Iron is an essential mineral used to transport oxygen to all parts of the body. A slight deficiency in iron causes anemia i.e. fatigue/weakness, and a chronic deficiency can lead to organ failure. Conversely, too much iron leads to production of harmful free radicals, and also interferes with metabolism, causing damage to organs like the heart and liver. The body is able to regulate uptake of iron, so overdose is very rare and usually only occurs when people take supplements.
HealthAliciousNess.com has written a great post detailing the best types of iron. Read more:
“ Iron from natural food sources, like the ones listed below, are considered safe and healthy. While iron is better absorbed from heme (meat) sources, non-heme (plant) iron is better regulated causing less damage to the body. High iron foods include clams, liver, sunflower seeds, nuts, beef, lamb, beans, whole grains, dark leafy greens (spinach), dark chocolate, and tofu. The current daily value (DV) for iron is 18 milligrams (mg). Below is a list of high iron foods. For more high iron foods see the lists of high iron foods by nutrient density, iron rich foods (heme and non-heme), and the list of fruits and vegetables high in iron.”
#1: Squash and Pumpkin Seeds
|Iron in 100g||1 cup (227g)||1 ounce (142 seeds) (28g)|
|15mg (83% DV)||34mg (188% DV)||4mg (23% DV)|
Other Seeds High in Iron (%DV per ounce (28g)): Sesame (23%), Sunflower (11%), and Flax (9%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.
#2: Liver (Chicken)
|Iron in 100g||1 Liver (44g)||1 ounce (28g)|
|13mg (72% DV)||5.7mg (32% DV)||3.6mg (20% DV)|
1 tablespoon of chicken liver pate provides 7% DV. One ounce of liverwurst sausage provides 10% DV. Click to see complete nutrition facts.
#3: Seafood (Oysters, Mussels, Clams)
|Iron in 100g||3oz (85g)||1 Medium Oyster (25g)|
|9.2mg (51% DV)||7.8mg (43% DV)||2.3mg (13% DV)|
More Seafood High in Iron (%DV per 3oz (85g)): Cuttlefish (51%), Whelk(48%), Octopus (45%), Mussels (32%), Abalone (18%), and Scallops (14%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.
#4: Nuts (Cashew, Pine, Hazelnut, Peanut, Almond)
|Iron in 100g||1 cup (129g)||1 ounce (18 cashews) (28g)|
|6.1mg (34% DV)||7.8mg (43% DV)||1.7mg (9% DV)|
Other Nuts High in Iron (%DV per ounce (28g)): Pine nuts(9%), Hazelnuts (7%), Peanuts (7%), Almonds (7%), Pistachios (7%), and Macadamia (6%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.
#5: Beef and Lamb (Lean Chuck Roast)
|Iron in 100g||1 lb roast (454g)||3 ounce serving (85g)|
|3.8mg (21% DV)||17mg (96% DV)||3.2mg (18% DV)|
A Rib-Eye Steak (10oz, 281g) provides 41% DV. A serving of Lean Lamb Roast (3oz, 85g) provides 13% DV. A Lamb Chop (4oz, 155g) provides 10% DV. Click to see complete nutrition facts.
#6: Beans and Pulses (White Beans, Lentils)
|Iron in 100g||1 cup cooked (179g)||1 Tablespoon (11g)|
|3.7mg (21% DV)||6.6mg (37% DV)||0.5mg (2% DV)|
Other Beans High in Iron (%DV per cup cooked): Soybeans (49%), Lentils (37%), Kidney beans (29%), Garbanzo beans (Chickpeas) (26%), and Lima beans (25%), Navy (24%), Black Beans (Frijoles Negros) (20%), Pinto (20%), and Black-eyed Peas (20%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.
#7: Whole Grains, Fortified Cereals, and Bran
|Iron in 100g of Quinoa||1 cup of Quinoa (185g)|
|1.5mg (8% DV)||2.8mg (15% DV)|
Other Grains High in Iron (%DV per cup cooked): Oatmeal (12%), Barley (12%), Rice (11%), Bulgur (10%), Buckwheat (7%), and Millet (6%). Fortified cereals provide up to 140% DV of iron per cup. Check nutrition facts, and also be careful of the high sugar level in commercial cereals. Bran from whole grains can harm absorption of iron supplements, while whole grains are a good source of iron, they should not be consumed with iron supplements. Click to see complete nutrition facts.
#8: Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach, Swiss Chard)
|Iron in 100g||1 cup of Cooked Spinach (180g)|
|3.6mg (20% DV)||6mg (36% DV)|
Other Greens High in Iron (%DV per cup): Cooked Swiss Chard (22%), Cooked Turnip Greens (16%), Raw Kale (6%), and Raw Beet Greens (5%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.
#9: Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powder
|Iron in 100g||1 cup grated (132g)||1 Square (29g)|
|17mg (97% DV)||23mg (128% DV)||5mg (28% DV)|
1 cup of cocoa powder provides 66% DV. A 1.5oz (44g) candy chocolate bar provides 6% DV. Click to see complete nutrition facts.
|Iron in 100g||1 cup of firm tofu (126g)||1/4 Block (81g)|
|2.7mg (15% DV)||3.4mg (19% DV)||2.2mg (12% DV)|
Calcium can interfere with non-heme iron absorption. Try to buy tofu without added calcium for greater iron absorption. Click to see complete nutrition facts.
Eat your way to optimum health and happiness xx