Iron Rich Foods

The amount and type of iron in your diet is important. Some iron-rich foods are:

Meat & Eggs

  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Ham
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Veal
  • Pork
  • Dried beef
  • Liver
  • Liverwurst
  • Eggs (any style)

Seafood

  • Shrimp
  • Clams
  • Scallops
  • Oysters
  • Tuna
  • Sardines
  • Haddock
  • Mackerel

Vegetables

  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • String beans
  • Beet greens
  • Dandelion greens
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Chard

Bread & Cereals

  • White bread (enriched)
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Enriched pasta
  • Wheat products
  • Bran cereals
  • Corn meal
  • Oat cereal
  • Cream of Wheat
  • Rye bread
  • Enriched rice

Fruit

  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon
  • Raisins
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Prunes
  • Prune juice
  • Dried apricots
  • Dried peaches

Beans & Other Foods

  • Tofu
  • Beans (kidney, garbanzo, or white, canned)
  • Tomato products (e.g., paste)
  • Dried peas
  • Dried beans
  • Lentils
  • Instant breakfast
  • Corn syrup
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses

Are some foods with iron better than others?

Food has two types of iron — heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is found in meat, fish and poultry, and is the form of iron that is most readily absorbed from your stomach and taken up into your body after you eat it. Non-heme iron is found in plant foods as well as meat. Foods with non-heme iron are still good to eat, but the iron contained in these foods won’t be absorbed as completely as heme iron. You absorb up to 30 percent of heme iron, found only in animal tissues (meat, poultry, and fish). You absorb 2-10 percent of non-heme iron, found in plant foods as well as meat.  Eating meat generally boost your iron levels far more than eating non-heme iron. When you eat heme iron with other sources of non-heme iron, the iron is more completely absorbed. Foods high in vitamin C, like tomatoes, citrus fruits and red, yellow and orange peppers can also help with the absorption of non-heme iron.