Iron-Rich Foods That Must Be Included In Your Diet

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Haemoglobin transports oxygen throughout the body and iron is a crucial mineral for this process. Organ failure can result from even a mild iron deficit, which may cause anaemia (fatigue and weakness).

If you have too much iron in your system, you’re putting yourself at risk for organ damage like heart disease and liver disease.

Overdoses of iron are extremely unusual, and they are mainly caused by people taking supplements, not by the body itself. 

Natural food sources of iron, such as those listed below, are regarded as safe and healthful.

Beef, seafood and dried fruit as well as beans and lentils as well as dark greens, chocolate and quinoa are some of the foods strong in iron that you can consume.

The current daily value (DV) for iron is 18 milligrammes (mg).

As we have discussed above, what is iron and why is it needed for our body? Now check out the best foods which are rich in iron and should be involved in the diet.

  1. Shellfish

    Besides being delicious, shellfish is also high in nutrients. All shellfish contain iron, but clams, oysters, and mussels are particularly high in the mineral.

    To give you an idea, a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of clams has up to 3 milligrammes of iron, which is 17 per cent of the DV.

    There are many different varieties of mussels, so it’s impossible to say exactly how much iron they contain.

    His body can more readily absorb heme iron from seafood than non-heme iron from vegetables.

  2. Chickpeas

    Just because iron is found in animal products doesn’t imply that plant-based foods can’t also help you reach your goal.

    There is around 3.7 mg of iron per cup of chickpeas, which makes them a great source of iron. They also contain 14.6 grammes of lean, plant-based protein per cup.

    Adding chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, to salads and pasta is a wonderful way to spice up the food, and they can also be used to make salsa.

    For those who don’t like the texture, you can make your iron-rich hummus by pureeing chickpeas.

  3. Poultry, Red Meat & Fish

    When it comes to nutritious, low-calorie recipes for those who aren’t vegan or vegetarian, the options are nearly endless.

    Hb levels will be maintained if these foods are a frequent component of your diet.

    Research shows that persons who eat a diet rich in chicken, beef, and fish are less susceptible to iron deficiency.

    There are 2.7 milligrammes of iron in 100 grammes of lean beef. B-complex vitamins, selenium and zinc, as well as protein, are all essential nutrients for the human body.

  4. Pumpkin Seeds

    During Halloween, don’t be fooled by the crunchy seeds that begin to appear.

    If you follow the USDA’s recommendation, you can get 2.7 milligrammes of iron per 1-ounce serving from raw pumpkin seeds that don’t have shells.

    Toss the seeds in homemade trail mix, bread, or muffin recipes, or serve them as a crunchy garnish over yoghurt, cereal, or salad as an alternative to nuts.

    Even on their own, they’re an easy and nutritious snack with 7 grammes of protein in just one serving.

  5. Dark Chocolate

    Chocoholics will savour the fact that dark chocolate contains a surprising amount of iron for such a sweet treat.

    The daily value for iron in three ounces of dark chocolate is 39 per cent (7 mg).

    Take advantage of the iron and vitamin C that dark chocolate provides by eating it on its own or by eating it dipped in strawberry sauce.

  6. Nuts

    The iron found in nuts, such as pistachios, cashews, and almonds, is a healthy source.

    Pistachios have 3.9 milligrammes, cashews have 6.7 milligrammes, and almonds contain about 5.4 milligrammes of iron for every 100 grammes.

    Nuts are a fantastic source of protein, healthy fats, and a slew of other nutrients.

    Using them may lower your chance of developing cancer and heart disease, as well as assist you in your quest for a healthier weight.

  7. Tofu

    Among the vegan diet, many staples are commonly deep-fried tofu. On average, tofu has 4.14 mg of iron in every 3-oz serving.

    Plant-based iron sources are especially significant for vegetarians because iron is the most plentiful in animal products.

    Vegetarians and vegans do not have to suffer from an iron deficiency as a result.

    Vegetarians can achieve their iron needs by consuming a wide variety of foods, including tofu and soybeans.

  8. Mushrooms

    In oyster mushrooms, the iron content is two times more than in regular shiitake mushrooms.

