12 Healthy Foods That Are High in Iron

Published : Apr 12, 2024 6 mins read

Iron is a vital mineral essential for various bodily functions, primarily in the production of hemoglobin, the protein responsible for carrying oxygen in the blood. It plays a crucial role in energy metabolism, immune function, and cognitive development. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, characterized by fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, and dizziness.

Prolonged deficiency may result in impaired cognitive function, decreased immunity, and developmental delays in children. Adequate iron intake from dietary sources like red meat, poultry, fish, beans, and fortified cereals is essential for maintaining overall health and well-being.

How Much Iron Should You Consume Every Day?

According to the National Health Services (NHS) the daily recommended amount of Iron is

• 8.7mg a day for men aged 19 and over

• 14.8mg a day for women aged 19 to 49

• 8.7mg a day for women aged 50 and over

Here are 12 foods rich in Iron

1. Shellfish

Shellfish is an excellent source of Iron. Every type of shellfish is rich in Iron, but clams, oysters, and mussels are particularly good. The main reason for these shellfish in your regular diet is that they are rich in heme Iron which your body absorbs more easily than the non-heme iron found in plants. Apart from this shellfish are also excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids which help to increase the levels of heart-healthy HDL cholesterol.

A 100g serving of clamp provides 3mg of iron which is 17% of daily value (DV). It also provides 26g of protein vitamin B12 (1).

2. Spinach

Spinach is low in calories and high in iron, making it a good source of dietary iron. 100g of raw spinach can provide up to 2.7mg of iron which is 15% of daily value (DV). (2)

Spinach is also full of other nutrients like Vitamin C which aids in Iron absorption. Along with that spinach is also rich in antioxidants called carotenoids, which may reduce your risk of cancer, decrease inflammation, and protect your eyes from disease.

3. Legumes

Legumes are the best source of Iron for vegetarians. Some of the most consumed legumes are chickpeas, beans, lentils and peas. Beans are a staple in many British diets and are the best foods to eat for iron deficiency. Half a cup or 86g of cooked black beans provides around 1.8mg of iron, or 10% of the daily value (DV). (3)

Legumes provide other benefits as well including weight management due to their high fiber content. Some studies have also found that beans and other legumes can reduce inflammation in people with diabetes.

4. Red Meat

Although people associate red meat with protein and cholesterol, it is also an Iron rich food. Red meat is the best source of heme iron making it an important food for people who are prone to anemia. Multiple research has found that people who consume red meat regularly are less likely to be anemic. A 100g of beef can provide 2.7 mg of iron, which is 15% of the daily value (DV). (4)

5. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are an excellent snack option that you can consume during any part of the day. They can be easily incorporated into smoothies, salads and other healthy snacks, making them the favorite food for fitness enthusiasts.
A 28g serving of pumpkin seed provides 2.5 mg of iron, which is 14% of the daily value (DV) (5). Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of vitamin K, zinc, and manganese.

6. Quinoa

Quinoa is a nutrient-rich, gluten-free grain-like seed, often considered a superfood. It's packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals like iron and magnesium. Benefits include improved heart health, weight management, and enhanced digestion.

Quinoa is a great Iron food source and provides 2.8 mg of iron, which is 16% of the daily value (DV) per one cup or 185g (6).

7. Turkey

Turkey is another great example of food rich in Iron especially dark turkey meat found in thighs and legs. A 100g serving of dark turkey meat provides 1.4 mg of iron, which is 8% of the daily value (DV) (7).

Dark turkey meat is also protein packed, providing 28g of protein and B vitamins and minerals including zinc and selenium.

8. Broccoli

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable packed with nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, fiber, and antioxidants such as sulforaphane. These nutrients contribute to improved immune function, bone health, digestion, and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.

Broccoli is a good source of Iron for vegetarians. It provides 1 mg of iron, which is 6% of the daily value (DV) per 150g of servings (8).

9. Tofu

Tofu is a popular plant-based protein made from soybeans. Tofu is versatile, mild in flavor, and can be used in various dishes as a meat substitute or in vegetarian and vegan recipes.

Tofu is rich in thiamine, calcium, magnesium, and selenium providing 22 grams of protein per serving. It also contains isoflavones, compounds associated with enhanced insulin sensitivity, reduced heart disease risk, and alleviation of menopausal symptoms.

A 126g serving of tofu provides 3.4 mg of iron, which is 19% of the daily value (DV) (9).

10. Dark Chocolate

Who doesn't love to indulge in dark chocolate? It is tasty and nutritious. A 30g serving of dark chocolate provides 3.4 mg of iron, which is 19% of the DV (10). It also contains nutrients like iron, magnesium, copper, and antioxidants such as flavonoids. These nutrients support heart health by improving blood flow, lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and may also boost brain function and mood.

11. Edamame

Edamame is young, green soybeans commonly consumed as a snack or added to salads and stir-fries. They're rich in protein, fiber, folate, vitamin K, and manganese. Edamame offers numerous health benefits, including improved bone health, heart health, digestion, and may aid in weight management due to its low calorie and high nutrient content.

Edamame provides 9.1 mg of Iron per 100g serving which is 30% of direct value (DV) (11).

12. Fish

Fish such as tuna are high in Iron. An 85g serving of canned tuna provides 1.4 mg of iron, which is approximately 8% of the daily value (DV) (12). Other than Iron fish, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of heart-healthy fat associated with many health benefits. They help to promote brain health, enhance immune function, and support healthy growth and development.


Iron is a vital mineral that provides multiple benefits to your body. Iron is essential for hemoglobin production, aiding oxygen transport in the blood. It supports energy metabolism, cognitive function, and immune health. Adequate iron intake promotes overall well-being.
Consider incorporating Iron rich foods mentioned in the blogs to fulfill your daily Iron requirements. Also, add Vitamin C rich foods as it helps to increase absorption. Finally, don’t focus on heme and non-heme iron consume both types of Iron rich foods.


1. What food is highest in iron?

The liver is one of the highest sources of iron, followed by other organ meats, such as kidneys. Other iron-rich foods include red meat, poultry, seafood, beans, and fortified cereals.

2. Which fruit is rich in iron?

Some fruits rich in iron include dried fruits like apricots, raisins, and prunes. Additionally, certain fresh fruits like watermelon, figs, and dried peaches also contain notable amounts of iron.

3. Are eggs high in iron?

Eggs are not particularly high in iron compared to other foods. However, they do contain some iron, with one large egg providing around 0.6 milligrams of iron.

4. Which vegetable has the most iron?

Among vegetables, spinach is known for its relatively high iron content. Other iron-rich vegetables include kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, and beet greens.

5. What are 5 iron rich foods?

Five iron-rich foods include:
• Red meat (beef, lamb)
• Liver (chicken or beef)
• Shellfish (clams, oysters)
• Beans (lentils, chickpeas)
• Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale)


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