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Iron-Rich Foods

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Iron-Rich Foods continued...

Very good sources of nonheme iron, with 3.5 milligrams or more per serving, include:

  • Breakfast cereals enriched with iron
  • One cup of cooked beans
  • One-half cup of tofu
  • 1 ounce of pumpkin, sesame, or squash seeds

Good sources of nonheme iron, with 2.1 milligrams or more per serving, include:

  • One-half cup of canned lima beans, red kidney beans, chickpeas, or split peas
  • One cup of dried apricots
  • One medium baked potato
  • One medium stalk of broccoli
  • One cup of cooked enriched egg noodles
  • One-fourth cup of wheat germ

Other sources of nonheme iron, with 0.7 milligrams or more, include:

  • 1 ounce of peanuts, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, roasted almonds, roasted cashews, or sunflower seeds
  • One-half  cup of dried seedless raisins, peaches, or prunes
  • One cup of spinach
  • One medium green pepper
  • One cup of pasta
  • One slice of bread, pumpernickel bagel, or bran muffin
  • One cup of rice

 

How to Get More Iron From Your Food

Some foods can help your body absorb iron from iron-rich foods; others can hinder it. To absorb the most iron from the foods you eat, avoid drinking coffee or tea or consuming calcium-rich foods or drinks with meals containing iron-rich foods. To improve your absorption of iron, eat it along with a good source of vitamin C -- such as orange juice, broccoli, or strawberries -- or eat nonheme iron foods with a food from the meat, fish, and poultry group.

If you have trouble getting enough iron from food sources, you may need an iron supplement. But speak to your health care provider about the proper dosage first and follow his or her instructions carefully. Because very little iron is excreted from the body, iron can accumulate in body tissues and organs when the normal storage sites -- the liver, spleen, and bone marrow -- are full. Although iron toxicity from food sources is rare, deadly overdoses are possible with supplements.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on October 02, 2014
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