Meats are richest in iron, starting with red meat as the richest, pork, then poultry and seafood. Plants and vegetables with high amounts of iron include: beans, spinach, dried fruits, grains and nuts.
Animal products, such as liver, kidneys and mollusks (clams and oysters), typically have the highest levels of iron. Soybeans, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds and many green-leafed plants serve as good plant sources of iron. In North America, grains and cereals are also fortified with iron. Vegans and vegetarians may opt for tofu as a good alternative to iron-rich meats, but they still need to organize their diets to include a variety of iron-rich vegetables to avoid anemia. Milk is not a good source of iron, so children, who often suffer from anemia if their diets become poorly regulated, should consume iron-rich alternatives.
While the body more easily absorbs iron from meats than from plants, vitamin-C enhances iron absorption regardless of the source. Orange juice and many fruits and vegetables have high levels of vitamin-C.
Although many suffer from iron deficiency, consuming too much iron can lead to organ damage. Pregnant women in particular should refrain from consuming liver too often or in high quantities.
Iron supplements serve as an alternative means of getting an adequate iron intake, but their use must be discussed with a physician because they raise the risk of iron overdose.