Diet and Nutrition

Foods That Will Boost Your Iron Intake

Iron is a vitally important nutrient for your body. It is one of the building blocks of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout the body. Despite the importance of iron, deficiencies are very common and come along with some serious symptoms which include weakness, fatigue, vertigo, and hair loss. In children, iron deficiencies can even cause developmental issues.

These deficiencies are most often found in women. They can be caused by excessive bleeding in menstruation and in pregnancy, as well as chronic bleeding through injury, prescription and recreational drugs, blood donation, and digestive problems. It is vitally important to consume adequate amounts of iron in your daily diet. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that women of birthing ages should consume 18-mg of iron each day. Thankfully, many foods are naturally rich in iron.

Here are 11 amazing foods that will boost your iron intake!

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1. Beef Liver

Beef is one of the most famous foods rich in iron. It is the first recommended food for people to eat when they are deficient. Beef liver is particularly wonderful as it contains more iron than any other part of the cow. 100 grams of beef liver give 6.5 mg of iron, which is 36% of your daily recommended intake. Enjoy beef liver fried with onions for a down home comforting meal.

2. Soybeans

You don’t think of vegetables as being high in iron, but they can be great foods for getting your daily intake. Vegetables have non-heme iron, meaning they don’t come from animals. This type of iron is better regulated by the body than heme iron. Soybeans are an amazing supply of iron, providing 9.3 mg in a 250 ml sized serving. This is 52% of your daily recommended intake. Enjoy soybeans in tofu for an easy way in getting it into your diet.

3. Clams

Sweet and succulent, clams are a delicious way to boost your iron. Try adding baby clams into pasta and salad dishes for a great source of protein and iron. Amazingly, 100 grams of clams have 28 mg of iron, which is 155% of your daily recommended intake! You can find clams fresh, frozen, and canned. Don’t worry about them losing iron through the canning process. Canned clams are a convenient and healthy way to get this seafood in your diet.

4. Spinach

Leafy greens are brilliant foods for their nutrients and antioxidants, but spinach is the king of the salads. Spinach contains more iron gram for gram than ground beef. Some studies have found that a compounds in spinach can inhibit the absorption of iron into the body. It’s a good thing that spinach is packed with iron so that even if some isn’t absorbed, it’s still doing great things for you. Spinach contains 3 mg of iron per 85 grams, for a total of 17% of your daily recommended intake.

5. Mussels

Mussels are one of the best protein sources available. If you live near the ocean, they may also be one of the most affordable options. Mussels contain 6.7 mg of iron per 100 grams. This totals 37% of your daily recommended intake. Enjoy mussels as a starter to a nice dinner, or as a healthy main course. Be careful when storing live mussels- they can die easily when put in contact with fresh water. It is best to buy them and use them the same day.

6. Spirulina

This amazing food is made from cyanobacteria It is a whole food, meaning that it is left in a pure form for consumption. You can find spirulina as tablets, flakes, and a powder. Spirulina is a great sources of protein, but is low in active B12. Some companies advertise that it is high in B12, but the type in spirulina cannot be absorbed by the human body. A small 15 gram portion of spirulina contains 4.3 mg of iron, which is 24% of your daily recommended intake.

7. Pork Liver

Pork liver is not just a Christmas treat in the form of pâté. This delicious spread is an amazing source of iron and protein. Liver is naturally high in fat and so is high in calories. You can find low fat pâté in large grocers specialty sections. Enjoy pork liver pâté on bread for a high protein, high iron breakfast. 100 grams of pork liver contains 18 mg of iron, which amounts to 100% of your daily recommended intake of iron.

8. Lentils

Beans are great sources of non-heme iron. Lentils are a great source of iron, as are white beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and more. Beans are a great option for vegetarians and vegans to get adequate amounts of iron in their diet. Enjoy beans as a replacement to meat in many of your favorite meals. Beans also make a great side dish and are brilliant pureed or in soups. Lentils contain 7 mg of iron in 250 ml, which amounts to 39% of your daily recommended intake.

9. Oysters

Oysters are not just for fancy dinner parties or romantic dates. Many types of oysters are affordable and easily attainable when they are in season. You can find oysters in large supermarkets or at your local fishmonger. Enjoy oysters raw or barbecued when buying them fresh. If making oyster dressing, frozen oysters are a more affordable yet still delicious option. Oysters contain 12 mg of iron per 100 grams. This adds up to 67% of your daily recommended intake.

10. Ginger

This deliciously spicy root is a wonderful food additive. Ginger has been shown to treat nausea and morning sickness, but its benefits don’t end there. It is currently being researched for anti-cancerous properties. Ginger is an important ingredient in Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Indian dishes. This rhizome is high in iron, making it a delicious addition to your diet. Snack on candied ginger or drink ginger tea for a great boost in iron. Ginger contains 3.4 mg of iron in 30 grams, which adds up to 19% of your daily recommended intake.

11. Fortified Cereal

If you are having trouble getting natural sources of iron, then consider fortified cereals. Whole grains are high in iron, and many processed food companies add iron to their products. Rice Krispies are a great option, with 11 mg of iron per serving. Other cereals you can find with added iron include cream of wheat, corn flakes, and oatmeal. Look for packaging that indicates the product has added iron and check the nutrition label to understand just how much iron is in your serving.

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