Best Food Sources of Iron


Iron is an essential mineral and an extremely important nutrient for our body. Iron plays two crucial roles in the body. It is absolutely necessary for oxygen transport in the blood. Iron is the central atom of the hemoglobin molecule, which is responsible for picking up oxygen from the lungs and distributing it to the cells throughout the body. Without the oxygen body cells cannot perform their activities properly and also it would cause the cells to die. So, iron in the blood is extremely important for delivering oxygen to the cells.

Another major function of iron is that it plays a vital role in energy production. It is involved in reactions within the body that produce energy.

In addition, iron mineral is also necessary in synthesis of DNA and neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Iron plays an important role to strengthen the immune system as well.

Iron deficiency can lead to anaemia – which is a condition of lack of iron-containing hemoglobin in the blood cells. It is the third stage of iron deficiency. Iron deficiency can also cause hair loss, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, depression, excessive menstrual loss and impaired immune function.

List of Foods Rich in Iron

Dietary iron can be found in two forms- heme and non-heme. Heme iron comes from animal foods (haemoglobin) and non-heme iron comes from plant foods.

Non-heme Iron Food Sources





Heme Iron Food Sources


  • Clams
  • Oysters
  • Chicken liver
  • Fish (Halibut, Salmon, Tuna, Sardines, Haddock)
  • Shrimp
  • Red meat



Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for iron by age and sex.
Age/Group Life Stage Iron (mg/day)
Infants 0–6 months 0.27*
7–12 months 11
Children 1–3 years 7
4–8 years 10
Males 9–13 years 8
14–18 years 11
19–30 years 8
31–50 years 8
51–70 years 8
>70 years 8
Females 9–13 years 8
14–18 years 15
19–30 years 18
31–50 years 18
51–70 years 8
>70 years 8
Pregnant Women 14–18 years 27
19–30 years 27
31–50 years 27
Lactating Women 14–18 years 10
19–30 years 9
31–50 years 9

                           Source: CDC

Besides above listed food sources, dietary supplements of iron can also be found very easily. Most of these are a source of non-heme iron. Iron supplements are widely used to treat iron deficiency but you should not take iron supplements unless your doctor tells you to do so.




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Facts about Iron: What is Iron?

Iron is a mineral needed for healthy blood and to promote good health. It has a high nutritional value. Iron is major nutrient for transporting life saving oxygen to all parts of the body. Everyone needs Iron it is essential for healthy blood and good health. Two types of Iron are available - haem and non-haem. Most iron is stored in haemoglobin- a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to your tissues. Iron has a very important affect, it involves in all red cells’ production, production of haemoglobin. It’s a very critical and important mineral and you need to ensure that if are having enough of it...


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