Best foods with iron for baby
Iron | Nutrition | CDC
What Does Iron Do?
Iron is a mineral that has many functions. Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen through the body and supports a child’s ability to learn. Having enough iron in the body can help prevent iron deficiencyalert icon and iron deficiency anemia.alert icon
What Happens If My Child Does Not Get Enough Iron?
If your child does not get enough iron, your child may develop anemia.alert icon Anemia is when there are not enough red blood cells in the body or your child’s ability to carry oxygen throughout the body is lowered. There are many causes of anemia. In young children, one common cause is not enough iron. Children who do not receive enough iron either from iron-rich foods or supplements are at greater risk for developing anemia.
When Does My Child Need Iron? And How Much?
All children need iron. It is important at all stages of your child’s development. Babies fed only breast milk, only formula, or a mix of breast milk and formula have different needs when it comes to iron.
Talk to your child’s doctor or nurse about your child’s iron needs at his or her next check-up.
Preterm babies often need more iron than full-term babies.
In addition, preterm babies may need extra iron beyond what they get from breast milk or infant formula. Talk to your child’s doctor or nurse about your child’s iron needs at his or her next check-up.
- Talk with your child’s nurse or doctor about if your child needs iron supplements before 6 months old.
- Once your child starts to eat foods, it is important to give foods with iron to meet nutritional needs.
- Your child’s iron needs can be met by standard infant formulas for the first 12 months of life.
- Choose a formula that is fortified with iron. Most commercial infant formulas sold in the U.S. contain iron.
- Standard iron-fortified infant formulas contain enough iron (12mg/dL) to support your growing child’s needs.
- Once your child starts to eat foods, introduce your child to foods that contain iron.
Mix of Breast Milk and Formula
- Once your child starts to eat foods, it is important to give foods with iron to meet nutritional needs pdf icon[PDF-30.6MB]external icon.
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Once My Child Starts to Eat Solid Foods, How Can I Make Sure My Child Gets Enough Iron?
When your child is about 6 months old, you can start giving solid foods to your child. Make sure to choose foods that contain iron. Iron found in foods comes in two forms: heme and non-heme iron.
Heme iron is commonly found in animal products and is more easily absorbed by the body. Sources of heme iron include:
- Red meat (for example, beef, pork, lamb, goat, or venison)
- Seafood (for example, fatty fishexternal icon)
- Poultry (for example, chicken or turkey)
Your child needs to be screened for anemia.
At around 12 months, your child’s doctor or nurse will likely test to see if your baby has anemia. Anemia can occur among children who do not get enough iron. Talk to your child’s doctor or nurse about anemia and iron at your baby’s next check-up.
Non-heme iron can be found in plants and iron-fortified alert icon products. This type of iron is less easily absorbed by the body and will require careful planning to get enough iron for your baby. Sources of non-heme iron include:
- Iron-fortified infant cereals
- Beans and lentils
- Dark green leafy vegetables
Pairing non-heme iron sources with foods high in vitamin C can help your baby absorb the iron he or she needs to support development. Vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetablesexternal icon include:
- Citrus fruits like oranges
- Sweet potatoes
- Dark green leafy vegetables
Making sure your child is getting enough iron is important. Some children may need more iron than others. Talk to your child’s doctor or nurse about iron at your child’s next check-up.
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50 Iron-Rich Foods for Babies, Toddlers & Kids
If it’s time to start introducing solid foods to your growing baby, you may start hearing about iron. You might be wondering: What is iron, why should I care about it, and how can I make sure my baby or toddler gets enough? Let’s take a look.
What Are Iron-Rich Foods?
Iron comes from both plant and animal sources. Some foods that are high in iron include:
- Meat, poultry and seafood
- Legumes (beans, peas, lentils)
- Dark leafy greens
- Nuts and seed
- Dried fruits (dates, raisins, apricots)
- Enriched cereals and grain products
Related: Not sure what to feed your baby? Discover the best first foods for babies.
What Is Iron?
- Iron is a mineral that plays an essential role in human health.
- It helps our red blood cells do their primary job: transport oxygen to cells throughout the body.
