Iron and Iron Deficiency

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Dietary Sources of Iron

Food Sources of Iron ranked by milligrams of iron per standard amount; also calories in the standard amount. (All amounts listed provide 10% or more of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for teenage and adult females, which is 18 mg/day.)

Food, Standard Amount Iron (mg) Calories
Clams, canned, drained oz 23.8 126
Fortified dry cereals (various), about 1 oz 1.8 to 21.1 54 to 127
Cooked oysters, cooked, 3 oz 10.2 116
Organ meats (liver, giblets), cooked, 3 oz 5.2 to 9.9 134 to 235
*Fortified instant cooked cereals (various), 1 packet 4.9 to 8.1 Varies
*Soybeans, mature, cooked, ½ cup 4.4 149
*Pumpkin and squash seed kernels, roasted, 1 oz 4.2 148
*White beans, canned, ½ cup 3.9 153
*Blackstrap molasses, 1 Tbsp 3.5 47
*Lentils, cooked, ½ cup 3.3 115
*Spinach, cooked from fresh, ½ cup 3.2 21
Beef, chuck, blade roast, cooked, 3 oz 3.1 215
Beef, bottom round, cooked, 3 oz 2.8 182
*Kidney beans, cooked, ½ cup 2.6 112
Sardines, canned in oil, drained, 3 oz 2.5 177
Beef, rib, cooked, 3 oz 2.4 195
*Chickpeas, cooked, ½ cup 2.4 134
Duck, meat only, roasted, 3 oz 2.3 171
Lamb, shoulder, cooked, 3 oz 2.3 237
*Prune juice, ¾ cup 2.3 136
Shrimp, canned, 3 oz 2.3 102
*Cowpeas, cooked, ½ cup 2.2 100
Ground beef, 15% fat, cooked, 3 oz 2.2 212
*Tomato puree, ½ cup 2.2 48
*Lima beans, cooked, ½ cup 2.2 108
*Soybeans, green, cooked, ½ cup 2.2 127
*Navy beans, cooked, ½ cup 2.1 127
*Refried beans, ½ cup 2.1 118
Beef, top sirloin, cooked, 3 oz 2.0 156
*Tomato paste, ¼ cup 2.0 54

Food Sources of iron are ranked by milligrams of iron per standard amount; also calories in the standard amount. (All amounts listed provide 10% or more of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for teenage and adult females, which is 18 mg/day.)

High in cholesterol.

*These are non-heme iron sources. To improve absorption, eat these with a vitamin-C rich food.

Source: USDA/HHS Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005 Nutrient values from Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 17. Foods are from ARS single nutrient reports, sorted in descending order by nutrient content in terms of common household measures. Food items and weights in the single nutrient reports are adapted from those in the 2002 revision of USDA Home and Garden Bulletin No. 72, Nutritive Value of Foods. Mixed dishes and multiple preparations of the same food item have been omitted from this table.

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