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Food Sources of Iron

Updated on June 30, 2012

Knowing the food sources of iron will help us improve our daily iron intake. Consequently, we can choose wisely what to eat in improves our health and well-being.

Food sources of iron
Food sources of iron | Source

Why do we need to know the food sources of iron?

Iron, as a mineral is found in animals and plants. The food sources of iron vary. It is abundant in some foods and scarce in others. More so, there are substances present in other foods that either hasten or inhibit iron absorption from iron-riched foods. With that, it's important to know the many food sources of iron in order to get the most nutrients from our diets.

Food sources of iron

Let's divide the food sources of iron according to its type - heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron comes from the hemoglobin of animals. This food source of iron is more easily absorbed by our body. Non-heme iron on the other hand comes from chemically structured iron contents of fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy products.

The food sources of iron coming from animals include:

  • beef
  • chicken
  • beef liver
  • pork liver
  • chicken liver
  • cod fish
  • turkey
  • seafoods such as clams and oysters

The food sources of iron from plants and dairy include:

  • legumes
  • soy beans
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • pumpkin seeds
  • kidney beans
  • oatmeal

Getting more from the food sources of iron

Adding foods rich in Vitamin C and lactic acid in our diets improve the absorption of non-heme food sources of iron. More so, refraining much foods with polyphenols, oxylates, phytates as well as calcium may improve our iron absorption.

Another way to get the most from the food sources of iron is to incorporate heme and non-heme iron in your meals. Pork liver steak or any dish with pork liver with steamed spinach and other legumes. You'll enjoy all the health benefits of pork liver as well as the iron and antioxidant contents of your chosen vegetables.

How much iron should I take everyday?

According to Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the recommended dietary allowance of iron for an average male is 8mg/d; for women, it is 18mg/d. Pregnant women need higher iron because they are at higher risk of iron deficiency. Seek your doctor's advise however before consuming any iron supplements. Be mindful that iron deficiency is just as seriously as iron toxicity.


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    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

      Thanks peggy! I like to know what really goes in my body.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      You always provide good information in all of your food and health related hubs. Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • author009 profile image

      author009 6 years ago from India

      Everything is well but calcium interfere Iron absorption, It is proved. Although you have written it helps.

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 6 years ago from Bangkok

      Thanks mounika!

    • mounika1111111111 profile image

      mounika1111111111 6 years ago from India

      you have given very useful hub...... iron is very useful to our body