- Infants’ bodies and brains depend on it for growth and development.
Why Do Babies Need Iron?
During the last few months of pregnancy, newborns build up a store of iron from the nutrients they get in utero (thanks, Mom!). This store of iron lasts for their first 4-6 months of life. (1)
When that supply of iron is diminishing, it becomes important that babies start getting iron from their own diet. By the time those iron stores from birth are running low, many babies are ready to start eating solid foods, so it’s a great idea to make sure those first bites include the iron that older babies need.
Babies who are born early or have other risks of iron deficiency might have had less of a chance to build up their iron supply during pregnancy, and may need iron earlier on in life. If this is a concern, your pediatrician can help determine if and when iron supplements are necessary.
Related: What you should know about toxic heavy metals in baby food.
Iron-Rich Food Ideas for Babies
Serving iron foods to your baby doesn’t have to be a challenge. Here’s a list of snacks and meals that are high in iron and appropriate for babies who are starting solids.
- Ground beef, chicken or turkey crumbles or meatballs/patties
- Canned tuna, salmon or pureed sardines mixed with yogurt or mashed avocado
- Commercially prepared baby food beef, lamb, pork or turkey
- Sweet potato (pureed, mashed or cut into spears)
- Mashed or soft cooked beans
- Pureed, mashed or whole green peas
- Edamame paste spread thin on toast
- Enriched pasta with marinara sauce
- Soft cooked lentils mixed with mashed potato
- Applesauce mixed with crushed pumpkin seeds or pumpkin seed butter
- Oatmeal mixed with crushed nuts or smooth nut butter
- French toast sticks
- Chia seed pudding
- Applesauce or oatmeal with ground sesame seeds
- Soft mango slices rolled in an iron-rich topping like crushed cereal or infant cereal
- Avocado spears rolled in ground pumpkin, sesame or hemp seeds
- Oatmeal with pureed pumpkin or sweet potato
Related: Teach your baby to use their pincer grasp with these pincer grasp activities.
Iron-Rich Food Ideas for Toddlers
Congratulations, your baby is now a toddler! From age 1-3, iron remains an essential part of the diet, but the amount they need drops down to about 7 mg per day. Your growing toddler will be ready and able to handle the more advanced textures and tastes of what’s on your plate, but you should stay mindful of choking hazards. Here’s a list of iron foods for toddlers.
- Tuna salad on crackers or toast
- Hummus dip with pita bread, cucumber and bell pepper spears
- Chili with beans
- Quesadilla with refried beans with salsa dip
- Nut butter and jelly (or sliced berries, pears or banana) sandwich
- Sesame noodles
- Pumpkin pancakes or muffins with strawberries
- Oatmeal with raisins and hulled hemp seeds
- Spaghetti with meatballs or meat sauce
- Pasta with pesto sauce
- Lentil soup
- Burritos made with lentil or ground beef filling
- Whole grain dry cereal with orange slices
- Peanut butter, banana and strawberry smoothie
- Smoothies with leafy greens, berries and hemp seeds
Related: Learn even more about what to feed two-year-olds.
Iron-Rich Foods for Older Kids
Got older kids? Here are more ideas for how to serve foods high in iron to kids.
- Nut butter on toast with sliced banana and chia seeds
- Iron fortified breakfast cereal with fruit
- Breakfast smoothie with nut butter, fruit and yogurt
- Yogurt parfait with berries, pepitas and granola
- Spaghetti and meat sauce
- Minestrone soup
- Lentil soup or chili
- Nut butter and banana roll-ups or sandwiches
- Shrimp and veggie stir-fried noodles
- Peanut mango chicken wraps
- Burrito bowls with meat and/or beans, salsa or diced tomato, olives and cheese
- Veggie sticks with hummus
- Pumpkin seeds
- Roasted chickpeas
- Trail mix with Cheerios, nuts and raisins
- Orange chocolate date balls
- Sesame snaps
How Much Iron Do Babies and Toddlers Need?
From 6 to 12 months old, babies need about 11 mg of iron per day in their diets. That’s a lot of iron! It’s more than young kids need. It’s almost as much as a teenager needs, and teenagers have a lot more room in their tummies to work with!
