Best Food Sources of Iron
Iron is one of many essential minerals that is required by the human body. It is responsible for transporting oxygen throughout your body and an iron deficiency can cause anemia, lightheadedness, fatigue and weakness. Iron also plays a role in the digestion of protein and is also responsible for the production of red blood cells. It is not produced by the human body so it is important that you get it through your diet or supplementation. Some supplements, however, are not easily absorbed, therefore, I recommend that you get as much of your RDA (recommended daily allowance) as possible, from food sources. For most healthy individuals, 18mg per day is the recommended amount, however, for those who are deficient might need more. Some women, might need more or less depending on their body. Best to consult a physician. Lets explore some food sources of iron.
Although, Iron is found in many foods, the most absorbable form of it is obtained from meat sources, however, this is not to say that the vegetable sources are completely useless. Although, they are not absorbed as easily, they are better regulated by the body, therefore, there is less of a chance of iron overdose as your body is able to get rid of it quickly and more efficiently. I suggest combining both sources for best results.
Best meat sources of Iron:
Beef – You really didn’t need an excuse to eat more deliciously juicy beef but here’s another one. A 100g of a lean roast contains just under 4mg of Iron. Since we usually eat much more than 100g, we get very close to our daily limit. A 6oz serving contains just over 6g of Iron.
Chicken Liver – The liver is probably one of the best sources of Iron. It’s not just chicken liver that contains Iron. Just about all kinds of animal livers have a healthy dose of Iron in them, however, chicken would be the safest bet as it has a relatively healthy amount of it. Not too much not too little. A 100g of chicken liver contains a healthy 13mg of Iron. Very close to the daily limit.
Seafood – Seafood such as mussels, clams, oysters and cuttlefish have a significantly higher amount of Iron than their other fishy counterparts. If you enjoy shucking some oysters, here’s some good news. A 100g contains just over 9mg. Have 200g and you’re done for the day!
Best non-meat sources of iron:
Spinach – Contrary to popular belief, spinach isn’t really the best source of Iron as many people will claim. Although, it has a bunch of other very useful benefits, a 100g of it only contains about 3g of Iron, which is decent, but not really the best vegetarian option.
Pumpkin Seeds – One of my favorite snack foods. Pumpkin seeds, while tiny, are packed with nutrients such as: healthy fats, protein, fiber and of course, iron. A 100g contains around 15mg of Iron. Make sure to choose the unsalted variety, because salted seeds and nuts can contain an insanely high amount of sodium, which isn’t good for anyone, unless you are sweating 24/7. Squash seeds also have a similar Iron content.
Dark Chocolate – Seems like the benefits to eating dark chocolate just keep on piling up! A 100g of dark chocolate (or cocoa) contains 17mg of Iron. Just shy of the total RDA. Don’t get too carried away with it though, dark chocolate is high in calories and (healthy) fats.
Mushrooms – This funky fungus is surprisingly quite high in Iron. A 100g contains just over 12mg of the essential mineral. Add it to your morning eggs for an Iron boost.