20 Healthy Foods That Are High In Iron
Iron is a vital nutrient contained in food and an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in oxygen transportation and supports body functions. As your body is unable to produce the mineral, you should consume iron daily.
Food contains two different iron, i.e., heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron is easily soaked in around 30% of the body and is in fish, meat, and poultry. Non-heme iron is not as easily absorbed by the body as heme iron but is significant for a balanced diet and nutrition.
If you are looking to increase your iron intake, here are 20 healthy foods that are high in iron.
1. Red Meat
Red meat is a food high in heme iron, but its amount depends upon the type of meat. Beef meat provides 2.47 milligrams (mg) of iron, lamb contains 1.78 mg of iron, venison includes 4.98 mg of iron, and veal supplies 1 mg of iron per 100 grams.
Besides this, it also includes protein, zinc, and selenium, per Health Line. The experts advise people who eat meat are unlikely to have iron deficiency, and red meat is easily available and very important for people who are vulnerable to anemia.
The healthy and delicious Turkey meat is a good source of iron, alongside other vitamins and minerals. It supplies 13% of the daily recommended iron value. Dark turkeys contain 1.4 mg of iron in every 3.5-ounce portion, whereas white turkeys retain 0.7 mg in the same amount.
Besides, Turkey is a high protein food as Dark Turkey has 28 grams of protein which help in weight loss. The other benefit includes increasing metabolic rates and even helping to control muscle loss & muscle growth and care.
The nutritious and delicious Shellfish is naturally loaded with iron content, while Clams, lobsters, and Oysters are good iron sources. Clams may provide 3 mg of iron serving 3.5 ounces (100 grams), delivering 17% of the DV. Meanwhile, lobster contains 1.33 mg of iron, and oysters supply 3.9 mg of iron.
Being an omega-3 fatty acid good source, Shellfish helps elevate heart health and improve blood condition. It is loaded with healthy fats, protein, and micronutrients, which assist in weight loss, upgrade immunity, and stimulate brain health.
The egg is a nutritious food rich in iron, along with protein and other vitamins. Boiled eggs contain 1.2 mg of iron per every 100 grams, which indicates it delivers 4% of the DV and helps to boost energy levels and your immune system.
Egg yolks are a source of vitamins and minerals that benefit brain development. It also contains antioxidants that aid your kidney, lungs, heart, and other organs. The high protein in eggs helps lower blood pressure, improves muscle mass, and enhances bone health.
Fish and its varieties like mackerel and tuna are high in iron. 3.5 pounds (100g) serving of mackerel may contain up to 1.63 mg of iron. In the same amount, salmon deliver 0.23 mg, and a serving of tuna may contain 1.02 mg, delivering 8% of the daily value.
A highly nutritious ingredient, fish is a high-quality protein with low fat and is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, other minerals, and vitamins. It assists brain health, increases immune function, improves muscle function, and helps healthy growth.
Besides this, haddock and sardines are iron-rich fish you can contain in your diet.
One 3-ounce piece of octopus presents more than 8 milligrams of daily iron, as it is a naturally high source of iron. It is one of the best for seafood, having a high nutritional significance, as it includes vital minerals and vitamins.
Also, it has packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which help to lower blood pressure, body development and improve heart health while reducing stress. If you are managing your diet, octopus can be a great healthy option being low in fat and calories.
7. Liver And Meats Organs
Incredibly nutritious organ meats like the liver, brain, kidneys, and heart are high in iron. In fact, 3 ounces (100g) of beef livers deliver an impressive 36% daily value as it contains 6.5 mg of iron. Meanwhile, the liver is high in vitamin A, and serving 3.5 ounces of liver supplies an exceptional 1,049% daily value.
Also, organ meats are rich in vitamins, selenium, and copper and high in protein, which helps to strengthen the liver & bones, support muscle growth & immune health, appetite control, reduce toxic load, and improve cognitive performance.
The nutritious green vegetable spinach delivers 15% of the DV, including 2.7 mg of iron per 100 grams. However, it isn't observed very well in our body being on-heme iron. Besides, it is very beneficial for your hair, skin, and bone health as being rich in multiple minerals and vitamins.
It is a good source of vitamin C and vitamin E, both are antioxidants that help protect the eyes. Consuming dark leafy vegetables absorb the carotenoids in your body and aids in weight loss, lower cancer risk, decreases blood sugar, keeps your body relaxed, reduces cholesterol, and prevention of age-related macular degeneration.
The food packed with nutrients legumes, a class of plant foods made up of beans, like lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas, and soybeans, are the source of iron, mainly for vegetarians. Merely one cup (198 grams) of cooked lentils supplies an impressive 37% of the DV, containing 6.6 mg of iron.
Meanwhile, only half-cup (86g) of cooked 'black' beans delivers 10% of the daily value, providing 1.8 mg of iron.
The beans like navy beans, 'black' beans, and kidney beans help boost your iron intake. Legumes and beans' health benefits are lower blood sugar & pressure, low risk of heart disease, cell damage prevention, and decreased calorie intake.
Chashews is the tasty and nutritious nuts packed with iron. Only an ounce (30g) filling of cashews may contain 2mg of iron, but you cannot easily absorb iron from cashews. It also includes other essential minerals, vitamins, and health-beneficial components.
It is filled with magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids and rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Incorporating cashews into your diet can have various health benefits, increase immunity, encourage weight loss, decrease microbial infections, control blood sugar, and improve metabolism and heart health.
