What Are Examples of Foods That Are Rich in Iron?


Quick Answer

Chicken or beef liver, clams, mussels, oysters, and cooked beef are rich in heme iron, the form derived from hemoglobin-rich animal foods, according to WebMD. Sardines canned in oil, cooked poultry, veal and ham also provide large amounts of highly absorbable heme iron. Plant sources that contain the less-efficient nonheme iron include cooked beans and peas, tofu, broccoli, spinach, and iron-enriched cereals.

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Full Answer

Iron absorption is enhanced when foods are consumed in combination with beverages or foods high in vitamin C, explains Mayo Clinic. Drinking citrus or tomato juices with iron-rich meals or adding a salad containing dark leafy greens, peppers and strawberries increases the body’s ability to assimilate dietary iron. Not consuming calcium- and caffeine-rich foods and beverages with high iron foods also enhances absorption, adds WebMD. Half of pregnant women, 3 percent of men and approximately 20 percent of women are iron deficient. While a doctor may recommend a supplement, because iron is not excreted and is stored in tissues and organs, exact dosing is important.

Infants require either breast milk or iron-fortified formula in the first year of life and should not receive cow’s milk, which is low in iron, advises Mayo Clinic. Pureed meats and iron-enriched cereals given at around 5 months of age keep iron intake sufficient enough to prevent iron deficiency anemia.

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