simple cup of them that you can replace snacks with throughout a day can provide you with all of the iron that you need. A 138 g cup of pumpkin/squash seeds can get you 20.7 mg of iron, and this is 115% of the total iron you need in a day.
  3. Instant fortified plain oats

    - A very simple 28 g packed of instant fortified oats can provide you with a wonderful source of iron. Add some other high iron foods to the mix such as berries and you are getting even more of this important mineral. A 28 g packet of instant fortified plain oats can provide you with 8.2 mg of iron, 46% of your RDI.
  4. Pine nuts

    - As we have already mentioned, nuts are a food with iron in. Pine nuts however, are one of the best sources of iron as far as nuts go. Just 100 g of dried pine nuts can give you 7.5 mg of iron, and this is 41% of your total daily iron need.
  5. Cashew nuts

    - Back to the nuts factor here. Cashews are one of the best foods that contain iron, in just 100 g of cashew nuts you can get 6.7 mg of iron, 37% of the total iron needed in a day.
  6. Lentils

    definitely deserve a mention when it comes to foods containing iron. You can get a brilliant 6.6 mg of iron from a 198 g serving of boiled lentils.
  7. Mussels

    are a not only a tasty seafood, but also a great food high in iron. Just a simple 100 g serving of cooked blue mussels can get you 6.7 mg of iron, and this is 37% of your RDI.
  8. Liver

    may not be everyone's favorite food, but it is a food rich in iron none the less. A 100 g serving of panfried beef liver has 6.2 mg of iron in, which is a very helpful 34% of your RDI or iron.
  9. Flaxseed

    - As far as foods that are high in iron go, flaxseed is another that is well worth checking out. A 100 g serving of flaxseed will give you around 5.7 mg of iron, and this is almost a third of the total iron you need in a day, at 32%.
  10. Almonds

    - Didn't we say that when it comes to food sources of iron, that nuts were pretty good? Well here is another nut high in iron. 100 g of raw almonds will get you 3.9 mg of the mineral, this is 30% of your daily iron need.

These are not necessarily the ten foods highest in iron that you can get your hands off, but they are foods that you can easily come across in your everyday diet.

More food rich in iron

Now we are going to list several more foods high in iron for you, what is displayed is the name of the food, the serving size, the iron content of the food, the percentage of your RDI that this equates to.

  • Brazil nuts - 120 g of dried Brazil nuts has 4.8 mg in / 26%
  • Hazelnuts - 100 g of raw hazelnuts has 4.7 mg / 26%
  • Chickpeas - 164 g of cooked chickpeas has 4.7 mg / 26%
  • Oysters - 100 g of cooked eastern wild oysters has 4.3 mg / 24%
  • Pistachio nuts - 100 g has 4.2 mg / 23%
  • Granola cereal - 100 g of plain granola cereal has 4.2 mg / 23%
  • White beans - 100 g of boiled white beans has 3.7 mg of iron / 21%
  • Black beans - 172 g serving of boiled black beans has 3.6 mg / 20%
  • Spinach - 100 g of boiled spinach has 3.6 mg / 20%
  • Walnuts - 100 g of English walnuts has 2.9 mg / 16%
  • Sardines - 100 g of canned sardines has 2.9 mg / 16%
  • Raisins - A 145 g cup of seedless raisins has 2.7 mg / 15%
  • Egg yolk - 100 g of raw egg yolk has 2.7 mg / 15%
  • Hummus - 100 g of hummus has 2.6 mg / 14%
  • Pecans - 100 g of raw pecans has 2.5 mg / 14%
  • Lima beans - 100 g has 2.5 mg / 14%
  • Sunflower seeds - 46 g cup of dried sunflower seed kernels has 2.4 mg / 13%
  • Saltine crackers - 30 g of fat free, low sodium saltine crackers has 2.3 mg / 13%
  • White rice - A 158 g serving of boiled white, long grain rice has 1.9 mg / 10%

The RDI that we have used in the above examples applies to the average adult female. This can vary due to age, gender and due to medical conditions. To see how much iron you should be consuming each day, please see further down the page.