    As a result, iron deficiency symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, and headaches are alleviated with it.

    Some forms of cancer can be prevented by consuming mushrooms because of their high quantities of anti-oxidants.

  9. Turkish Meat

    An excellent source of protein, turkey flesh is also delicious. A good source of iron can be found in dark turkey meat, especially.

    After a meal, protein increases your metabolic rate while also making you feel fuller.

    Turkey meat, for example, is high in protein, which may help you lose some extra weight and maintain a good level of haemoglobin.

  10. Legumes

    There are a lot of nutrients in legumes. Beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, and soybeans are some of the most prevalent varieties of legumes.

    Vegetarians and vegans alike can benefit from the iron they contain in these foods. A cup of cooked lentils (198 grammes) contains 6.6 milligrammes, which is 37 per cent of the DV for this nutrient.

    Beans, such as black beans, navy beans, and kidney beans, can all help you readily boost your iron supply.

    About 1.8 grammes of iron, or 10% of the DV, can be found in one half-cup serving of cooked black beans.

    Aside from protein and fibre, folate, magnesium, and potassium can be found in legumes.

  11. Red Meat

    Meat from animals raised for their red blood cells. A good supply of heme is lean red meat, like a hamburger.

    A 100-gram portion of cooked ground beef contains 2.47 milligrammes of iron, which is 15% of the recommended daily iron intake for premenopausal adult women.

    Red meat’s heme iron boosts the absorption of non-heme iron from other foods, including leafy greens, which are being eaten at the same time.

  12. Quinoa

    Quinoa is a type of grain that is native to America. Pseudocereal quinoa is a well-known grain.

    Cooked quinoa provides 2.8 milligrammes of iron or 16 per cent of the daily value.

    It is also gluten-free, making quinoa an excellent alternative for anyone with celiac disease or other food intolerances.

    Besides being a good source of protein, quinoa is also strong in magnesium, copper and manganese plus a host of other minerals.

Why Is Iron Important For Body?

Every one of us has some amount of iron in our bodies. Enzymes use it to carry out a variety of functions in the cell. Haemoglobin, for example, accounts for around two-thirds of the body’s iron concentration.

The study shows that in the absence of iron, your body cannot produce enough healthy red blood cells to deliver oxygen throughout your body.

Deficiency in red blood cells is the primary cause of anaemia and iron deficiency. Lack of iron in the diet can cause symptoms such as anaemia, oxygen deficiency, and other respiratory issues.

Heme and non-heme iron are the only two forms of iron that can be found in foods. Without vitamin C, non-heme iron is poorly assimilated by the body.

It is common to find heme iron in animal foods. Iron is also very important for children and toddlers too.

Amount of Iron Our Body Needs to Function Well

Dietary intake recommendations for iron are affected by many variables, such as age and stage of life. Women need 18 mg of iron daily, on average, but most adult males need only 8 mg.

The amount of iron needed by pregnant women rises to 27 mg per day while lactating women require 9-10 mg per day. In nutrition labelling, the daily value for iron is based on 18 milligrammes.

An iron shortage can be prevented by making sure your diet includes plenty of healthy sources of iron, such as meat, fish, and poultry.

Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency anaemia can arise when the body does not have enough iron. Your red blood cells are affected by iron-deficiency anaemia, a blood disease.

As far as anaemia goes, this is the most frequent. Your red blood cells can’t deliver oxygen throughout your body if your body doesn’t have enough iron to generate haemoglobin, a chemical found in your red blood cells.

The iron shortage may make you feel exhausted or run down. These signs and symptoms accumulate over time, according to the research.

If an iron shortage is found, you may be given iron supplements but as the most famous saying – “Prevention is Better Than Cure”, you should take enough iron-rich foods to prevent iron deficiency in the body.


Hemoglobin is made up of iron, an essential mineral for the transport of oxygen, which is required so that our cells can generate ATP and other forms of energy.

Red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body, require iron to function properly. Because of this, you’ll be exhausted and dizzy. 

That’s why iron is necessary for our body. We have discussed various information related to it and provided a list of the top 12 iron-rich foods which must be included in the diet.