Top 10 Foods Highest in Iron + Infographic
Iron is an essential mineral used to transport oxygen to all parts of the body. A slight deficiency in iron causes anemia (fatigue/weakness), and a chronic deficiency can lead to organ failure. Conversely, too much iron leads to the production of harmful free radicals, and interferes with metabolism, causing damage to organs like the heart and liver.
The body is able to regulate uptake of iron, so overdose is rare and usually only occurs when people take supplements. Iron from natural food sources, like the ones listed below, are considered safe and healthy.
While iron is better absorbed from heme (meat) sources, non-heme (plant) iron is better regulated causing less damage to the body. Foods high in iron include fortified cereals, beef, shellfish, dried fruit, beans, lentils, dark leafy greens, dark chocolate, quinoa, mushrooms, and squash seeds. The current daily value (DV) for iron is 18 milligrams (mg).
Below is a list of high iron foods. For more high iron foods see the lists of high iron foods by nutrient density, non-heme plant-based iron foods, meat based heme-iron sources, high iron foods for vegans and vegetarians, and the list of fruits and vegetables high in iron.
List of High Iron Foods
- 109% DV (19.6mg) iron per 3/4 cup
- 243% DV (43.7mg) iron per 200 calorie serving
- 376% DV (67.7mg) iron per 100 grams
- 53% DV (9.6mg) iron per 6oz steak
- 23% DV (4.1mg) iron per 200 calorie serving
- 30% DV (5.5mg) iron per 100 grams
Nutrition Facts for Beef Steak.
- 43% DV (7.8mg) iron per 3oz serving
- 63% DV (11.3mg) iron per 200 calorie serving
- 51% DV (9.2mg) iron per 100 grams
More Seafood High in Iron (%DV per 3oz)Cuttlefish (51%), Whelk(48%), Octopus (45%), Mussels (32%), Abalone (18%), and Scallops (14%).
Nutrition Facts for Mollusks oyster Pacific cooked moist heat.
- 42% DV (7.5mg) iron per cup
- 22% DV (3.9mg) iron per 200 calorie serving
- 35% DV (6.3mg) iron per 100 grams
More Dried Fruit High in Iron (%DV per cup)Peaches (36%), Prunes (26%), Figs (17%), Raisins (17%), and Apples (7%). Note: Dried fruit is high in sugar and calories.
Nutrition Facts for Apricots dehydrated (low-moisture) sulfured uncooked.
- 37% DV (6.6mg) iron per cup
- 30% DV (5.3mg) iron per 200 calorie serving
- 21% DV (3.7mg) iron per 100 grams
More Beans High in Iron (%DV per cup cooked)Soybeans (49%), Lentils (37%), Kidney beans (29%), Garbanzo beans (Chickpeas) (26%), and Lima beans (25%), Navy (24%), Black Beans (Frijoles Negros) (20%), Pinto (20%), and Black-eyed Peas (20%).
See more vegetarian and vegan foods high in iron.
Nutrition Facts for Cooked Large White Beans.
- 36% DV (6.4mg) iron per cup cooked
- 172% DV (31mg) iron per 200 calorie serving
- 20% DV (3.6mg) iron per 100 grams
- 28% DV (5mg) iron per 1oz square
- 30% DV (5.4mg) iron per 200 calorie serving
- 97% DV (17.4mg) iron per 100 grams
Top 5 Benefits of Dark Chocolate.
Nutrition Facts for Baking chocolate unsweetened squares.
- 15% DV (2.8mg) iron per cup
- 14% DV (2.5mg) iron per 200 calorie serving
- 8% DV (1.5mg) iron per 100 grams
Other Grains High in Iron (%DV per cup cooked)Oatmeal (12%), Barley (12%), Rice (11%), Bulgur (10%), Buckwheat (7%), and Millet (6%). Bran from whole grains can harm absorption of iron supplements, while whole grains are a good source of iron, they should not be consumed with iron supplements.
Nutrition Facts for Quinoa (Cooked).
- 15% DV (2.7mg) iron per cup cooked
- 69% DV (12.4mg) iron per 200 calorie serving
- 10% DV (1.7mg) iron per 100 grams
More Mushrooms High in Iron (%DV per cup sliced)Morels (45% DV), Oyster (6% DV), Shiitake (3% DV).
Nutrition Facts for Cooked White Button Mushrooms.
- 14% DV (2.5mg) iron per 1oz handful
- 18% DV (3.2mg) iron per 200 calorie serving
- 49% DV (8.8mg) iron per 100 grams
More Nuts & Seeds High in Iron (%DV per oz)Sesame (23%), Sunflower (11%), and Flax (9%), Cashews (9%), Pine nuts(9%), Hazelnuts (7%), Peanuts (7%), Almonds (7%), Pistachios (7%), and Macadamia (6%).
Nutrition Facts for Seeds pumpkin and squash seed kernels dried.