From age 1-3, iron remains an essential part of the diet, but the amount of iron a toddler needs drops down to about 7 mg per day. (2)
To give you an idea (3):
- ½ cup of canned black beans contains 2.3 mg iron
- 1 ounce canned salmon contains .33 mg iron
- ½ cup of cooked Swiss chard contains 2 mg iron
- 1 ounce of cooked ground beef contains .83 mg iron
- ¼ cup fortified infant oat cereal contains 6.8 mg iron
- ½ cup cooked, mashed sweet potato contains 1.2 mg iron
- ½ cup of Cheerios cereal contains 1.8 mg iron
Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean that your sweet, little 6-month-old needs to start eating steak every day. But it should help you see that you have to make the most of the small amounts of food your baby eats each day as they start solid foods.
Remember, it’s not important that babies get all of their iron in one sitting, or even that they get exactly 11 mg each and every day. Start small, and offer iron-rich foods at each meal and snack time. By the time your baby gets accustomed to solid foods, they’ll be well on their way to meeting their iron needs.
Related: Is your child a picky eater? Read our expert tips for managing picky eating.
If my older baby or toddler is still nursing or drinking formula for most of their diet, don’t they get everything they need from that?
That depends. All babies need iron. While breast milk continues to provide most of the nutrients your baby needs to grow and thrive, it is not a good source of iron. Also, iron from a nursing mom’s diet does not transfer into her milk. So, breastfed babies will need their first solid foods to be rich in iron to meet their needs.
Most commercial infant formulas are fortified with iron, so babies who use formula for the majority of their diet will depend less on solid foods to meet their iron needs.
Related: Need help feeding your 1-year-old? Read more about what 1-year-olds eat.
Do I need to give my baby vitamin drops?
There are many factors that can increase a baby’s risk of iron deficiency. For these babies, iron supplementation might be a good idea. Talk to your pediatrician if you’re concerned about your child’s iron needs. Iron deficiency is common in infants and children. A quick and easy blood test can screen for iron deficiency at your baby’s next well visit.
Do I need to worry about my child getting too much iron?
Generally speaking, you don’t need to worry about your baby or toddler getting too much iron from foods. Babies who are exclusively breast or formula fed using an iron-fortified infant formula, and begin eating solid foods like vegetables, fruits, meats and beans around 6 months of age do not need to worry about getting too much iron.
Babies who are mostly formula fed with an iron-fortified formula should not take an additional iron supplement (or multivitamin containing iron) unless directed by their doctor. If you use a multivitamin with iron, be sure to keep it out of reach from all children in the house, as these supplements are not treats but are often designed and flavored to be very appealing to kids. Getting too much iron from supplements can be harmful.
Related: Learn what’s normal and what’s not when your toddler isn’t eating much.
Iron hacks for busy parents
Sometimes it can seem overwhelming to meet your baby’s iron needs in the small bites that actually make it into their stomachs! A couple of tips to make it a little easier (4,5,6):
- Some types of iron are easier for the body to absorb. Iron from animal products like meat, poultry and fish (called heme iron) is more readily absorbed than iron from plant sources, iron supplements and iron-fortified foods (called non-heme iron).
- You can increase absorption of non-heme iron foods by pairing them with foods that are high in vitamin C, like broccoli, tomatoes and strawberries. This is a great tip for babies, kids and adults alike!
- Iron-fortified cereals and other grains are an easy way to boost iron intake throughout the day.
- Think outside the bowl! Iron-fortified cereals can be used as ingredients in baked goods, casseroles, or other mixed dishes. Check the manufacturer’s websites for recipe ideas.
- Boost the iron content of soft foods like mashed avocado, sweet potatoes, or bananas by adding a spoon full of iron-fortified oatmeal. If you’re doing baby-led weaning, cut these items into spears and roll them in cereal. As a bonus, it can make slippery foods easier to hold!
- Make the most of WIC cereals! If you’re eligible for WIC, take advantage of the cereals in your food package: they are all iron-fortified.
- There is evidence that cooking certain foods in cast-iron cookware can increase its iron content and reduce iron deficiency, so if you are a fan of your cast-iron pan, keep using it!
