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Top Iron-rich foods list - Benefits, effects of deficiency

Team AckoJan 17, 2024

Iron is one of the most important minerals that our body needs to function properly. Its main job is to transport oxygen throughout the body. Unfortunately, our body cannot make iron on its own and depends upon iron-rich foods to meet our daily requirements. Here we have listed important information about iron-rich food items, the effect of deficiency and more.




List of high iron-rich foods

Following is the list of foods high in iron content. The following table also lists iron-rich foods for women, kids, babies, and pregnant women*.

* Pregnant women should consult with a doctor for diet plans.

Food Iron content (approx.) More information
Turkey Iron is abundant in turkey, and dark turkey meat. Iron content in 100 gms (3.5 ounces) of dark turkey flesh is 1.4 milligrammes. White turkey flesh, on the other hand, only offers 0.7 mg of iron. Dark turkey meat has high B vitamins and minerals concentration and 28 g of protein. Due to its high protein content, turkey meat helps people lose weight by making them feel full and preventing them from overheating.
Tofu (the best iron-rich food for vegetarians) 3.4 mg of iron is present in a serving of 126 grams of tofu. Additionally, each dish contains 22 g of protein. Add tofu to your food list as a high-protein, high-iron food. Soy-based snacks have a good amount of thiamine, selenium, calcium, and other crucial elements.
White Beans Canned white beans, which include 7.83 mg of iron, are an option for people who don't want to soak and prepare raw beans. White beans are among the majority of foods high in iron. One cup of white beans has 5.08 mg of iron for consumers. Please be aware that manufacturers may add a lot of sodium to canned white beans to preserve them.
Meats (Iron-rich protein source) 7.62 mg of iron are present in a 3 oz portion of chicken liver. Beef liver and pork sausage liver both have almost the same amount of iron: 4.15 mg and 5.44 mg. Meats are nutritious foods with a lot of iron. Here, the organ type and source determine the amount of iron present. For instance, organ meats are excellent providers of protein, selenium, copper, and B vitamins as well. Additionally, these are outstanding suppliers of choline, a nutrient crucial for the health of the liver and brain.
Iron-rich legumes and lentils A single serving of lentils contains 6.25 mg of iron. Lentils also have a significant amount of fibre (8 mg per serving). A substantial amount of protein, vitamins, manganese, and zinc can also be obtained. Because lentils cook more quickly than beans, they are a good choice for people seeking a quicker way to cure iron deficiency. These foods are healthy and rich in iron.
Spinach 3.21 mg of iron is present in a half-cup of boiling, drained spinach. One of the veggies with high iron content is spinach. Additionally to other nutrients, it also has vitamin C and A. Iron absorption is effectively increased by vitamin C. Further, people can benefit from carotenoids, antioxidants that lower cancer risk, reduce inflammation, and protect the eyes from numerous disorders.
Pumpkin Seeds Those who eat 1 ounce (28 gms) of pumpkin seeds will take in 2.5 mg of iron. Iron-rich foods like pumpkin seeds are good for you. By including pumpkin seeds in their diets, people can obtain vitamins (such as Vitamin K) and minerals (such as zinc and manganese). Magnesium is abundant in pumpkin seeds, which reduces the risk of diabetes, insulin resistance, and depression.
Soybeans 4.54 mgs of iron may be found in half a cup of soybeans. Soybeans are among the foods high in iron on the list. Despite the widespread belief that soybeans are a good source of plant-based protein, people should not discount their high iron levels. Soybeans can help people restricted from eating plant protein and ensure their diets are high in protein and iron.
Dark chocolate Iron content in 3 oz of dark chocolate is 6.82 mg. Dark chocolate is one of the best meals that are high in iron. Additionally, dark chocolate's antioxidant properties aid in disease prevention by defending cells from free radical damage. Remember that each serving of dark chocolate contains 170 calories. Therefore people need to be careful only to eat the recommended portion size.
Baked Potatoes Iron in 1 medium roasted potato with skin exceeds 3 mg. On the list of foods with a high iron content are baked potatoes. Baked potatoes include a sizable amount of vitamin C and B vitamins. Also, it's a good source of potassium, which regulates fluid balance, nerve signals, and muscle contractions.
Iron-rich bread and cereal One cup of fortified cereal can provide 18 mg of iron to a person. This quantity is high enough to raise the body's overall iron content. Cereals for breakfast contain a lot of iron. Grains also include a lot of fibre, which eases constipation and lowers the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Don't forget to select a fortified cereal with 100% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of iron.
Oysters These are a great source of iron because only 3 ounces have 7.82 mg of this element. Copper, zinc, manganese, and vitamin B12 are best found in oysters. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in fat. Even though oysters provide a variety of nutritional advantages when eaten raw, it is healthiest and safest to eat them cooked.

