Q:

What foods are low in iron?

A:

Quick Answer

Foods low in iron include most fats and oils, soups, candies and dairy products. Citrus fruits are low in iron but contain high level of vitamin C, which increases iron absorption from other food sources. Other low-iron foods include white rice and unfortified white rice products, potatoes, apples and legumes.

Continue Reading
What foods are low in iron?
Credit: Didriks CC-BY 2.0

Full Answer

Dietary iron comes in two forms: heme iron, which comes only from animal sources, and non-heme iron, found in both plant and animal sources. The human body absorbs heme iron two to three times more efficiently than non-heme iron. Most men need about 8 milligrams of iron daily; most pre-menopausal women need about 18 milligrams and most pregnant women need about 30 milligrams. People suffering from chronic liver disease or the hereditary disorder hemochromatosis may need to limit iron intake.

Iron absorption varies by the type of food as well as by the amount and type of iron the food contains. Calcium-containing foods such as milk and cheese inhibit heme iron absorption. Phytates, natural substances found in whole grains, legumes, potatoes and soy products, reduce absorption of non-heme iron. Polyphenols found in coffee, tea, cocoa and green leafy vegetables also inhibit absorption of non-heme iron. On the other hand, consuming foods that contain heme and non-heme iron in the same meal increases the body's absorption of non-heme iron.

Learn more about Nutritional Content

Related Questions

Explore