Related: Create your toddler’s eating schedule in 5 steps.
If you need help getting your toddler to eat foods with iron, download our free picky eating guide.
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- Baker RD, Greer FR. Diagnosis and prevention of iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia in infants and young children (0-3 years of age). Pediatrics. 2010;126(5):1040-1050.
- Otten, J. J., Hellwig, J. P., & Meyers, L. D. (2006). DRI, dietary reference intakes: The essential guide to nutrient requirements. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019. Fdc.nal.usda.gov.
- H C Brittin, C E Nossaman. Iron content of food cooked in iron utensils. J Am Diet Assoc. 1986 Jul;86(7):897-901PubMed
- Adish A.A., Esrey S.A., Gyorkos T.W., Jean-Baptiste J., Rojhani A. Effect of consumption of food cooked in iron pots on iron status and growth of young children: A randomised trial. Lancet (Lond. Engl.) 1999;353:712–716 PubMed
- Sharma S, Khandelwal R, Yadav K, Ramaswamy G, Vohra K. Effect of cooking food in iron-containing cookware on increase in blood hemoglobin level and iron content of the food: A systematic review. Nepal J Epidemiol. 2021;11(2):994-1005. PubMed
10 iron-rich foods (list)
Iron is an essential trace element needed by all living organisms. It helps to synthesize collagen and serotonin, supports the immune system and is involved in metabolic processes . But the main function of iron is cellular respiration. This microelement is part of hemoglobin, the protein that makes up red blood cells. It is iron that helps blood cells to bind oxygen and deliver it to the tissues, and then remove the exhaust carbon dioxide from the body. By the way, it also stains the blood red.
Our body is unable to produce iron on its own. He gets it from food, so it is important that the diet is varied. There are two types of iron: heme and non-heme. The former is absorbed more efficiently . It can be found in meat, fish and seafood. The source of the second is plant food. Here is a list of foods with the highest iron content of both types. Including them in the diet will help replenish the micronutrient reserves.
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Daily intake of iron
Women aged 19-50 need iron the most. They need to receive at least 18 mg of the trace element per day. During pregnancy, the need for it increases to 27 mg. Adolescents 14–18 years of age also require an increased iron content: girls - 15 mg, boys - 11 mg. The average daily intake of iron for adult men and older people of both sexes is 8 mg . It increases significantly with intensive sports, regular heavy physical exertion and heavy menstruation.
Foods high in iron
- Red meat
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dark chocolate
Almost all types of shellfish are rich in iron. Thus, one hundred-gram serving of oysters contains about 3 mg of iron, which is 17% of the daily requirement . In addition, this amount also provides 24% of the Daily Value of Vitamin C and 4% of the Daily Value of Vitamin B12. Shellfish are also low in calories, high in protein, and increase levels of "good" cholesterol, which prevents heart disease.
Liver, kidneys, brain, heart, stomachs and other offal contain large amounts of iron. Although not everyone likes their taste, offal often surpasses meat in terms of nutritional content. For example, to get 36% of the daily value of iron and meet the daily requirement for vitamin A, it is enough to eat only 100 g of beef liver . In addition, offal is a good source of protein, copper, selenium and choline, which is important for the liver.
It is the main source of easily digestible heme iron. At the same time, the darker the meat, the more this trace element in it. One 100 gram steamed ground beef patty contains 2.7 mg of iron. This fills the daily requirement by 15% . Meat also serves as a source of protein, zinc, selenium, and B vitamins. But poultry is not so rich in iron: in 100 g of turkey, its content does not exceed 0.7 mg .
© Andrijana Bozic /Unsplash
Such a rich set of nutrients, as in spinach, is rare. It contains folate, lutein, beta-carotene, calcium, vitamins A and E. In addition, 100 g of the product replenishes 15% of the daily iron requirement. It is non-heme, but at the same time it is quite well absorbed due to the high concentration of vitamin C in spinach. Doctors advise to boil the leaves a little - this will help reduce the amount of oxalic acid, which prevents the absorption of iron .
