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What foods contain iron?

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Quick Answer

Foods that are rich in iron include 3-ounce servings of beef or chicken liver, mollusks, mussels, clams or oysters, all of which have 3.5 milligrams or more of iron per serving, according to WebMD. Three-ounce portions of cooked beef, sardines canned in oil and cooked turkey are good sources of iron, each providing 2.1 milligrams or more per serving.

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Full Answer

Ham, veal, halibut, perch, salmon, haddock, tuna and chicken in 3-ounce servings each provide 0.7 milligrams of iron. Iron is also found in lentils, spinach, and beans. All of these foods are "heme" iron foods, as opposed to "nonheme" iron foods. This is the same type of dietary iron that is added to foods that are marketed as iron-fortified or iron-enriched. Bodies absorb this type of iron more efficiently, although most dietary iron is actually in the nonheme form, according to WebMD.

Heme iron is iron that comes from hemoglobin. It is found in animal-based foods that at one time contained hemoglobin, including poultry, fish and red meats. nonheme iron, by contrast, comes from plant-based sources.

According to WebMD, around 50 percent of all pregnant women and 20 percent of all women in general are deficient in iron. Notably, only about 3 percent of men are iron deficient.

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