Iron is an essential mineral in our bodies. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is between 8mg and 18mg per day.
|Classification:||Iron is an essential mineral|
|Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs):|
|51+ years:||8 mg|
|Men 19-50 years:||8 mg|
|Women 19-50 years:||18 mg|
|Men 14-18 years:||11 mg|
|Women 14-18 years:||15 mg|
|9 – 13 years old :||8 mg|
|4 – 8 years old:||10 mg|
|Best Foods:||beef, liver, fortified cereals, oysters|
|Tolerable Upper Adult Intake Level For Iron:||45 mg|
|Iron Supplements available as:||ferrous fumarate, ferrous sulfate, and ferrous gluconate|
Iron Nutritional Facts
Iron is an essential mineral in our bodies. It is needed to carry oxygen from our lungs to every cell in our bodies.
The recommended dietary allowance of iron is:
• 8 mg for men
• 18 mg for women
The full dietary allowance for all ages is shown in the Data Zone.
Very high doses of iron can be toxic.
Almost two-thirds of our bodies’ iron is in hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells.
Iron is also found in myoglobin, a protein that helps store oxygen in our muscles.
In addition to its vital role in oxygen movement and storage, iron is also is needed to regulate the growth and differentiation of our cells and for our immune systems to function.
Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the Unites States. A lack of iron leads to anemia, which causes tiredness and a lack of energy.
Plant and meat foods can be a good source of iron. Iron from meat (heme iron) is more easily absorbed than iron from plants (nonheme iron).
Iron is absorbed in our intestines; absorption is greatly improved by taking vitamin C. Some foods, for example dark leafy greens, contain both iron and vitamin C.
Eating meat boosts iron absorption when we eat leaves and vegetables.
Iron absorption into our bodies can be reduced by:
• tanins (found in coffee, tea and wine)
• phytates (found in legumes and whole grains)
• calcium (dairy products)
As a dietary supplement, iron is available in a variety of forms such as:
• ferrous fumarate
• ferrous sulfate
• ferrous gluconate
You can see a list of foods that are high in iron by scrolling a little farther down this page.
The list shows the amount of iron in a standard portion and also the percentage of recommended daily allowance.
Foods that are particularly high in iron, and common foods that have a useful amount of iron are included in the list.
For example a large handful of raisins provides for 5% of your daily value.
Foods High In Iron
|Food||mg of iron per serving||percent of 18 mg daily value (for women) in serving|
|Ready-to-eat cereal, 100% iron fortified, ½ cup||12 mg||67%|
|Chicken liver, pan-fried, 3 ounces||11 mg||61%|
|Oatmeal, instant, fortified, prepared with water, 1 packet||11 mg||61%|
|Oysters, canned, 3 ounces||5.7 mg||32%|
|Beef, chuck, blade roast, lean only, braised, 6 ounces||6.2 mg||34%|
|Beef liver, pan-fried, 3 ounces||5.2 mg||29%|
|Soybeans, mature, boiled, ½ cup||4.4 mg||24%|
|Turkey, dark meat, roasted, 6 ounces||4 mg||22%|
|Beef, ground, 85% lean, patty, broiled, 6 ounces||4.4 mg||22%|
|Lentils, boiled, ½ cup||3.3 mg||19%|
|Tofu, raw, firm, ½ cup||3.4 mg||19%|
|Beef, top sirloin, steak, lean only, broiled, 6 ounces||3.2 mg||18%|
|Spinach, fresh, boiled, drained, ½ cup||3.2 mg||18%|
|Ready-to-eat cereal, 25% iron fortified, ½ cup||3 mg||17%|
|Pie, cherry, prepared from recipe, 1 piece (6 ounces)||3.1 mg||17%|
|Beans, kidney, mature, boiled, ½ cup||2.6 mg||15%|
|Fish, sardine, Atlantic, canned in oil, drained solids with bone, 3 ounces||2.48 mg||14%|
|Turkey, light meat, roasted, 6 ounces||2.2 mg||12%|
|Chicken, dark meat, meat only, roasted, 6 ounces||2.2 mg||12%|
|Chicken, light meat, meat only, roasted, 6 ounces||1.8 mg||10%|
|Tomatoes, red, ripe, canned, stewed, ½ cup||1.7 mg||9%|
|Pork, loin chop, broiled, 6 ounces||1.4 mg||8%|
|Prune juice, canned, ½ cup||1.5 mg||8%|
|Mushrooms, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt, ½ cup||1.4 mg||7.5%|
|Tuna, light, canned in water, 3 ounces||1.3 mg||7%|
|Seeds, pumpkin and squash seed kernels, roasted, with salt added, 36 seeds||1.1 mg||6%|
|Raisins, seedless, packed, ¼ cup||0.8 mg||5%|
|Molasses, 1 tablespoon||0.9 mg||5%|
|Tuna, fresh, yellowfin, cooked, dry heat, 3 ounces||0.8 mg||4%|
|Crab, Alaskan king, cooked, moist heat, 3 ounces||0.7 mg||4%|
|Peas, green, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt, ¼ cup||0.6 mg||3%|
|Dates, deglet noor, ¼ cup||0.5 mg||3%|
|Shrimp, mixed species, cooked, moist heat, 4 large||0.3 mg||2%|
|Halibut, cooked, dry heat, 6 ounces||0.4 mg||2%|
- Office of Dietary Supplements – Iron
- USDA National Nutrient Database – Iron
- University of Maryland Medical Center – Iron
- Linus Pauling Institute – Iron
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