But keep in mind: 100 g of fresh spinach is a big package. It is designed for several people, and it is hardly possible to eat it at a time. In addition, spinach tends to accumulate nitrates, which are often used in its cultivation. Buy the product in trusted farm shops or in special organic packages. Or try growing it yourself - on the windowsill. In winter, instead of fresh spinach, you can take frozen: all its beneficial properties and taste are preserved.
This is a must have for vegetarians and vegans. Legumes are one of the best plant sources of iron. Chickpeas, peas, lentils, beans, soybeans - choose what you like. One cup of boiled lentils contains 6.6 mg of iron. This is 37% of the daily norm . And half a cup of boiled beans is enough to fill 10% of the daily requirement for an element . In addition, legumes give a feeling of satiety for a long time and allow you to reduce calorie intake .
Pumpkin seeds can be a snack option. 100 g of the product contains 9 mg of iron, or half of the daily recommended amount . But you can't get carried away with them. First, it can cause problems with the gastrointestinal tract. Secondly, pumpkin seeds are very nutritious. A 100-gram serving provides the body with 559 kcal. To increase your iron levels without harming your health, add a small handful of seeds to your salad, porridge, or soup.
South American groats are often used as a substitute for cereals containing gluten. Add 100 g of boiled seeds to your favorite salad to replenish 8% of the daily iron requirement . Unlike traditional cereals, quinoa is rich in protein containing essential amino acids . Interestingly, our body perceives quinoa as a protein from cow's milk.
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A diet rich in broccoli helps improve eyesight, reduces inflammation and slows down aging. Broccoli cleanses the body, removes cholesterol and excess sugar. Use it as a side dish — a glass of cooked broccoli provides 6% of your daily iron requirement . To get the most benefit, steam broccoli for no longer than 5 minutes. This will help preserve vitamin C.
Making tofu is like making cheese from milk, which is why many people call it soy cheese. In terms of its nutritional properties, it is almost as good as dairy products - for this, vegans and people with lactose intolerance fell in love with it. 100 g of tofu contains 17 g of protein, which is easily and quickly absorbed by the body. In addition, the same amount of the product helps to cover 15% of the daily requirement of iron .
Chocolate not only brings pleasure and stimulates the production of the “hormone of happiness”, but also helps to normalize iron levels. Choose chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa . Nutritionists advise eating no more than a quarter of a chocolate bar a day. This will be enough to compensate for 17% of the daily iron requirement, improve the intestinal microflora and improve mood.
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Why iron deficiency is dangerous
Iron deficiency usually has no symptoms at first. But if you do not replenish its reserves on time, you can provoke the development of iron deficiency anemia . Its main symptoms are: weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, pallor, drowsiness, loss of appetite, heart palpitations and headaches . There may be a desire to eat something inedible - chalk, clay, paper or ice. With a lack of iron, the cells begin to "suffocate", which is why many vital metabolic processes are disrupted in the body.
Iron deficiency also contributes to reduced immunity and a high risk of infections . In addition, it is one of the causes of hair loss. The trace element is responsible for delivering oxygen to the follicles, thereby strengthening and nourishing the roots. With its deficiency, the hair becomes dry and weak and may begin to fall out . Among other external signs: sores in the corners of the mouth, dry skin, brittle exfoliating nails. According to a study by Japanese scientists, in some cases, iron deficiency causes depression .
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If you notice signs of iron deficiency, seek medical attention. He or she will order blood tests, identify the source of the problem, and be able to create a treatment plan tailored to your individual needs.
Evgeniya Maevskaya, MD, gastroenterologist and nutritionist GMS Clinic
How often do you need to take a blood test to find out about iron deficiency in time?
The frequency depends on many factors: general health, clinical signs of overt or latent deficiency, being at risk for iron deficiency, or the presence of chronic diseases, including the gastrointestinal tract.
For a potentially healthy person, it is enough to monitor blood counts every six months. However, a general analysis is not enough. At a minimum, it should be supplemented by a study on serum iron and ferritin, otherwise signs of a latent deficiency can be missed. In some cases, a more rare test is needed - for soluble transferrin receptors. This is determined only by the doctor.
