Good Food Sources of Iron
|Age Group||RDA (mg/day)|
AI = 0.27
AI = 0.27
|Lactation, < 18 years||n/a||10|
|Lactation, 19-50 years||n/a||9|
Tips For Increasing Your Iron Intake
- Heme iron is absorbed more efficiently than nonheme iron.
- Heme iron enhances the absorption of nonheme iron.
- Vitamin C enhances the absorption of nonheme iron.
Some substances decrease the absorption of nonheme iron. (Consuming heme iron and/or
with nonheme can help compensate for these decreases.)
- Oxalic acid, found in spinach and chocolate—However, oxalic acid is broken down with cooking.
- Phytic acid, found in wheat bran and beans (legumes)
- Tannins, found in tea
- Polyphenols, found in coffee
- Calcium carbonate supplements
- Combine heme and nonheme sources of iron.
Eat foods rich in vitamin C with nonheme iron sources. Good sources of vitamin C include:
- Bell peppers
- Oranges and orange juice
- Tomatoes and tomato juice
- Spinach and collard greens
- If you drink coffee or tea, do so between meals rather than with a meal.
- Cook acidic foods in cast iron pots. This can increase iron content up to 30 times.
American Dietetic Association http://www.eatright.org/
The Vegetarian Resource Group http://www.vrg.org/
Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/
The American Dietetic Association's Complete Food & Nutrition Guide . Chronimed Publishing; 1998.
Bowes & Church's Food Values of Portions Commonly Used . 17th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 1998.
Dietary supplement fact sheet: iron. Office of Dietary Supplements website. Available at: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/. Updated August 24, 2010. Accessed July 11, 2012.
Iron and iron deficiency. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/vitamins/iron.html#Iron Sources. Updated February 23, 2011. Accessed July 11, 2012.
Perspectives in Nutrition . 2nd ed. Mosby-Year Book, Inc.; 1993
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 07/2012 -
- Update Date: 07/23/2012 -