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Getting Enough Iron

How much dietary iron is recommended each day?

Recommended daily amounts of iron from food 1
Men

Adult

8 mg

Women

Adult (age 50 and older)

8 mg

Adult (ages 19 to 50)

18 mg

Pregnant

27 mg

Lactating

9 mg to 10 mg

Adolescents (ages 9 to 18)

Girls

8 mg to 15 mg

Boys

8 mg to 11 mg

Children (birth to age 8)

Ages 4 to 8

10 mg

Ages 1 to 3

7 mg

Infants (7 months to 1 year)

11 mg

Infants (birth to 6 months)

0.27 mg

What foods are high in iron?

You can get iron from many types of food made from animals and plants. Beef and turkey are good sources of iron from meats. Beans are good sources of iron from plants.

Iron-fortified foods includes cereals.

Meat and poultry 2
  Serving size Iron (mg)

Beef (ground)

3 oz

2 mg

Chicken

3 oz

1 mg

Turkey

3 oz

1 mg-2 mg

Fruits and vegetables 2
  Serving size Iron (mg)

Beans (cooked or canned)

1 cup

1 mg-5 mg

Potato (baked)

1 medium

2 mg

Raisins

1 cup

3 mg

Spinach (cooked)

1 cup

6 mg

     

Cereals and grains 2
  Serving size Iron (mg)

Cereals (iron-fortified, ready to eat)

1 cup

4 mg-18 mg

Oatmeal (instant)

1 cup

4 mg

Rice (white, enriched)

1 cup

3 mg

Citations

  1. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine (2004). Dietary Reference Intakes for Elements. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Also available online: http://www.iom.edu/Object.File/Master/7/294/Webtableminerals.pdf.

  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (2010). Nutrient data laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23. Available online: http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology
Last Revised April 8, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 08, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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