Need to up your iron intake? Well, this list of the top 12 iron-rich foods should help! Generally speaking, foods with an iron content of 1 – 5 mg per serving size are considered to be “good” sources of iron, and those with more than 5 mg of iron per serving are considered to be “excellent” sources of iron. The following 12 foods are not only the highest in iron, but are also found at most grocery stores and can be easily incorporated into your diet.
These tasty morsels, that many also believe to be an aphrodisiac (oh là là), can contain up to a whopping 12 mg of iron per 100 g (3.5 oz.) serving!
It may not be everyone’s favourite, but with the endless amount of liver recipes online you’re sure to find one that pleases your taste buds! Liver (from beef, poultry, or lamb) contains anywhere from 4.9 to 12 mg of iron per 100 g (3.5 oz.) serving. To put this into perspective, that’s a piece about the size of a deck of cards. On a side note, organ meats are not recommended for those with high cholesterol.
Not only does it warm you up on a cold Canadian winter’s day, oatmeal can also lower cholesterol in addition to containing high amounts of iron. Have it for breakfast, bake up a batch of oatmeal cookies, or add it to your meatloaf. Dry instant oatmeal contains 4.5 – 6.6 mg of iron per ¾ cup serving.
Cream of Wheat
Another way to stay warm on a cozy winter day; just ¾ cups of cooked cream of wheat contains 5.7 to 5.8 mg of iron!
Cereal offers a super easy way to get more iron in your diet since all types of dry cereal contain anywhere from 2.0 to 14 mg of iron for a 100 g serving (be sure to check the product label). As a guide, here are the recommended serving sizes from Breakfast Cereals Canada.
Dry cereal straight from the box makes a great quick snack for adults as well as babies! Also keep in mind that adding milk can potentially inhibit iron absorption.
Beans, Beans, and More Beans
Beans can be your best friend when it comes to eating an iron-rich diet! Soybeans can contain from 5.14 mg (dry, boiled) to 15.7 mg (dry, raw) of iron per 100 g serving, and other beans (white, black, kidney, and navy) contain anywhere from 2.6 mg to 4.9 mg per 100 g serving.
You don’t even need to like spinach to be able to use it in your diet. ‘Hiding’ it in a fruit smoothie, pasta sauce, soup, or baking it into muffins, cakes, or cookies is just brilliant. Just ½ cup of cooked spinach contains as much as 3.5 mg of iron.
You know how I just mentioned that you can “hide” spinach in your pasta sauce for those who aren’t fans of the leafy green? Well, you get even more iron if your pasta sauce contains tomato puree since a ½ cup contains 2.4 mg of iron.
Beef (regardless of cut) gives you anywhere from 1.4 to 3.3 mg of iron in every 100 g (3.5 oz.) serving. And that includes ground beef – yes, also great to add to the pasta sauce I keep going on about – which is incredibly versatile and a favourite with kids and adults alike!
You don’t need to be a vegetarian to enjoy tofu, which happens to contain anywhere from 0.79 mg (silken, light) to 9.7 mg (koyadofu, freeze dried) of iron per 100 g (3.5 oz.) serving.
Roasted Pumpkin or Squash Kernels
These crunchy snacks contain an impressive 8.07 mg (dried) and 8.82 mg (roasted) of iron in approximately ¾ cup!
A ¾ cup of cooked lentils contains between 3.3 mg (boiled) and 7.54 mg (raw) of iron. While most are familiar with adding them to soup, there are some great Italian recipes (like this one) in which you can incorporate them into pasta. Yum!
Well there you have it – the top 12 iron-rich foods! So, what’s on your menu for dinner tonight?
* Iron content obtained from the Canadian Nutrient File
Content and advice provided on The Iron Maiden is for information purposes only and should not serve as a substitute for a licensed health care provider, who is knowledgeable about an individual’s unique health care needs