15 Healthy Foods High in Iron (Including Vegan Iron Sources)

Foods High in Iron

Foods High in Iron

Foods high in iron or iron rich foods contain the mineral iron that serves various important functions in the human body .

It’s an essential nutrient; without iron, your body cannot create hemoglobin, the substance which is essential for transferring oxygen from the lungs and give color to Red blood cells.

Foods high in iron helps to preserve many vital functions in the body, including general energy and focus, boost the immune system, and maintain body temperature.

Iron Rich Foods

Source: High Iron Foods

We need to eat various iron rich foods to fulfill our daily iron requirements. 

The average daily value (DV) of iron intake from foods and supplements is 18mg/day in adult men and women. However, it may vary from person’s gender and life stage.

If your daily intake of iron is too low, an iron deficiency may occur in your body called anemia and lead to fatigue, heart palpitations, dizziness, pale skin, and breathlessness.

Women should consume high iron foods to cover up the amount of iron they lose in their menstrual period every month; especially during pregnancy, they should take 27mg of iron intake.

Food rich in iron is vital to meet your daily iron needs. Even we can easily get these iron rich foods from vegan iron sources.

15 Foods High in Iron

1. Red Meat

Red meat is nutritious, filling as well as satisfying.

Red meat is a rich source of protein, saturated fat, iron, zinc, B vitamins, and selenium.

It has been proven that iron deficiency is less likely in people who eat poultry, red meat, and fish regularly.

The most easily accessible source of heme iron is red meat, potentially making it an important food for people suffering from anemia.

One study shows that women who consumed fresh red meat can obtain more iron than those who took iron supplements.

A 3.5-ounce, i.e., 100-gram of ground beef provides us with 2.7 mg of iron which is 15% of the DV for iron, and it’s also rich in B vitamins, zinc, selenium, and high-quality protein.

2. Turkey Meat

Dark Turkey meat is a healthy, delicious, and high in iron food.

Dark turkey meat is loaded with various essential nutrients like protein (28 grams), B vitamins, and minerals like zinc (32%) and selenium (57%) of the DV. 

As protein makes you feel full and increases your metabolic rate after a meal, high iron food like turkey meat may help you lose weight.

Turkey meat also contains anti-cancer properties and may prevent aging.

Dark turkey meat of 3.5-ounce (100-gram) has 1.4 mg of iron, which is 8% of the DV, whereas the same amount of white turkey meat contains only 0.7 mg.

3. Liver and Other Organ Meats

Organ meats are extremely tasty and nutritious. Popular high in Iron foods organ meats include the liver, kidneys, brain, and heart.

Foods high in iron like organ meats are an excellent source of protein, iron, B vitamins, copper, folate, and selenium.

A rare and important nutrient for brain and liver health is called choline, found in organ meats.

The liver contains vitamin A, providing a vast percentage of 1,049% of the DV per 3.5-ounce serving and contains 36% of the DV per serving.

4. Tuna Fish

Fish is highly loaded with nutrients like protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, and iron, especially certain varieties like tuna are high in iron.

Tuna are crammed with omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce the level of omega-6 fatty acids and LDL cholesterol that can accumulate inside the heart’s arteries.

Tuna also contains several other essential nutrients, including niacin, selenium, and vitamin B12.

Studies show that eating more Omega-3 fatty acids has enhanced immune function, promotes brain health, supports healthy growth and development, and reduces the rate of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack.

Besides tuna, sardines, mackerel, and haddock are a few other examples of iron-rich fish that you can also add to your diet.

A 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of canned tuna contains about 1.4 mg of iron which is approximately 8% of the DV.B. Food rich in iron: Seafood

5. Shellfish

Shellfish are very delicious and nutritious seafood. All shellfish, including lobster, clams, scallops, oysters, and mussels, are high in iron.

Shellfish are high in iron, lean protein, healthy fats, and minerals like omega-3 fatty acids, which help improve brain health and heart health.

Heme-iron found in shellfish can be absorbed more frequently as compared to non-heme iron found in plants.

