Iron Rich Foods, Part 2: Let’s Get More Specific…

Let’s get more specific about food sources of iron. Which animal foods are the best sources of iron?  Which plant foods are the best sources of iron?  In my previous blog post ‘Iron Rich Foods – Popeye Was Onto Something!’ I wrote about why we need iron, the two types of iron (heme and non-heme) and a basic list of foods that contain iron.  Now we will expand that a little and explore the amount of iron that is contained in some specific foods.

 

Food sources of iron, plant and animal

Animal (heme) sources of iron:

Here is a list that shows approximately how much iron each serving contains:

  • Beef or chicken liver, 3 ounces = 3.5 mg iron
  • Clams, mollusks or mussels = 3 ounces, 3.5 mg iron
  • Oysters, 3 ounces = 3.5 mg iron
  • Beef – cooked, 3 ounces = 2.1 mg iron
  • Sardines, canned in oil, 3 ounces = 2.1 mg iron
  • Turkey – cooked, 3 ounces = 2.1 mg iron
  • Duck – cooked, 2.5 ounces = 2 mg iron
  • Lamb – cooked, 2.5 ounces = 2 mg iron
  • Chicken – cooked, 3 ounces = 0.7 mg iron
  • Pork – cooked, 2.5 ounces = 0.7 mg iron
  • Fish: halibut, haddock, perch, salmon, tuna, 3 ounces = 0.7 mg iron
  • Ham, 3 ounces = 0.7 mg iron
  • Veal, 3 ounces = 0.7 mg iron

Plant (non-heme) sources of iron:

Here is a list that shows approximately how much iron each serving contains:

  • Enriched breakfast cereals, serving size varies per cereal = 3.5 mg iron
  • Cooked beans, 1 cup = 3.5 mg iron
  • Tofu, ½ cup = 3.5 mg iron
  • Seeds: pumpkin, sesame, squash, 1 ounce = 3.5 mg iron
  • Beans – canned: lima, chickpeas, split peas, red kidney, ½ cup = 2.1 mg iron
  • Apricots – dried, 1 cup = 2.1 mg iron
  • Potato – baked, 1 medium = 2.1 mg iron
  • Broccoli, 1 medium stalk = 2.1 mg iron
  • Asparagus – raw, 6 spears = 2.1 mg iron
  • Wheat germ, ¼ cup = 2.1 mg iron
  • Snow peas – cooked, ½ cup = 1.7 mg
  • Prune juice, ½ cup = 1.6 mg iron
  • Beets – canned, ½ cup = 1.6 mg iron
  • Kale – cooked, ½ cup = 1.3 mg iron
  • Tomato sauce, ½ cup = 1.3 mg iron
  • Enriched pasta, egg noodles – cooked, ½ cup = 1.3 mg iron
  • Spinach, 1 cup = 0.7 mg
  • Nuts: peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pecans, 1 ounce    = 0.7 mg iron
  • Peaches, prunes raisins – seedless, dried, ½ cup = 0.7 mg iron
  • Green pepper, 1 medium = 0.7 mg iron
  • Bread: pumpernickel bagel, bran muffin, 1 slice = 0.7 mg iron
  • Turnip or beet greens – cooked, ½ cup = 0.7 mg iron

How much iron should a person have on daily basis?  Good question!  The amount of iron needed depends on a person’s age, their gender, and their current state of health.  A person who is iron deficient will need to have a larger iron intake than a person who has no iron deficiency. Here are two websites that have informational tables about daily intake of iron: NIH National Institutes of Health, and Dieticians of Canada.

One point to remember: heme from animal sources is physically easier for our bodies to absorb, than non-heme iron from plant sources.  My research on iron has indicated that vegetarians will need to consume more iron-rich foods than meat eaters to get / absorb the same amount of iron.

Back to the original questions … When it comes to which foods are the best sources of iron, that all depends upon each person and their bio-individuality.  Finding the food sources that have the highest iron content is easy enough to do, but each person needs to know their own body and how various foods affect them.  We are all unique, and what works for one person does not necessarily work for another person.  Plant sources of iron are no better or worse than animal sources of iron – they are just different.

Are you ready to increase your health and make positive changes in your lifestyle?  Are you ready to rock your health and take it to the next level?  If so, I have a great program for you!  Contact me and let’s talk about how you can get started right away!  Live the life of your dreams!

 

Informational Resources:

Health Link BC – Iron in Foods 

Harvard University Health Services – Nutrition Iron 

University of Illinois – Dietary Sources of Iron  

 

© 2014 Cathy Ormon Health Coach. All rights reserved.