Is it possible to make up for iron deficiency only through plant foods? What is your advice for vegetarians and vegans?
Treatment of anemia with dietary iron alone is not possible due to its low content and low bioavailability. Anemia is treated only with iron supplements.
Vegetarians and vegans should eat as varied a diet as possible, including vegetable sources of iron such as sea kale. Shrimps, mussels, and sea fish can serve as a good source of iron if allowed. It is better for vegetarians to undergo an examination and make sure that there is no atrophy in the stomach and problems in the intestines. With atrophy and insufficient acidity of the stomach, the transition of non-heme iron from plant foods to the digestible heme form is significantly difficult, which means that it will not be absorbed.
What to do if a person notices symptoms of iron deficiency?
At the first symptoms of iron deficiency, you should consult a doctor. It is important not only to correct the deficiency, but, most importantly, to identify its cause. It is impossible to do this on your own.
Why is excess iron in the body dangerous?
The so-called iron overload is certainly dangerous. It can lead to damage to internal organs, fibrosis in organs and tissues. There is also evidence of direct damage to the genetic apparatus of cells. Most often, the liver, pancreas and myocardium suffer - this manifests itself in the form of toxic cardiomyopathy and arrhythmias. This situation is more likely with parenteral or enteral uncontrolled administration of iron. Diet cannot be the cause of excess iron.
Iron in the diet | Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
This information tells you how to get the right amount of iron to keep you healthy.
Iron is a mineral that the body needs to make red blood cells. Red blood cells store oxygen and transport it throughout the body. Iron is also found in many proteins and enzymes that help maintain health.back to top of page
Daily Value for Iron
The Institute of Medicine recommends a certain amount of iron according to age and gender. These recommendations are listed below in the Recommended Daily Intake of Iron table. Iron is measured in milligrams (mg).
Recommended Daily Allowance for Iron
|7-12 months||11 mg||11 mg|
|1–3 years||7 mg||7 mg|
|4-8 years||10 mg||10 mg|
|9-13 years old||8 mg||8 mg|
|14-18||11 mg||15 mg|
|19–50 years old||8 mg||18 mg|
|51 and older||8 mg||8 mg|
Iron deficiency anemia
If your body does not get enough iron, you can develop a disease called iron deficiency anemia. This can happen if:
- your diet is deficient in iron;
- you have recently received chemotherapy or radiotherapy;
- you have a chronic (long-term) disease;
- you have lost some blood (for example, as a result of heavy menstrual bleeding, in an accident or during surgery).
If you have low iron levels, your health care provider may prescribe iron supplements. Taking iron supplements will help bring your iron levels back to normal quickly. The amount of iron your health care provider recommends you take may be higher than the amount shown in the Recommended Daily Allowance for Iron table.
Taking large amounts of iron can cause indigestion and constipation (when you have fewer bowel movements than usual). Tell your healthcare provider if you have these or any other problems while taking iron. Do not take any supplements without first consulting with a healthcare professional.
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Figure 1. Iron content on nutrition labels
To maintain normal iron levels, eat foods with a high iron content. The iron content of foods is listed on the nutrition label (see Figure 1). On nutritional labels, the amount of iron is listed as a percentage (%) of the Daily Value. The daily intake of iron is 18 mg.
- If the proportion of daily intake is 5% or less, the food is considered to be a poor source of iron.
- If the proportion of intake of the daily value is 10-19%, this product is considered to be a good source of iron.
- If the proportion of intake of the daily value is 20% or more, this product is considered to have a high iron content.
You can accurately calculate the amount of iron in a product. To do this, multiply the daily iron intake (18 mg) by the percentage of the daily requirement in 1 serving of the product. For example, if a nutrition label states that a product contains 50% of the Daily Value for iron, then multiply 18 mg by 50% (by 0. 5). The result of multiplying 18 by 0.5 is 9. This means that one serving of this product contains 9 mg of iron.
The daily iron intake in the Recommended Daily Allowance for Iron table is provided as a guideline. You may need more or less of it. Check with your health care provider to find out how much iron you need to consume each day.back to top of page
How to help the body absorb iron
Animal iron, or heme iron, is best absorbed by the body. Plant-based iron, or non-heme iron, is less easily absorbed by the body. Non-heme iron is found primarily in plant-based foods such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, and leafy greens.
