12 Healthy Foods That Are High in Iron


| Shellfish

Shellfish is tasty and nutritious. All shellfish is high in iron, but clams, oysters, and mussels are particularly good sources.

For instance, a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of clams may contain up to 3 mg of iron, which is 17% of the DV .

However, the iron content of clams is highly variable, and some types may contain much lower amounts.

The iron in shellfish is heme iron, which your body absorbs more easily than the non-heme iron found in plants.

A 3.5-ounce serving of clams also provides 26 grams of protein, 24% of the DV for vitamin C, and a whopping 4,125% of the DV for vitamin B12.

In fact, shellfish are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to increase the levels of heart-healthy HDL cholesterol.

Although there are legitimate concerns about mercury and toxins in certain types of fish and shellfish, the benefits of consuming seafood far outweigh the risks.

The EPA and FDA recommend eating 2 to 3 servings of seafood a week from their “Best Choices” list, which includes such shellfish as clams, oysters, and scallops.


A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of clams provides 17% of the DV for iron. Shellfish is also rich in many other nutrients and may increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels in your blood.

| Spinach

Spinach is really good for you and doesn’t have a lot of calories!

If you eat around 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw spinach, you’ll get 2.7 mg of iron, which is 15% of what your body needs. Even though this is a type of iron that your body doesn’t absorb super well, spinach has a lot of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps your body soak up iron better.

Spinach has these cool things called carotenoids that are like antioxidants. They can lower your risk of cancer, make inflammation go down, and keep your eyes safe from diseases.

Eating spinach with some fat, like olive oil, helps your body grab onto those carotenoids. So, when you eat spinach, try to pair it with something healthy that has fat.


Eating spinach gives you 15% of the iron your body needs, and it’s got other good stuff like vitamins and antioxidants. Plus, it’s not heavy on calories!

| Liver and other organ meats

Eating organ meats is super good for you because they’re packed with nutrients. Liver, kidneys, brain, and heart are some examples, and they all have a lot of iron.

If you have about 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of beef liver, you’ll get 6.5 mg of iron. That’s a big 36% of the iron your body needs.

Organ meats are not just about iron—they’re also high in protein and have lots of B vitamins, copper, and selenium.

Liver is special because it has a ton of vitamin A. In fact, a 3.5-ounce serving gives you a whopping 1,049% of the vitamin A your body needs.

And here’s something cool: organ meats, like liver, have a nutrient called choline, which is really good for your brain and liver. Many people don’t get enough of it, so eating organ meats can help.


Organ meats are awesome sources of iron, especially liver, which gives you 36% of what you need. They also have other good stuff like selenium, vitamin A, and choline. So, they’re not just tasty—they’re really healthy too!

| Legumes

Legumes are like nutrient powerhouses!

You’ve probably heard of legumes—they’re things like beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, and soybeans. They’re really good, especially if you’re a vegetarian and need iron.

For instance, if you cook up a cup (198 grams) of lentils, you’ll get 6.6 mg of iron. That’s 37% of what your body needs!

Different beans, like black beans, navy beans, and kidney beans, also have iron. Eating just half a cup (86 grams) of cooked black beans gives you 1.8 milligrams of iron, which is 10% of the DV.

Legumes aren’t just about iron—they have other cool stuff too, like folate, magnesium, and potassium.

And guess what? Studies say that legumes, like beans, can help with inflammation for people with diabetes. They can also lower the risk of heart disease for people with metabolic syndrome.

Here’s something really interesting: legumes might even help you lose weight. They have a lot of soluble fiber, which makes you feel full, helps control how many calories you eat, and keeps your gut healthy. That’s important for weight, inflammation, and staying healthy.

If you want to get the most out of the iron in legumes, eat them with foods that have lots of vitamin C, like tomatoes, greens, or citrus fruits.


Eating a cup of cooked lentils can give you 37% of the iron you need. Legumes also have folate, magnesium, potassium, and fiber, and they might help with weight loss. They’re like a nutrition boost!

| Red meat

Red meat is not just tasty; it’s really good for you too!

If you have about 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of ground beef, you’ll get 2.7 mg of iron. That’s 15% of the iron your body needs.

But red meat isn’t just about iron—it’s also packed with protein, zinc, selenium, and lots of B vitamins.

Some smart researchers say that if you eat meat, poultry, or fish regularly, you’re less likely to have problems with not having enough iron. And guess what? Red meat is one of the best sources of heme iron, which is important for people who might get anemia.

Studies found that girls who ate less than 2 ounces of red meat every day were more likely to not get enough zinc, iron, vitamin B12, potassium, and vitamin D compared to those who ate between 2 and 3 ounces daily.


Eating a serving of ground beef gives you 15% of the iron your body needs. Red meat also has B vitamins, zinc, selenium, and really good protein. It’s like a nutrition powerhouse!

| Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds aren’t just yummy; they’re a great snack you can take anywhere!

If you munch on about 1 ounce (28 grams) of pumpkin seeds, you’ll get 2.5 mg of iron. That’s 14% of the iron your body needs.

But that’s not all—pumpkin seeds are also packed with good stuff like vitamin K, zinc, and manganese. They’re especially awesome because they have a lot of magnesium, which many people don’t get enough of.

Eating just 1 ounce (28 grams) of pumpkin seeds gives you a big 40% of the magnesium your body needs. Magnesium is great because it lowers the chance of having problems like insulin resistance, diabetes, and feeling down.


