12 Healthy Foods High in Iron

The redder the meat, the higher its iron content, and there are plenty of other sources of this essential mineral. The daily value (DV) for iron is 18 mg, and a deficiency can occur if your intake is too low to replace the amount you lose daily. Here are 12 healthy foods that are high in iron and provide many other health benefits. All seafood is high in iron, but clams, oysters, and mussels are particularly good sources.

For example, a 3.5-ounce (100 gram) serving of clams can contain up to 3 mg of iron, which represents 17% of the recommended daily amount (1). The iron in seafood is heme iron, which is more easily absorbed by the body than the non-heme iron found in plants. In addition to being a great source of iron, seafood is also rich in many other nutrients and has been shown to increase the level of heart-healthy HDL cholesterol in the blood (2). While there are legitimate concerns about mercury and the toxins in certain types of fish and seafood, the benefits of eating seafood far outweigh the risks (3).


provides many health benefits, but very few calories.

Approximately 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of raw spinach contains 2.7 mg of iron, or 15% of the DV (1). Although it is non-heme iron, which is not absorbed very well, spinach is also rich in vitamin C. This is important, since vitamin C significantly increases iron absorption (4). Spinach is also rich in antioxidants called carotenoids, which may reduce the risk of cancer, reduce inflammation and protect the eyes from disease (9, 10, 11, 1).

Eating spinach and other fatty leafy greens helps your body absorb carotenoids, so be sure to consume healthy fats such as olive oil along with spinach (1) for maximum benefit.


, such as liver, kidney, and pâté, are among the best sources of iron. For example, a 3.5-ounce (100 gram) serving of beef liver contains 6.5 mg of iron, or 36% of the DV (1). The liver is especially rich in vitamin A, providing an impressive 1.049% of the DV per 3.5-ounce serving. In addition, viscera are among the best sources of choline, an important nutrient for brain and liver health that many people don't consume enough (1).

Viscera are good sources of iron and the liver contains 36% of the DV per serving.


, such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, and soybeans, are 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 (1). In fact, a half-cup (86-gram) serving of cooked black beans provides about 1.8 grams of iron, or 10% of the DV (80). Legumes are also a good source of folic acid, magnesium, and potassium.

Studies have shown that beans and other legumes can reduce inflammation in people with diabetes and may also reduce the risk of heart disease in people with metabolic syndrome (17, 18, 19, 20). In addition, legumes can help you lose weight as they are high in soluble fiber which can increase feelings of fullness and reduce calorie intake (2). To maximize iron absorption from legumes eat them with foods rich in vitamin C such as tomatoes, vegetables or citrus fruits.

Red meat

, such as ground beef or steak is satisfying and nutritious. A 3.5-ounce (100 gram) serving of ground beef contains 2.7 mg of iron which represents 15% of the recommended daily amount (2).

Meat is also rich in protein zinc selenium and several B vitamins (2). Researchers have suggested that iron deficiency may be less likely in people who eat meat poultry and fish on a regular basis (2). Red meat is probably the most easily accessible source of heme iron making it an important food for people prone to anemia. In a study that looked at changes in iron stores after aerobic exercise women who ate meat retained iron better than those who took iron supplements (2).

One serving of ground beef contains 15% of the daily value of iron.

Pumpkin seeds

(also known as pepitas) are a tasty and portable snack. A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving contains 2.5 mg of iron which is 14% of the DV (2 ). In addition pumpkin seeds are a good source of vitamin K zinc and manganese. They're also among the best sources of magnesium which many people are low in (2 ).

A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving contains 40%of the daily valueof magnesium helping to reduce the riskof insulin resistance diabetes and depression(< i >29 30 3 ). Pumpkin seeds provide 14%of the daily valueofiron per 1-ounce serving.< b >Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah)is a popular grain known as a pseudo-cereal. One cup (185 grams)of cooked quinoa provides 2.8 mgofiron whichis 16%oftheDV(< i >3 ). In addition quinoais gluten-free making ita good choiceforpeoplewithceliacdiseaseorotherformsofglutenintolerance.

Quinoaisalsoricherinproteinthanmanyothergrainsandit'salsoric hinfolicacidmagnesiumcoppermanganeseandmanyothernutrients. Inadditionquinoahasm oreantioxidantactivitythanmanyothergrains. Antioxidantshelpprotectcellsfromdamagecausedbyfreeradicalswhichformduringmetabolismandinresponse. .

Bob Enderlin
Bob Enderlin

Certified social media aficionado. Freelance web junkie. Hardcore pop culture maven. Hipster-friendly food specialist. Total analyst.

Leave Message

Required fields are marked *