You can help your body absorb more iron by doing the following.
- Eat both iron and vitamin C rich foods or supplements at the same meal. Examples of foods rich in vitamin C are oranges, other citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, and strawberries.
- Eat iron-rich foods, both animal and plant-based. For examples of animal and plant sources of iron, see the How to Choose Foods with Iron section.
- Use a cast iron skillet to cook foods with a high iron content. This will increase the iron content of the food.
- If your health care provider has prescribed iron supplements for you, ask them if you should take them in 2-3 small doses or 1 large dose. Your body will absorb more iron if you take it in smaller doses distributed throughout the day. Drink one glass (8 ounces (240 ml)) of water with each dose.
Certain activities make it difficult for the body to absorb iron. Follow these guidelines.
- If you drink coffee or tea, drink it between meals, not during them. This applies to all types of coffee and tea, including regular coffee, decaffeinated coffee, black and green tea.
- Do not consume more than 30 grams of fiber per day.
- Do not eat foods high in calcium and high in iron at the same time. Dairy products and calcium-fortified juices such as orange juice are examples of high calcium foods.
How to choose iron foods
Use a kitchen scale to measure foods listed in ounces.
Animal sources of iron
|Source||Amount of iron|
|Beef, Meats & Organs, Spleen, 3 oz (90 g)||33.5 mg|
|Chicken liver, 3 oz (90 g)||11.6 mg|
|Cuttlefish, 3 oz (90 g)||9.2 mg|
|Oysters, 3 oz (90 g)||7.8 mg|
|Mussels, 3 oz (90 g)||5.7 mg|
|Liverwurst Pate, ¼ cup (70 ml)||4.9 mg|
|King Crab, 3 oz (90 g)||2.5 mg|
|Clams, 3 oz (90 d)||2.4 mg|
|Ground beef, 3 oz (90 g)||2.3 mg|
|Lamb, 3 oz (90 g)||1.5 mg|
|Canned anchovies, 1 oz (30 g)||1. 3 mg|
|Chicken, 3 oz (90 g)||0.9 mg|
|Turkey drumstick, 3 oz (90 g)||0.9 mg|
|Pork, 3 oz (90 g)||0.8 mg|
|Egg, 1 large||0.8 mg|
|Salmon, 3 oz (90 g)||0.6 mg|
|Scallops, 3 oz (90 g)||0.5 mg|
|Turkey breast, 3 oz (90 g)||0.5 mg|
|Shrimp, 3 oz (90 g)||0.3 mg|
Plant sources of iron
|Source||Amount of iron|
|Total flakes ™ ¾ cup||18 mg|
|Grape-Nuts Flakes ® ½ cup||16.2 mg|
|Multi Grain Cheerios Flakes ® ¾ cup||6.1 mg|
|Cream of Wheat ® ½ cup||6 mg|
|Sesame seeds, ¼ cup (70 ml)||5. 2 mg|
|Fiber One Flakes ™ ½ cup||4.5 mg|
|Raising Spice Oatmeal, ¾ cup (210 ml)||4 mg|
|Dried apricots, ½ cup (140 ml)||3.8 mg|
|Wheat germ, ½ cup (140 ml)||3.6 mg|
|Lima beans, ½ cup (140 ml)||2.9 mg|
|Nut mix, ½ cup (140 ml)||2.5 mg|
|Red beans, ½ cup (140 ml)||2.5 mg|
|Sunflower seeds, ½ cup (140 ml)||2.4 mg|
|Walnuts, ½ cup (140 ml)||2 mg|
|Cooked spinach, ½ cup (140 ml)||1.9 mg|
|Dark Chocolate (60-69%), 1 oz (30 g)||1.8 mg|
|Black beans, ½ cup (140 ml)||1.8 mg|
|Raisins, ½ cup (140 ml)||1.5 mg|
|Dried figs, ½ cup (140 ml)||1.5 mg|
|Chickpeas, ½ cup|| 1. |