Iron is a mineral that is commonly found in food and supplements. Dietary iron comes in two forms: heme and nonheme. Nonheme iron is typically located in plants, whereas meat and seafood contain heme iron. As a component of hemoglobin, iron helps move oxygen from the lungs to the body’s tissues and muscles. Basically, the less iron in your body, the less healthy red blood cells your body will create.
It’s safe to say that iron is an essential element to our health, though while trying to keep up with our nutrition, it’s often overlooked. Iron deficiency is associated with a poor diet or malabsorptive disorders, and a continuing lack of iron results in anemia.
If you want to up your levels of iron, we’ve supplied a list of ten foods that will get the job done:
(note: the recommended daily amount of iron is 18mg for women, 10mg for men.)
1. Chicken Liver
Chicken liver may not be the most appetizing food on the list, but it’s certainly one of the highest in iron. An ounce of chicken liver contains 3.6mg of iron, about 20% of your daily value.
Like many plants, spinach contains nonheme iron. It should be noted that lower doses of iron are in nonheme foods, meaning that plants won’t carry as much iron as meats. Still, a cup of spinach covers 4% of your daily value.
Boiled lentils are extremely high in iron, as a cup covers 36% DV, about 3mg.
Oysters are a great low-calorie food that has very high levels of iron. Just a three-ounce serving has 36%DV, and it’s also high in protein, Vitamin B-12, and magnesium.
5. Canned White Beans
Beans and legumes are loaded with iron, and white beans are no exception. Just a cup of canned white beans have 7.8mg of iron, about 44%DV.
6. Red meat
Meats, as mentioned previously, are very high in heme iron. A 3oz serving of beef carries 2.6mg of iron, 20%DV.
Tofu is mineral-friendly food, as it has high amounts of calcium, manganese, phosphorus, and, of course, iron. With 2mg of iron per serving, tofu is a go-to for catching up on your daily value needs.
8. Dark Chocolate
Just an ounce of dark chocolate contains around 3mg of iron, which makes it one of the most iron-rich foods on this list. Just a candy bar will get you near your daily value, but be careful, as this sweet is high in saturated fat.
Potatoes are healthy for several reasons, including its lack of fat, sodium and cholesterol. To go along with these positives, a medium potato has almost 2mg of iron, 10%DV.
Spices, such as chili powder, black pepper, and curry powder have surprisingly high amounts of iron. Just a tablespoon of black pepper will get you 3%DV, while a tablespoon of chili powder has 7%. By covering non-iron foods with these spices, you can cover all bases.