11. Chanterelle Mushrooms
Just one cup (179g) serving of chanterelle mushrooms provides around 1.9 mg of iron, equivalent to 10% of DV. Besides this, it is a good source of vitamins, and raw chanterelles supply 9% of the recommended intake. However, you can consume only 250 grams weekly to gain health benefits.
It provides vital minerals and is rich in copper, which supports maintaining a healthy nervous system, reduces inflammation, protects from cell damage, enhances the immune system, iron metabolism, improves brain health, and decreases the risk of developing cancer.
12. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are packed with iron along with vital nutrients protein, fiber, copper, calcium, and vitamins. Unhulled seeds deliver 24% of the recommended iron, while hulled provide 10% of the RDI. For example, just a half-cup (100gms) supply of sesame seeds may provide up to 14.6 mg of iron.
You can consume raw sesame seeds regularly, one tablespoon. Consuming sesame seeds daily helps to enhance your hemoglobin levels, reduce swelling, lower cholesterol & blood pressure, aid blood cell formation, and boost iron absorption.
13. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds is packed with iron as serving only one ounce (28 grams) of pumpkin seeds provides 14% of the DV, including 2.5 mg of iron. Additionally, pumpkin seeds are a source of magnesium, zinc, and vitamin K.
Simply one ounce of pumpkin seeds supplies 40% of the DV, that benefit in lowering diabetes, insulin resistance risk, depression, and controlling blood pressure. Being rich in antioxidants helps to decrease inflammation and protect cells.
Incorporating pumpkin seeds helps to downsize certain cancer risks, improve bladder health, and uphold healthy bones.
14. Prunes And Prune Juice
Simply one cup of prune juice may provide 3 milligrams of iron, indicating 17% of the daily value. Meanwhile, a 1/4 cup of prune juice includes 0.37 mg or 2% of the DV. However, the dried fruit prunes only retain 0.93 mg of iron per 100 grams.
Prunes include antioxidant polyphenols which assist in improving digestion and cardiovascular health. Besides this, it contains essential potassium and vitamins for our body which helps to build bones, decrease cholesterol levels, and lower blood pressure & appetite.
Quinoa, known as a pseudocereal, is a healthy grain high in iron. Just 1 cup (185g) of cooked quinoa contains 2.8 mg or 16% of the daily recommended iron. It is a better option for celiac patients or people suffering from gluten intolerance, as it does not contain gluten.
Among additional grains, it is high in protein with all the crucial amino acids and rich in other nutrients like magnesium, folate, manganese, and copper. As a great source of fiber, consuming Quinoa daily helps to prevent or treat constipation and reduce intestinal cancer risks.
It is also good for blood sugar control as it has a low glycemic index.
16. Dried Fruit
The nutritious dried fruits like raisins, apricots, and prunes are loaded with iron and other essential vitamins and minerals. One cup of apricots may provide 8mg of iron, which is 42% of the DV. Meanwhile, per cup of dried raisins delivers an impressive 24% of the DV for iron per serving.
These dry fruits are rich in calcium, proteins, and other essential nutrients, which support bone health by strengthening them. It can also normalize blood pressure, control cholesterol levels, and lower heart disease risk.
Some dry fruits contain antioxidants that help safeguard cells from damage caused by free radicals.
In versatile and nutrient-rich food tofu, you can find around 5.4 milligrams of iron if serving 100 grams of tofu, while half-cup of tofu supplies 19% of DV, containing 3.4 mg of iron. Made from soybeans, a naturally iron-rich food, tofu contributes to your iron intake, mainly if you follow a plant-based diet.
Tofu also presents other health benefits as it is an excellent source of protein and other minerals like calcium and magnesium. Being low in saturated fat and cholesterol, it is a heart-healthy protein option for your diet routine. It also supports muscle function and bone health.
18. Bread And Cereals
Bread and cereal naturally have high levels of iron, so it donates to your iron intake if they are fortified with iron. 100 grams of white bread contain 3.6 mg of iron, while cereal contains 34.1 mg of iron.
Iron-fortified bread and cereals provide an extra source of essential minerals, which is helpful for individuals who may have problems obtaining enough iron from other dietary sources. It helps to reduce the nutrient deficiency risk and prevention from disease.
Serving one cup (156g) of broccoli delivers 6% of DV, containing 1 mg of iron, which means its iron content is somewhat modest compared to other iron-rich foods. Just 100 grams of this vegetable exceed the daily dose of Vitamin C and enhance iron absorption as it packs 112% of the DV.
A nutrient-rich vegetable broccoli, originating from the same family as kale, cauliflower, and cabbage, these products deliver numerous health benefits, such as being an incredible source of dietary fiber, vitamins C and K.
It helps to lower inflammation, boost immunity, enhance blood sugar control, and stimulate heart health.
20. Dark Chocolate
Delicious Dark chocolate contributes a high amount to your overall iron intake. In a 100-gram serving of dark chocolate, you can find around 11-12% of the DV, as it contains 5.38 to 10.12 mg of iron.
Also, it is calorie-dense and includes other nutrients, such as antioxidants and minerals like magnesium. It also retains potassium, calcium, zinc, and other vitamins. As it is rich in flavanols, plant chemicals, dark chocolate assist to reduce heart disease risk, enhances blood flow, elevates energy levels, and lowers the blood sugar level.
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