Iron rich vegetables

Now let's show you some examples of iron rich vegetables.

Fruits high in iron

How about some fruits high in iron for your diet?

We hope that this list of foods with high iron has been helpful to you, and will assist you in choosing the right foods in your diet. As you can see there really are loads of foods that contain iron, and various simple combinations of them can easily see you getting all of the iron that you need each day. This is without taking into consideration the traces of iron that other foods in your diet contain.

Remember when you are eating these iron rich foods you are also benefiting from the many other nutrients that they contain. If you just take iron supplements then you just get iron, which is why it is always better to go for dietary sources of iron. The foods listed above are crammed with loads of other vitamins and minerals, all of which are vital to your health.

How much iron is needed per day?

So now you know what food has iron in it, and how much iron in several cases, it is important to be able to recognise how much iron you need per day through your diet. This section is going to provide this information for you, so that you can ensure that your iron levels remain topped up by eating plenty of foods with iron in them.

  • Babies under 6 months - 0.27 milligrams per day
  • Infants 7 months to 1 year - 11 milligrams per day
  • 1 to 3 years - 7 mg per day
  • 4 to 8 years - 10 mg per day
  • Males aged 9 to 13 - 8 mg per day
  • Males aged 14 to 18 - 11 mg per day
  • Males ages 19 to 50 - 11 mg per day
  • Males over 50 - 8 mg per day
  • Females aged 9 to 13 - 8 mg per day
  • Females aged 14 to 18 - 15 mg per day
  • Females aged 19 to 50 - 18 mg per day
  • Females over 50 - 8 mg per day

This can vary for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, so if this applies to you it is important to speak to your doctor or a medical professional for further advice.

There are a lot of foods rich in iron that you can implement into your diet, so keeping your iron levels topped up should be something that is easy to do. However, some people can struggle to absorb iron due to medical reasons and thus develop conditions such as iron deficiency anemia. This can mean that using iron supplements in addition to eating plenty of high iron foods is something that they have to do.

It is important to remember that foods with iron in also contain various other important vitamins and minerals, so by eating them you are not only boosting your iron levels, but also plenty of other nutritional balances inside your body as well.

What are the best sources of iron?

Meat is definitely a good source of iron, but the best has got to be nuts and seeds, as the above list of high iron foods shows. You can get loads of iron through these, and they can easily be eaten in place of snacks throughout the day, and whats more is that they hold so many other amazing nutritional values as well. If you want to keep your iron levels up then get both of these involved in your diet.

Why do we need to eat foods with iron in?

As with all of the vitamins and minerals that our body requires, if we do not take on enough iron there are consequences that our health can suffer. But why do we need iron?

The role iron plays in the body is to produce hemoglobin, which is what is required in our blood cells to transport oxygen around the body. Iron comes in two types called 'heme' iron and 'non-heme iron'. These two types of iron are found in different foods that have iron in, so making sure you get enough of both is important. We have distinguished below the foods you will find each type of iron in. Heme iron is used more efficiently in the body than non-heme iron.

Foods with heme iron in:

  • Red meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Pork

Foods with non-heme iron in:

  • Cereals
  • Grains
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables

Without enough iron in our bodies we are unable to make the right amount of hemoglobin, and the result is that not enough oxygen is transported around the body to the areas that need it. This can lead to an iron deficiency as we have already mentioned, which itself leads to the medical condition known as anemia.

In a nutshell iron rich foods are necessary to prevent our body's experiencing the following symptoms of anemia, a common nutritional deficiency:

  • Low energy levels
  • Tiredness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability

More information

We hope that our page on foods high iron has been able to answer any questions that you have on the subject. There are plenty more iron rich foods out there, and even foods that contain iron to a lesser degree, you can always see how much iron is in a certain food by reading the nutritional information on the label.

Eating these foods will not only help to keep your iron levels up, but also the levels of plenty of other vitamins and minerals in your body too. Just knowing what good sources of iron are is the problem solved, as long as you can commit to including them in your diet regularly.

You can find out information similar to that found here on all of the other vitamins and minerals that are fundamental to your health, via our vitamins and minerals menu.

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