Study shows that shellfish increase the level of heart-healthy HDL cholesterol in your blood and regularly eating shellfish may boost your immunity and promote weight loss.

A 3.5 ounce (approximately 100 grams) of clams loaded with 17% of DV for iron, 24% of the DV for vitamin C, and 26 grams of protein.

6. Broccoli

Broccoli is known for its special name as a superfood as it is incredibly nutritious. It is one of the very good foods high in iron, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein.

Broccoli is a category of the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage.

Broccoli is a powerhouse of all types of nutrients; it has some measurable amount of bioactive compounds that may have cancer-preventive effects and are helpful in chronic disease treatment.

The antioxidant molecules found in broccoli may help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals and reduced inflammation in your body tissues.

Researchers suggest that regular healthy eating of broccoli may be more potential to support brain function, protect against heart tissue damage, strengthen guts, and may slow the process of aging.

Studies show that the antioxidant called indole, glucosinolates, and sulforaphane may offer multiple health benefits, including minimizing cholesterol levels, oxidative stress, blood sugar level, and chronic disease development.

A serving of broccoli provides 1mg of iron, i.e., 6% of the DV, and is also loaded with 112% of the DV for vitamin C, which helps your body absorb the iron easily.

7. Spinach

Spinach is a green leafy vegetable that provides many health benefits as it’s loaded with many powerful nutrients and antioxidants but low in calories.

Spinach is one of the foods high in iron and low in carbs. It contains the insoluble fiber, magnesium, and calcium that may help your digestion process and strengthen bone health, nervous system, heart health, muscles.

Spinach is an extremely nutrient-rich vegetable, fully crammed with vitamin C, Vitamin K1, vitamin A, folic acid, iron, and potassium that promotes healthy skin, boost immune function, and well growth of tissues.

The antioxidants rich in spinach is called carotenoids, which may help reduce your risk of cancer, decrease inflammation, and protect your eyes from disease.

You should consume spinach and other leafy vegetables with healthy fat like olive oil to absorb more carotenoids.

About 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw spinach contain 2.7 mg of iron, i.e., 15% DV. Vitamin C, rich in spinach, significantly boosts iron absorption (non-heme iron).

Source: Vegan High Iron Foods

8. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds may be small but iron rich foods that are very nutritious, tasty, and can be a portable snack.

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, folate, manganese, and vitamin K. They’re also among the best sources of magnesium which helps reduce your risk of osteoporosis, insulin resistance, diabetes, and depression.

Pumpkin seeds are rich in protein, fiber, and unsaturated fatty acids, which may help support healthy weight loss and maintenance.

The seeds also contain omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids, and antioxidants, which benefit bone health, heart and liver functions.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a quarter cup, i.e., approximately 30 grams of daily intake of pumpkin seeds, as part of an overall healthy diet as it provides many impressive nutrients.

A 1-ounce serving of raw pumpkin seeds without shells has 2.7 mg of iron, per the USDA, which is 14% of the DV.

9. Legumes

Legumes are fleshy, colorful plant seeds that are loaded with healthy essential nutrients and have many benefits.

Some of the common types of legumes are beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, and soybeans. Beans like kidney beans, black beans, and navy beans may help expand your intake of foods with iron.

Legumes are loaded with nutrients like folate, magnesium, and potassium. They’re very high in soluble fiber and low in calories, making you feel full and may help you lose weight. 

Legumes provide you steady energy for the body, brain, and nervous system. Eating more legumes as part of a healthy diet can help lower blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate, anti-aging, prevent cell damage and other heart diseases.

Researchers suggest that regular having legumes in your diet can reduce inflammation in people with diabetes and decrease heart failure rate in people with metabolic syndrome.

To increase iron intake in your diet, you should consume more legumes foods such as green vegetables, tomato, and citrus fruits high in vitamin C.

One cup (198 grams) and a half-cup (86-gram) of cooked lentils contain 6.6 mg, i.e., 37% and 1.8 grams, i.e., 10% of the DV of iron, respectively. 

