Foods High In Iron

Looking for High Iron sources? Read this article to know everything about Foods High In Iron ,Health Benefits & Consuming.

Important Facts about Foods High in Iron & The 18 Best Options

Iron is an important element in the blood-oxygen delivery system. It facilitates carrying of oxygen to each and every cell in the body. Any deficiency can make people feel tired and look pale, irritated or listless. It thus becomes very important to include iron-rich foods in the regular diet.

Foods High In Iron : Sources

The two types of iron are:

  • Heme: Derived from Animal Sources (Non-Vegetarians)
  • Non-Heme: Derived from Plant Sources (Vegetarians)

How much iron should I take?

On an average, you should not be taking more than 45 mg of iron on a daily basis. While it is important to maintain the recommended iron levels in our body, excess iron can lead to constipation or GI distress. Moreover, as per studies it is believed excess stored iron can lead to several heart diseases. Young women who are able to maintain a low iron store during menstruation have a very good chance of lowering the possibility of a heart disease. The market offer several iron supplements, but it is not recommended until and unless a person is anemic.

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

  1. Fatigue & Exhaustion
  2. Irregular or Fast heartbeats
  3. Pale Skin
  4. Restless Legs Syndrome
  5. Brittle Nails
  6. Swollen Tongue
  7. Hair Loss
  8. Heavy periods
  9. Anxiety
  10. Shortness of breath
  11. Cravings to eat items that aren’t food
  12. Cold hands & Feet

Causes of Iron Deficiency

The following reasons are possible causes of iron deficiency in adults:

  • Inadequate Diet: A poorly balanced vegetarian diet, limited access to fresh food, or chronic fad dieting might be responsible for an inadequate dietary intake.
  • Blood Loss: A chronic blood loss is responsible for iron deficiency which may be due to chronic disorders that involves bleeding. These could be peptic ulcers, cancer in the large intestine, and polyps. Even heavy menstrual periods, nosebleeds, or blood donation can possibly lead to iron deficiency as well.
  • Increase in iron requirement: Iron deficiency in women might arise during pregnancy or breastfeeding as the body demands more iron. Similarly, during adolescent growth spurt, the need of iron increases considerably. If these basic requirements are not met, it might result in Iron deficiency.
  • Workout or Regular Exercise: For athletes who exercise or people who undergo heavy workout sessions, the demand for iron increases considerably. As the body undergoes hard training sessions, it promotes red blood cell production as a person loses iron due to excess sweating.
  • Reduced ability to absorb iron: A healthy adult absorbs about 10 to 15% of dietary iron. However, in case a body is unable to use iron from the food, it will lead to iron deficiency.

Adverse Impacts of Low Levels of Iron

In case the basic need of iron is not met, the possible effects include:

  • Iron Depletion: Despite hemoglobin levels being normal, iron depletion can occur when the body that stores a very small amount of iron runs out of it. There are no obvious symptoms.
  • Iron Deficiency: Iron Deficiency is a situation wherein the hemoglobin levels drop below normal and the amount of iron in the blood becomes low. People suffering from iron deficiency usually complain of tiredness.
  • Anemia: Dangerously low iron level often leads to Anemia. Here the blood fails to deliver the required oxygen to the cells. Looking pale, feeling short of breath, fatigue, or dizziness are some likely symptoms.

10 Best Vegetarian Iron Rich Foods

Below we have complied a list of recommended and easily available food options that can be included in your iron rich diet plan:

Vegetarian Foods that are High in Iron (Non-Heme iron)
FoodRecommended ServingIron ContentCalories
Pumpkin Seeds1 Ounce0.9 mg126 calories
Brussels Sprouts½ Cup0.9 mg28 calories
Tofu½ Cup3.4 mg88 calories
Sesame Butter (Tahini)1 Tablespoon0.4 mg86 calories
Pinto Beans1 Cup3.6 mg245 calories
Dried apricots1/2 Cup2 mg78 calories
Medium baked potato1 Potato (with skin)3.2 mg278 calories
Brown Rice1 Cup0.8 mg216 calories
Oatmeal½ Cup1.7 mg154 calories
Broccoli½ Cup0.3 mg15 calories

1) Pumpkin Seeds: On an average, a handful of pumpkin seeds (about one ounce) will provide roughly 5% iron needed by the body. It is recommended to eat them raw, but you do have an option to roast them.

How much Iron in pumpkin seeds? 0.9 mg per 1 ounce  

2) Brussels Sprouts: These veggies are both tasty and healthy. They are also a viable source of vitamins, fiber, folate and antioxidants. Additionally, they are a rich source of iron too. Adding these to your diet plan can help in preventing fatigue or countering other symptoms related to iron deficiency.

How much Iron is in brussels sprouts? 0.9 mg in ½ cup

3) Tofu: Although popular in Asian countries, it has found its place in almost every cuisine across the world. It is very rich in iron and contains an array of essential minerals. Many people do not like the bland taste of tofu, but with a number of flavors or seasonings, it can definitely be made a lot tastier.

How much iron is in tofu? 3.4 mg in ½ cup

4) Sesame Butter (Tahini): Mostly used with hummus, it contains high levels of iron. It will definitely be an excellent addition to your regular diet plan.

