Mollusks, such as clams or oysters, as well as beef or chicken liver are all foods that are high in iron content. Other foods with lots of iron include beef, turkey and sardines. The type of iron found in these foods is called heme iron, derived from foods with hemoglobin.
Non-heme iron sources include breakfast cereals that have been enriched with iron, cooked beans, tofu and pumpkin seeds. Non-heme iron is found in most vegetables, which are the main source of this kind of iron. The human body, however, processes heme iron that is found in beef and chicken much easier, needing to consume less of it to meet dietary needs. Only foods that have hemoglobin content, or blood, contain heme iron, which the body absorbs through the upper intestines to help iron content.
Some foods and drinks that contain vitamin C help the body absorb iron more easily. Examples of these iron helpers include orange juice, strawberries and broccoli. Another good way to supplement the amount of iron in a meal is to serve both heme and non-heme foods together to maximize the amount of iron being consumed at once. Calcium-rich foods and drinks, including tea and coffee, reduce the body's ability to absorb iron and should be avoided when consuming iron-rich foods to get the most out of the meal.