Iron is a mineral widely available in food and you only need small amounts to stay health. Iron from animal sources is called “heme iron” and is usually better absorbed than iron from plant sources, or “nonheme iron”.
How Much Iron Do You Need?
The adult Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) for iron are:
Women (19-50 years): 18mg/day
Women (over 51 years): 8mg/day
Pregnant women: 27mg/day
Breastfeeding women (over 19 years): 9mg/day
Men (over 19 years): mg/day
Which Foods Contain the Most Iron?
Sources of Heme iron
Beef liver (3 ounces, cooked) 5.8mg
Oysters (3 ounces) 4.4mg
Lean sirloin (3 ounces, cooked) 2.9mg
Turkey, dark meat, without skin (3.5 ounces, roasted) 2.3 g
Sardines, canned (5 small) 2.0mg
Lean ground beef (3 ounces, cooked) 1.8mg
Turkey, light meat, without skin (3.5 ounces roasted) 1.4mg
Tuna, canned in water, drained (3 ounces) 1.3mg
Chicken, skinless, dark meat (3 ounces roasted) 1.1mg
Chicken, skinless, white meat (3 ounces roasted) 1.0mg
Pork, lean (3 ounces roasted) 1.0mg
Sources of Nonheme Iron
Breakfast cereals enriched with iron (1 cup) 4.5-18 mg*
Pumpkin seed kernels (1 ounce) 4.2mg
Soybean nuts (1/2 cup) 3.4mg
Blackstrap molasses (1 tablespoon) 3.2mg
Spinach, boiled (1/2 cup) 3.2mg
Wheat bran (1/2 cup) 3.0mg
Red kidney beans, cooked (1/2 cup) 2.6mg
Prune juice (3/4 cup) 2.3mg
Lima beans, cooked (1/2 cup) 2.2mg
*The amount of iron in fortified cereals will vary according to type of cereal and brand. Check with nutrition information label for the specific amount.