Image for iron Many people, especially women of childbearing age, infants, and pregnant women, may not take in as much iron as they need. However, there are many good food sources of iron to choose from. If your doctor advises you to increase your iron intake, consult the chart below to determine how much you need, and read on for some suggestions to meet those needs.

Your blood depends on iron to help it carry oxygen through the body. In some cases, anemia is caused by a lack of iron in the diet. Iron also helps your body to fight infection and to make collagen, which is the major protein that makes up connective tissue, cartilage, and bone. Other medical conditions may be worsened if you do not have enough iron.

Food Sources of Mostly Heme Iron (Contain Some Nonheme As Well)
Food Serving size Iron content
(mg)
Chicken liver, cooked 3-½ ounces 11
Oysters, breaded and fried 3 ounces 5.7
Beef, chuck, lean only, braised 3 ounces 3.1
Beef, top sirloin, lean only, broiled 3 ounces 1.6
Beef liver 3 ounces 5.2
Turkey, dark meat, roasted 3 ounces 2.0
Beef, ground, 85% lean 3 ounces 2.2
Turkey, light meat, roasted 3 ounces 1.1
Chicken, dark meat only, roasted 3 ounces 1.1
Tuna, fresh yellowfin, cooked, dry heat 3 ounces 1.1
Chicken, breast, roasted 3 ounces 0.8
Halibut, cooked, dry heat 3 ounces 0.2
Crab, Alaskan king, cooked, moist heat 3 ounces 0.8
Pork, loin, broiled 3 ounces 0.7
Tuna, white, canned in water 3 ounces 1.3
Shrimp, mixed species, cooked, moist heat 4 large 0.3
Food Sources of Nonheme Iron
Food Serving size Iron content
(mg)
Breakfast cereal, 100% iron fortified ¾ cup 18
Breakfast cereal, 25% iron fortified ¾ cup 4.5
Soybean nuts, boiled 1 cup 8.8
Molasses 1 tablespoon 0.9
Spinach, canned ½ cup 3.2
Spinach, fresh, boiled 1/2 cup 3.2
Red kidney beans, boiled 1 cup 5.2
Lima beans, cooked 1 cup 4.5
Blackeye peas, boiled 1 cup 4.3
Navy beans, boiled 1 cup 4.3
Black beans, boiled 1 cup 3.6
Raisins, seedless ½ cup 1.6
Pinto beans, boiled 1 cup 3.6
Whole-wheat bread 1 slice 0.7
Tofu, raw, firm ½ cup 3.4
White bread, made with enriched flour 1 slice 0.7
Spinach, frozen, boiled ½ cup 1.9
Grits, white, enriched 1 cup 1.5
Lentils, boiled 1 cup 6.6