Snacking on pumpkin seeds gives you 14% of the iron your body needs in a 1-ounce serving. Plus, they’re loaded with other good things, especially magnesium. So, they’re not just tasty; they’re really good for you!

| Quinoa

Quinoa is a really popular grain that’s like a superfood. If you cook up one cup (185 grams) of quinoa, you get 2.8 mg of iron, which is 16% of what your body needs.

One cool thing about quinoa is that it has no gluten. That makes it a good choice for people who can’t have gluten, like those with celiac disease.

Quinoa isn’t just about iron—it’s also packed with protein, folate, magnesium, copper, manganese, and lots of other good stuff.

And here’s something interesting: quinoa has more antioxidants than many other grains. Antioxidants help keep your cells safe from damage caused by free radicals, which show up when your body works and deals with stress.


Eating quinoa gives you 16% of the iron your body needs. It’s gluten-free, high in protein, and full of other good things like minerals and antioxidants. So, it’s not just a grain; it’s a super-healthy choice!

| Turkey

Turkey meat is not just tasty but also really good for you!

If you have about 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of dark turkey meat, you’ll get 1.4 mg of iron. That’s 8% of the iron your body needs. But if you choose white turkey meat instead, you’ll get only 0.7 mg.

Dark turkey meat is not just about iron—it’s a protein powerhouse! One serving has a big 28 grams of protein. It also has lots of B vitamins and minerals, including 32% of the zinc your body needs and 57% of the selenium.

Eating foods with high protein, like turkey, can help with weight loss. Protein makes you feel full and speeds up how your body burns calories after eating. It’s also great for preventing muscle loss when you’re losing weight or getting older.


Eating turkey gives you 13% of the iron your body needs. It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals, and its high protein content helps you feel full, boosts your metabolism, and keeps your muscles strong. So, it’s not just a delicious meat; it’s a healthy choice too!

| Broccoli

Broccoli is super good for you! If you have a 1-cup (156-gram) serving of cooked broccoli, you’ll get 1 mg of iron, which is 6% of what your body needs.

But that’s not all—broccoli is like a vitamin powerhouse! The same serving gives you a big 112% of the vitamin C your body needs. And guess what? Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron better.

Broccoli also has other good stuff like folate, which is important, and 5 grams of fiber to keep things moving in your tummy. It also has some vitamin K.

Broccoli is part of a veggie family called cruciferous, which includes cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage. These veggies have cool things like indole, sulforaphane, and glucosinolates that might help protect against cancer.


Eating broccoli gives you 6% of the iron your body needs, and it’s loaded with vitamins C, K, and folate. It’s also a potential cancer-fighter. So, it’s not just a green veggie; it’s a super-healthy choice!

| Tofu

Tofu is a soy-based food that lots of vegetarians and people in Asia really like.

If you have a half-cup (126 grams) of tofu, you’ll get 3.4 mg of iron. That’s 19% of the iron your body needs.

Tofu isn’t just about iron—it’s got other good things too, like thiamine and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and selenium. Plus, it’s a protein powerhouse, giving you 22 grams per serving.

Tofu has special compounds called isoflavones. These things are linked to better insulin sensitivity, a lower risk of heart disease, and relief from symptoms during menopause.


Eating tofu gives you 19% of the iron your body needs, and it’s loaded with protein and minerals. Those isoflavones in tofu might also be good for your heart and help with menopausal symptoms. So, it’s not just a vegetarian choice; it’s a healthy one too!

| Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is not just yummy; it’s good for you too!

Eating a small amount, like 1 ounce (28 grams), gives you 3.4 mg of iron. That’s 19% of what your body needs.

But that’s not all—dark chocolate is rich in other good things too, like copper (56% of what you need) and magnesium (15% of the DV). It also has prebiotic fiber, which is like food for the friendly bacteria in your tummy.

Dark chocolate is also packed with antioxidants, similar to the ones in berries and cherries. These antioxidants are really good for your body.

Studies even say that chocolate can help your cholesterol and lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes. But not all chocolate is the same. The good stuff in chocolate is called flavanols, and dark chocolate has way more of it than milk chocolate.

So, when you eat chocolate, go for the dark kind with at least 70% cocoa to get the most benefits.


A small serving of dark chocolate gives you 19% of the iron your body needs. It’s also full of minerals and prebiotic fiber that helps your gut stay healthy. Dark chocolate is a tasty treat that’s good for you!

| Fish

Fish is not just tasty; it’s really good for you, especially kinds like tuna that have a lot of iron.

If you have a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of canned tuna, you’ll get about 1.4 mg of iron. That’s around 8% of what your body needs.

But that’s not all—fish is also full of omega-3 fatty acids, which are like super-healthy fats that are good for your heart. These fats have been proven to help your brain, make your immune system stronger, and support healthy growth.

If you’re wondering which fish is the healthiest, check out the EPA chart to pick the best ones and avoid too much mercury.

Fish also has other important nutrients your body needs, like niacin, selenium, and vitamin B12.

And it’s not just tuna; there are other fish like haddock, mackerel, and sardines that are also rich in iron and good for you.


A serving of canned tuna gives you about 8% of the iron your body needs. Fish is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. So, it’s not just a tasty dish; it’s a healthy choice too!


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