Many women suffer from iron deficiency, or anemia, because we don’t eat enough iron dense foods, plus we lose iron during menstruation. For these reasons it’s extremely important that we add iron rich foods to our diet.
Iron deficiency anemia is also a problem with kids who are picky eaters. Check out the list below for foods high in iron, plus the foods you should and should not eat with them.
Absorption of iron from food is influenced by multiple factors. One important factor being the form of the iron. Heme iron, found in animal sources, is highly available for absorption. Non-heme iron on the other hand, found in vegetable sources, is less bio-available.
How much iron do I need?
- The recommended iron intake for men and post-menopausal women is 8 mg. The recommended intake for pre-menopausal women is 18 mg and the recommendation increases to 27 mg for pregnant women.
- Children ages 7 to 12 months need 11 mg, 1 to 3 years 7mg, 4 to 8 years 10mg, 9-13 years 8mg, 14 to 18 years 11 mg (for boys), 15 mg (for girls).
Iron Absorption Enhancers: eat these foods to increase the iron absorption of the foods below.
- Fruits: Orange, Orange Juice, cantaloupe, strawberries, grapefruit etc
- Vegetables: Broccoli, brussels sprouts, tomato, tomato juice, potato, green & red peppers
- White wine
Iron Absorption Inhibitors: these foods decrease the iron absorption.
- Red Wine, Coffee & Tea
- Vegetables: Spinach, chard, beet greens, rhubarb and sweet potato
- Whole grains and bran
- Soy products
List of Grains Rich in Iron:
- Brown rice, 1 cup cooked 0.8 mg
- Whole wheat bread, 1 slice 0.9 mg
- Wheat germ, 2 tablespoons 1.1 mg
- English Muffin, 1 plain 1.4 mg
- Oatmeal, 1 cup cooked 1.6 mg
- Total cereal, 1 ounce 18.0 mg
- Cream of Wheat, 1 cup 10.0 mg
- Pita, whole wheat, 1 slice/piece, 6 ½ inch 1.9 mg
- Spaghetti, enriched, 1 cup, cooked 2.0 mg
- Raisin bran cereal, 1 cup 6.3 mg
List of Iron Rich Legumes, Seeds, and Soy:
- Sunflower seeds, 1 ounce 1.4 mg
- Soy milk, 1 cup 1.4 mg
- Kidney beans, ½ cup canned 1.6 mg
- Chickpeas, ½ cup, canned 1.6 mg
- Tofu, firm, ½ cup 1.8 mg**
- Soy burger, 1 average 1.8 to 3.9 mg**
- Raw Spinach, 1 cup 1 mg**
- Cooked Spinach, 1 cup 3.5 mg **
- Pumpkin Seeds, ½ cup roasted 8.5 mg
- Pistachios, ½ cup 4.4 mg
List of Vegetables Rich in Iron:
- Broccoli, ½ cup, boiled 0.7 mg
- Green beans, ½ cup, boiled 0.8 mg
- Lima beans, baby, frozen, ½ cup, boiled 1.8 mg
- Beets, 1 cup 1.8 mg
- Peas, ½ cup frozen, boiled 1.3 mg
- Potato, fresh baked, cooked w/skin on 4.0 mg
- Vegetables, green leafy, ½ cup 2.0 mg
- Watermelon, 6 inch x ½ inch slice 3.0 mg
Other Foods Rich in Iron:
- Blackstrap Molasses, one tablespoon 3.0 mg
- Dates or Prunes, ½ cup 2.4 mg
- Beef, Pork, Lamb, three ounces 2.3 to 3.0 mg
- Liver (beef, chicken), three ounces 8.0 to 25.0 mg*
- Clams, Oysters ¾ cup 3.0 mg
- Dark meat Turkey ¾ cup 2.6 mg
- Pizza, cheese or pepperoni, ½ of 10 inch pie 4.5 to 5.5 mg
*Pregnant women should not eat liver because of the high Vitamin A content which can harm the baby.
**East with iron absorption enhancers.