Certain vegetables, including potatoes and leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and legumes, can help you achieve your necessary iron intake on a vegetarian diet.
Iron is a necessary nutrient for many bodily functions. Iron is found in either heme or non-heme forms: heme comes from animal products, and non-heme comes from plants.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for males assigned at birth (MAAB) and females assigned at birth (FAAB) is about
Children and adolescents may need more or less depending on their age, and the amount you need can also vary from person to person. For people who are breastfeeding or pregnant, your needs increase to 9–27 mg per day.
The following tables include plant foods high in iron based on the standard 8 mg RDA for adults. If you are vegetarian and vegan, your RDA is 1.8 times higher (14.4–32.4 mg daily) because non-heme iron from plants doesn’t absorb as well as heme iron from animal products.
Listed below are the varieties containing the most iron, from lowest to highest:
|red kidney beans|
|natto (fermented soybeans)|
Learn about the other health benefits of beans and peas.
Nuts and seeds serve as two more iron-rich plant sources.
Those who wish to increase their total daily iron intake should add the following varieties to their diet, as they contain the highest amounts:
Tomatoes contain more iron when dried or concentrated, and potatoes have higher iron when unpeeled in their skins. Sweet potatoes offer a good amount of iron even when peeled.
The following vegetables and vegetable-derived products offer the most iron per serving:
|tomato paste and canned tomatoes|
Fruit is not commonly the food group that people turn to when wanting to increase the iron content of their diet. Nevertheless, some fruits are surprisingly high in iron.
Here are the best sources of iron in this category.
While whole grains have various health benefits, not all grains are equally beneficial.
For instance, grain processing and refining
For this reason, whole grains typically contain more iron than refined grains. That said, most refined grain products are fortified with iron, so they can still be good sources.
The following are types of whole grains containing the most iron per portion.
|Cheerios breakfast cereal|
|Special K breakfast cereal|
Learn about some of the healthiest whole-grain foods.
Certain foods do not fit in one of the food groups above yet contain significant amounts of iron. Adding them to your diet can help you meet your recommended daily iron intake.
|canned coconut milk|
Various strategies can help you increase your body’s ability to absorb non-heme iron. Here are the best-researched methods:
- Eat vitamin C-rich foods: Consuming vitamin C-rich foods at the same time as foods rich in non-heme iron can help increase iron absorption.
- Avoid coffee and tea with meals: Drinking coffee and tea
can reduceiron absorption.
- Soak, sprout, and ferment: Soaking, sprouting, and fermenting grains and legumes
can improveiron absorption by lowering the amount of phytates naturally present in these foods.
- Use a cast iron pan: Foods prepared in a cast iron pan
may providemore iron than those prepared in non-iron cookware.
- Consume lysine-rich foods: Plant foods like legumes and quinoa are rich in the amino acid lysine and may increase iron absorption.
What food is highest in iron?
According to the Dietary Guidelines of America, iron-fortified, whole grain cereals contain the most iron, with about
What are the 10 foods highest in iron?
- fortified whole grain, wheat, oat, and bran cereals
- duck breast
- turkey eggs
- duck eggs
- canned sardines
That said, how you define foods with the most iron can vary based on how you calculate the contents and the types of servings you are using.
Iron is a nutrient that’s essential for the human body. This mineral can be found in various foods, including many plant foods.
Besides being a good source of iron, the plant foods listed in this article also contain various other nutrients and beneficial plant compounds.
Thus, adding them to your diet will not only help you meet your iron requirements but will also likely benefit your overall health.