Iron in sesame butter (tahini): 0.4 mg in 1 tablespoon

5) Pinto Beans: Stuffed with essential minerals and vitamins, pinto beans is another high iron food. A single cup of boiled pinto beans can take care of the 21% iron needed by the body for a single day. You may club it with whole wheat rice to enjoy a fat-free meal that is not only cheap on your wallet, but also takes care of your waistline as well.

Pinto beans iron: 3.6 mg in 1 cup

6) Apricots: High in Iron, apricots are available in canned, dried, cooked or even raw states. However, dried apricots offer the best benefits to the body and has the most iron content. Even having ½ cup of dried apricots will take care of the 35% daily iron needs.

Dried apricots iron: 2 mg in ½ cup

7) Medium baked potato: Besides being easily available, potatoes are regarded to be the most versatile food options. High in Vitamin C makes it pretty easy for the body to absorb iron from the body.

Baked potato iron: 3.2 mg in 1 medium potato (with skin) 

8) Brown Rice: A staple food among different cultures, it is rich in fiber and helps in getting rid of the toxins within the body. The high iron content supports fighting fatigue and anemia. Clubbing it with green veggies or beans will not only be a healthy option, but can keep you full for hours.

Iron in brown rice: 0.8 mg in 1 cup

9) Oatmeal: Including oatmeal in your diet can drastically improve iron deficiency in the body. It also comes with other essential nutrients and can be a very healthy breakfast.

Iron in oatmeal: 1.7 mg in ½ cup

10) Broccoli: Classified under cruciferous veggies, broccoli is a rich source of vitamin C. It helps the body to absorb as well as easily digest the required iron quantity.

Iron in broccoli: 0.3 mg in ½ cup

8 Best  Iron Rich Foods

If you are a meat lover or prefer to eat more non vegetarian stuff then you can include the following food options to your diet:


Non Vegetarian Foods that are High in Iron (Heme iron)

FoodRecommended ServingIron ContentCalories
Chicken Liver3.5 ounces3.5 mg170 calories
Oysters3.5 ounces3.5 mg190 calories
Beef3.5 ounces2.1 mg250 calories
Fish3.5 ounces3.5 mg206 calories
Pork3.5 ounces0.8 mg242 calories
Turkey3.5 ounces0.7 mg135 calories
Chicken Breast3.5 ounces0.7 mg165 calories
Eggs2 Pcs1.2 mg155 calories

1) Chicken Liver: For the meat lovers, chicken liver is supposed to be a powerhouse for iron. It has the capacity to boost the hemoglobin levels quickly. Having only 3.5 ounces of the liver can provide you with 3.5 mg of iron. However, it is high in terms of calories and is the reason why many people often prefer beef liver over a chicken liver.


Iron in chicken liver: 3.5 mg per 3.5 ounces

2) Oysters: Seafood as a whole is a rich source of iron. Oysters being one the best sources can help in losing weight and offering protection from several other diseases. Coming under the same category, you may eat mussels, prawns, and clams too.

Iron in oysters: 3.5 mg per 3.5 ounces

3) Ground beef: Make sure you eat red meat that is fat free. It will act as a great source of iron and can drastically impact the iron levels. For instance, 3 ounces of ground beef that is fat free offers around 2.1 mg of iron.

Iron in ground beef: 2.1 mg per 3.5 ounces

4) Fish: Fish is often known to be very rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. However, they are also a very good source of high iron. Haddock, salmon, halibut, perch, or tuna are quite popular among fish eaters. Sardines, mackerel, raavas, or bangda are among the other fish options that can offer you high iron content.

Iron in fish: 3.5 mg per 3.5 ounces

5) Pork: Pork, especially its liver is termed to be a healthy source of iron too. One should prefer the lean cuts (loin chops, sirloin roast, and tenderloin) as bacon along with other fatty cuts can increase the cholesterol levels or clog the arteries.

Iron in pork: 0.8 mg per 3.5 ounces

6) Turkey: Like Chicken, Turkey is supposed to offer you a considerable amount of iron in every meal. They are at par with beef and pork when it comes to offering the required iron volumes to the body. Again it is the liver of the Turkey that is a powerhouse of iron.

Iron in turkey: 0.7 mg per 3.5 ounces

7) Chicken Breast: Having only 3.5 ounces of chicken breast can offer you around 0.7 mg of iron. It is the fleshiest part of the bird and is comparatively the tastiest when cooked.

Iron in chicken breast: 0.7 mg per 3.5 ounces

8) Eggs: In order to extract the most iron from an egg, you need to ensure you are eating a boiled version. Moreover, egg yolk has more iron than the egg whites. Approximately 2 large eggs a day are good enough to offer 1.2 mg of iron.

Iron in eggs: 1.2 mg per 2 pcs

Foods High In Iron List

MeatSeafoodVegetables & Beans
Dried beefHaddockBeet greens
LiverwurstScallopsCorn syrup
VealShrimpDandelion greens
Bread & CerealsFruitsDried beans
Bran cerealsDatesDried peas
Corn mealDried peachesKale
Cream of WheatFigsLentils
Enriched pastaPrunesMaple syrup
Enriched ricePrune juiceMolasses
Rye breadStrawberriesPeas
Wheat productsRaisinsSpinach
White bread (enriched)WatermelonString beans
Whole wheat breadSweet potatoes
Tomato products

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