How Much Iron Do You Need to Reap Health Benefits?

A person may need different amounts of iron in the body depending on age and gender. Here are the Iron requirements as per age to help you understand the daily requirement.

Age Approximate iron required per day
0-6 months (Iron Rich Foods for Babies) 0.27 mg
7-12 months 11 mg
1-3 years 7 mg
4-8 years 10mg
9-13 years (male) 8mg
14-18 years (male) 11mg
19+ years (male) (Iron Rich Foods for Adults) 8mg
9-13 years (female) 8mg
14-18 years (female) 15mg
19-50 years (female) (Iron Rich Foods for female) 18mg
51+ years (female) 8mg
Lactating Women 9-10mg
Pregnant Women 27mg

Why is iron necessary for the body?

Iron is necessary for a healthy body for the following reasons.

  1. Increased oxygen supply: A component called Haemoglobin is necessary to increase oxygen supply to damaged tissues, cells, and organs, strengthening the immune system and assisting in the battle against infection and germs. Therefore, consuming meals high in iron is crucial to hasten tissue regeneration and avoid cell damage.

  2. Higher energy levels: Iron is necessary for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the body's tissues. People are capable of breathing enough oxygen without iron. Iron also aids in converting food energy into adenosine triphosphate, the body's primary energy source. People will feel tired and exhausted if they do not consume meals high in iron since there will be less Adenosine Triphosphate in their bodies. Therefore, consuming foods high in iron is crucial to boosting energy levels.

  3. Increased strength: Iron-deficiency anaemia affects athletes' ability to perform because it impairs the function of transporting oxygen. Athletes must consume iron-rich foods to enhance athletic performance and provide a steady energy supply during vigorous physical activity.

  4. Better cognitive functions: The metabolism of the brain depends on iron. Iron exerts both immediate and long-term effects on brain development and cognitive function. Therefore, people must consume foods high in iron to improve mental performance.

  5. For healthy pregnancy: During pregnancy, blood volume and the formation of red blood cells rise, as more blood is needed to provide the foetus with nutrition and oxygen. As a result, iron counts are also in higher demand. What else? A low intake of iron can harm the ability to absorb nutrients during pregnancy because the body improves its ability to absorb iron. Low iron intake during pregnancy can also result in preterm birth, low birth weight, and a compromised immune system. 

What are the effects of iron deficiency?

Iron deficiency can have many adverse effects on the body. We have listed the most prominent ones in the following list.

  1. Light skin: Other typical signs of iron deficiency include paler-than-normal skin and lower eyelid interiors that are light in hue. Blood is red because of haemoglobin, found in red blood cells; low levels brought on by an iron shortage make the blood less red. Because of this, iron deficiency might cause skin colour or heat loss.

  2. Tiredness: One of the most prevalent signs of iron deficiency anaemia is extreme fatigue. Even if they haven't been given an iron deficiency diagnosis, individuals who don't have enough iron frequently experience this symptom. This weariness results from your body not having enough iron to produce haemoglobin, a protein that aids in transporting oxygen throughout your body.

  3. Headache: An iron deficiency can cause headaches, especially in menstruating women. Numerous mechanisms, including the link between altered dopamine function and oestrogen levels, are thought to be at work by researchers. The cause-and-effect connection between a lack of iron and headaches is still unclear. Although there are many causes of headaches, an iron deficiency may result in frequent, persistent headaches.

  4. Breathing difficulty: Thanks to haemoglobin, your red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body. When haemoglobin levels are low due to iron deficiency, oxygen levels are similarly low. This suggests that normal activities like walking will be challenging since your muscles won't receive enough oxygen. Your breathing will quicken due to your body attempting to absorb more oxygen. Breathing difficulties are a typical sign of this.

  5. Palpitations: Heart palpitations, and noticeable heartbeats, are yet another sign of iron deficiency anaemia. Although the connection between anaemia, iron shortage, and heart issues is still being researched, it may be related to oxygen availability. Low haemoglobin means the heart needs to work harder to pump oxygen when there is an iron deficit. This could cause your heart to beat erratically or give you the impression that it is doing so. As a result, heart diseases like coronary heart disease and heart failure may worsen if you are iron deficient.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some common questions about iron deficiency. Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] in case of any questions.

How is iron deficiency diagnosed?


If you are feeling symptoms of iron deficiency, your doctor will order a blood test to determine complete blood count (CBC), blood iron levels, haemoglobin levels, and ferritin levels.

Which are iron-rich fruits?


Fruits like Strawberries, Dates, Prunes, Raisins, Figs, Watermelon, Dried apricots, etc., are rich in iron.

Can iron deficiency lead to a heart attack?


Low iron causes the heart to work harder, which can cause exhaustion, breathlessness, and a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet. As this content piece is not vetted by a medical professional, please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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