First of all Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. Generally, there are three levels of iron deficiency:
- The Depletion – The iron is almost gone, but there is no lack of functionality yet.
- Early iron deficiency – Starts messing with red blood cells creation.
- Prolonged iron deficiency – causes anemia, which is characterized by small red blood cell count, low hemoglobin levels. Symptoms are (pale skin, fatigue, nausea) are the result of an insufficient supply of oxygen and disrupted the functioning of all bodily processes that need iron.
The Iron deficiency causes can be:
- Rapid growth; deficiency due to rapid growth may occur in babies or children in adolescence period.
- If you are pregnant; the need for iron is increased to supply the fetus, placenta, and an increase in blood volume.
- Chronical bleeding in certain diseases.
- Diseases that cause a lower absorption of iron in the intestine (celiac disease, infections).
- Vegetarianism – because the availability of iron from plant sources is significantly lower than animal sources, vegetarians should watch out to consume enough iron supplements
- Regular and intense physical activity; the need for iron on very active people can be up to 30% higher than in inactive people
Food high in Iron
Iron is in food in two forms:
- Heme iron – which source are hemoglobin and myoglobin in foods of animal origin. Heme iron is usually only 10-15% of total iron in a diet but an astonishing 1/3 of all absorbed iron.
- Non-heme iron – is of plant and animal origin, but has a significantly lower biological value as heme iron, its absorption is significantly affected by other substances in the diet.
Check out our Healthy Iron Rich Food Recipes.
So what foods are high in iron?
|Breakfast cereals, fortified with 100% of the DV for iron, 1 serving||18||100|
|Oysters, eastern, cooked with moist heat, 3 ounces||8||44|
|White beans, canned, 1 cup||8||44|
|Chocolate, dark, 45%–69% cacao solids, 3 ounces||7||39|
|Beef liver, pan fried, 3 ounces||5||28|
|Lentils, boiled and drained, ½ cup||3||17|
|Spinach, boiled and drained, ½ cup||3||17|
|Tofu, firm, ½ cup||3||17|
|Kidney beans, canned, ½ cup||2||11|
|Sardines, Atlantic, canned in oil, drained solids with bone, 3 ounces||2||11|
|Chickpeas, boiled and drained, ½ cup||2||11|
|Tomatoes, canned, stewed, ½ cup||2||11|
|Beef, braised bottom round, trimmed to 1/8” fat, 3 ounces||2||11|
|Potato, baked, flesh and skin, 1 medium potato||2||11|
|Cashew nuts, oil roasted, 1 ounce (18 nuts)||2||11|
|Green peas, boiled, ½ cup||1||6|
|Chicken, roasted, meat and skin, 3 ounces||1||6|
|Rice, white, long grain, enriched, parboiled, drained, ½ cup||1||6|
|Bread, whole wheat, 1 slice||1||6|
|Bread, white, 1 slice||1||6|
|Raisins, seedless, ¼ cup||1||6|
|Spaghetti, whole wheat, cooked, 1 cup||1||6|
|Tuna, light, canned in water, 3 ounces||1||6|
|Turkey, roasted, breast meat and skin, 3 ounces||1||6|
|Nuts, pistachio, dry roasted, 1 ounce (49 nuts)||1||6|
|Broccoli, boiled and drained, ½ cup||1||6|
|Egg, hard boiled, 1 large||1||6|
|Rice, brown, long or medium grain, cooked, 1 cup||1||6|
* DV = Daily Value. DVs were developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help consumers compare the nutrient contents of products within the context of a total diet. The DV for iron is 18 mg for adults and children age 4 and older. Foods providing 20% or more of the DV are considered to be high sources of a nutrient.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Nutrient Database Web site lists the nutrient content of many foods and provides a comprehensive list of foods containing iron arranged by nutrient content and by food name.