The following foods highest in iron will play a key role in your healthy lifestyle. Getting your daily requirement of iron is important, as iron is involved in so many of the body’s basic functions. These include helping to carry oxygen throughout the body, helping your muscles and brain work at their full capacity, and preventing the onset of anemia.
1. Liver: 23mg Iron (128% DV)
Pick a liver, any liver, and chances are you’re getting as much iron as you’ll need for the day. Perhaps the most easily found liver in supermarkets is beef liver. It’s always a good idea to buy organic if you can find it, and go to a butcher if your local grocery store doesn’t carry organic beef liver.
Liver may not currently be on your regular menu, but you don’t have to eat very much of it in order to benefit from its iron content. 100 grams provides more than a day’s worth of iron, so you could eat much less than that in one sitting, while combining it with other foods that also have iron in them.
Liver is not only ultra-high in iron, it is a good source of other minerals as well, such as zinc, phosphorous, and even copper.
Tips for eating more: While eating liver may sound off putting at first, it is a meat like any other and can be added to chili and soups for the same flavor you’d expect from beef or other cuts of meat. If you can come to terms with it in your mind, and season it right you may even come to enjoy it.
2. Soybeans: 15.7mg Iron (87% DV)
Soybeans can help you reach your iron goals in a big way. Raw soybeans have the most iron, and when you boil them you’ll lose some of the iron content, but they still remain quite high in protein.
Soybeans are typically made into other food items like tofu or tempeh. This reduces the total amount of iron they contain, but there will still be a good amount. For example, tofu has 4.5mg and tempeh has 2.7.
Edamame is one example of soybeans that have been harvested before their prime and are eaten directly. While you won’t get as much iron from it (3.5mg in 100g) you’ll still be helping add to your total iron intake for the day.
Tips for eating more: Consider adding soybeans to the next soup you make. You’ll not only be adding iron to it, but tons of protein and fiber, not to mention added texture.
3. Dark Chocolate: 11.9mg Iron (66% DV)
You might have heard that you should start eating dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate for health reasons. One of those reasons is its high iron content, something milk chocolate also contains.
There are several types of dark chocolate that you can buy, and it’s broken down by the amount of cocoa solids it contains. The higher the percentage, the more it’s purely cocoa, so pick the highest level that you find still tastes good, as it gets pretty bitter the higher up you go.
Dark chocolate also provides you with antioxidants that you won’t find in milk chocolate. It contains far less sugar and in some cases no milk, just be sure to check the label on the chocolate you’re considering to see that it’s pure.
Tips for eating more: Dark chocolate works best as a way to satisfy your sweet tooth and chocolate craving, and you don’t want to overdo it. Stick to the serving size on the chocolate’s packaging, and look to an assortment of foods to get your full iron for the day.
4. Oysters: 7mg Iron (39% DV)
Oysters are well-known as being an aphrodisiac, but they’re also a great iron food. Since iron helps circulate oxygen throughout the body, their high iron content may also help give you the get up and go that they’re known for.
This is one instance where you can go with farm-raised oysters rather than wild caught. Most seafood you’re better off going with wild caught, but wild caught oysters are harder to find, and they’re not a sustainable option.
Oysters are also a good source of protein and other minerals like zinc, as well as amino acids which is where it gets its reputation as being a romantic firestarter. The specific amino acids it contains are said to boost levels of sex hormones in the body.
Tips for eating more: Oysters work well in seafood stews and chowders if you don’t like eating them raw. There are also oyster dishes that cook the oysters, like Oysters Rockefeller, which changes their texture and flavor and may make them more appetizing.
5. Spinach: 3.5mg Iron (19% DV)
One feature of spinach that helps it with its reputation as a healthy vegetable is its iron content, placing it in the top 5 foods high in iron. It’s a food that helps keep your body alkaline and contains antioxidants that will help your body fight off damage from free radicals, making it one of the more important foods you can eat.
You’ll want to opt for organic spinach whenever possible, as it is a very absorbent vegetable and conventional spinach will have soaked up the pesticides and herbicides sprayed on it during the growing season.
Spinach contains an array of phytonutrients in addition to its iron content, and is consistently ranked as one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Do everything you can to get more spinach into your diet, especially during the spring and summer months.
Tips for eating more: Adding spinach to a smoothie instantly makes it a green smoothie and not only gives you more iron but also gives you fiber, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. Try using baby spinach in place of lettuce in salads and on sandwiches.
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