10. Prune Juice

Prune is one of the healthy foods rich in iron that best suitable for vegan that comes with a large number of health benefits. It is a healthy addition to your diet as breakfast and snacks.

Prune juice is made from dried plums or prunes, which contribute many essential nutrients that can be good for health.

Prunes are a good source of energy high in sugar content, which helps them dry without fermenting.

Prunes are high in fiber which helps prevent constipation among adults and even in infants. It acts as a laxative due to its high sorbitol content.

Prunes and their juice provide a good source of iron and may help control iron deficiency diseases like anemia, prevent breathing problems, and reduce cholesterol and fatigue.

The fruit contains a high amount of potassium, manganese, copper, magnesium, and many vitamins, that help bodily functions like digestion, heart rhythm, nerve impulses, blood pressure, and muscle contraction.

The high level of antioxidants found in prunes can fight lung cancer, COPD, emphysema, and other disease caused by smoking.

A half-cup of prune juice contains 3 mg or 17 percent iron.

11. Pistachio Nuts

Pistachios nuts are the seeds that support many health benefits.

Pistachios are blow-up with minerals, fiber, and unsaturated fats that can help you lower your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

Since they are nutritious and satisfying snacks, this may help you consume less food and lose weight.

The nuts have a high level of potassium, and protein which may prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Some studies show that regular eating pistachios lower the amount of fat and sugar (glycemic index) in your blood and improve the flexibility of blood vessels.

You may enjoy them raw, on their own, and things like salad, ice cream, yogurt, pesto, nut butter, and granola.

A 3.5-ounce, i.e., 100 grams of pistachios nuts provides 3.9mg of iron.

12. Quinoa

Quinoa (vegan iron sources) is the healthiest grain known as a pseudo cereal.

Quinoa is also higher in protein and rich in folate, magnesium, copper, manganese, and many other nutrients.

The absence of gluten makes quinoa a good choice for celiac disease or other forms of gluten intolerance.

Quinoa has powerful antioxidants than many other grains that help protect your cells from damage from free radicals, which are formed during metabolism and in response to stress.

One cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa contributes 2.8 mg of iron, i.e., 16% of the DV.

13. Tofu

Tofu is prepared from soybean curds ( vegan iron sources). It is naturally gluten-free and has very few calories.

It is an excellent source of iron, protein, calcium, thiamin, magnesium, and selenium that may have health benefits to reduce diabetes, kidney disease, liver damage, and age-related brain disease.

In addition, tofu contains isoflavones such as phytoestrogens which have both properties like estrogen-antagonist and estrogen-agonist. These may help protect against cardiovascular disease, cancers like breast and prostate, lower LDL cholesterol, osteoporosis, and relief from menopausal symptoms.

A cup (126-gram) serving provides 3.4 mg of iron, 19% of the DV of iron.

14. Edamame

Edamame beans (Vegan Iron Sources) are whole, immature soybeans, referred to as vegetable type-soybeans.

Edamame is rich in protein, antioxidants, and fiber that may help reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood sugar.

The beans are high in essential nutrients like folate, vitamin k1, thiamine, riboflavin, iron, copper, and manganese.

The contents found in Edamame help people boost the immune system, lose weight, treating iron deficiency, and those who are suffering from type 2 diabetes. 

As per the USDA, a cup of these raw green soybeans contains about 9 mg of iron, making them an excellent source of the nutrient. 

15. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate (vegan iron sources) is incredibly nutritious and delicious and a rich source of antioxidants and minerals.

Some research suggests that dark chocolate may help reduce inflammation, lower the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol and insulin resistance, and improve brain function.

Chocolate contains compounds called flavanols responsible for chocolate’s benefits, and the flavanol content of dark chocolate is much higher than that of milk chocolate.

Therefore, it’s best to consume chocolate of at least 70% cocoa content to get the maximum benefits. This small serving is also loaded with 56% copper and 15% magnesium of the DV, respectively. A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving contains 3.4 mg of iron, i.e., 19% of the DV of iron. This small serving also packs 15% and 56% of the DVs for magnesium and copper, respectively.