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Fruits and Vegetables High in Iron


Iron is an essential mineral used to transport oxygen to all parts of our body. A slight deficiency of iron causes anemia (fatigue/weakness), and a chronic deficiency can lead to organ failure. Conversely, too much iron leads to production of harmful free radicals, and interferes with metabolism causing damage to organs like the heart and liver. Iron which comes from fruits and vegetables is well regulated by the body, so overdose is rare and usually only occurs when people take supplements. Contrary to popular belief, fruits and vegetables can be a good source of iron, in addition, vitamin C foods, which are mostly fruits and vegetables, help increase the absorption of iron into the body. The current daily value for iron is 18 milligrams (mg). Below is a list of fruits and vegetables high in iron.

#1: Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Iron 100gIron in 1 CupIron in 1 Piece
9mg5mg0.2mg
51% DV27% DV1% DV
Click to see complete nutrition facts

#2: Dried Apricots
Iron per 100g servingIron in 1 Cup
6mg7.5mg
35% DV42% DV
Click to see complete nutrition facts || More about Apricots

#3: Fresh Parsley
Iron per 100g servingIron in 1 CupIron in 1 Tablespoon
6mg4mg0.25mg
34% DV21% DV1% DV
Click to see complete nutrition facts || Recipe: Parsley Salad (Tabouleh)

#4: Spinach (Cooked)
Iron per 100g ServingIron in 1 Cup
3.5mg6.5mg
20% DV36% DV
Click to see complete nutrition facts || More about Spinach

#5: Dried Coconut (Unsweetened)
Iron per 100gIron in 1 Ounce
3.3mg1mg
18% DV5% DV
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#6: Olives
Iron per 100gIron in 1 Large Olive
3.3mg0.1mg
18% DV1% DV
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#7: Dried Zante Currants and Raisins
Iron per 100gIron in 1 Cup
3mg4.7mg
18% DV26% DV
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#8: Palm Hearts
Iron per 100gIron in 1 CupIron per Piece
3mg4.6mg1mg
17% DV25% DV6% DV
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#9: Lentil Sprouts
Iron per 100g servingIron in 1 Cup
3mg2.5mg
17% DV14% DV
Click to see complete nutrition facts

#10: Swiss Chard
Iron per 100g servingIron in 1 Cup Chopped
2.3mg4mg
13% DV22% DV
Click to see complete nutrition facts || More about Swiss Chard






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Even More Iron Rich Fruits and Vegetables

Asparagus (Raw)2.1mg (12% DV) per 100 gram serving2.9mg (16% DV) per cup (134 grams)0.4mg (2% DV) in 1 spear (20 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Raw Asparagus
Broccoli Raab (Rapini)2.1mg (12% DV) per 100 gram serving0.9mg (5% DV) per cup chopped (40 grams)0.4mg (2% DV) in 1 stalk (19 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Raw Broccoli Raab
Pears (Dried)2.1mg (12% DV) per 100 gram serving3.8mg (21% DV) per cup (180 grams)0.4mg (2% DV) in 1 half (18 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Dried Pears
Figs (Dried)2mg (11% DV) per 100 gram serving3mg (17% DV) per cup (149 grams)0.2mg (1% DV) per fig (8 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Dried Figs
Apples (Dried)2mg (11% DV) per 100 gram serving1.2mg (7% DV) per cup (60 grams)0.6mg (4% DV) in a half-cup (30 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Dried Apples
Mulberries (Raw)1.9mg (10% DV) per 100 gram serving2.6mg (14% DV) per cup (140 grams)0.3mg (2% DV) in 10 mulberries (15 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Raw Mulberries
Lemon Grass (Citronella)8mg (45% DV) per 100 gram serving5.5mg (30% DV) per cup (67 grams)0.4mg (2% DV) per tablespoon (5 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Lemon Grass
Dandelion Greens3mg (17% DV) per 100 gram serving1.7mg (10% DV) per cup chopped (55 grams)0.9mg (5% DV) per half-cup chopped (23 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Dandelion Greens
Tamarind (Raw)2.8mg (16% DV) per 100 gram serving3.4mg (19% DV) per cup pulp (120 grams)0.1mg (0% DV) per fruit (2 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Raw Tamarind
Garlic (Raw)1.7mg (9% DV) per 100 gram serving2.3mg (13% DV) per cup (136 grams)0.2mg (1% DV) in 3 cloves (9 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Raw Garlic
Kale (Raw)1.7mg (9% DV) per 100 gram serving1.1mg (6% DV) per cup chopped (67 grams)0.6mg (3% DV) in half a cup chopped (33 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Raw Kale
Succotash (Corn and Lima Beans)1.5mg (8% DV) per 100 gram serving2.9mg (16% DV) per cup (192 grams)1.5mg (8% DV) in half a cup (96 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Succotash
Sauerkraut1.5mg (8% DV) per 100 gram serving3.5mg (19% DV) per cup (undrained) (236 grams)2.1mg (12% DV) per cup (drained) (142 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Canned Sauerkraut
Leeks1.1mg (6% DV) per 100 gram serving1.2mg (8% DV) per cup chopped (104 grams)1.4mg (8% DV) per leek (124 grams)Click to see complete nutrition facts for Cooked Leeks

Factors which Affect Iron Absorption and Retention

  • The most important factor is your existing iron level. A low iron level will increase absorption, while a high iron level will decrease absorption. In general, you absorb 10-15% of the iron from foods.2
  • Vitamin C will increase the absorption of nonheme iron by as much as 85%.2,3
  • Tannins, oxalates, polyphenols, and phytates found in tea and coffee can reduce the absorption of non-heme iron by up to 65%. Black tea reduces absorption more than green tea and coffee.2,3,4
  • The following teas and beverages also inhibit iron absorption: Peppermint tea, penny royal, cocoa, vervain, lime flower, chamomile, and most other herbal teas with polyphenols.4
  • Calcium, polyphenols, and phytates found in legumes, whole grains, and chocolate can reduce absorption of nonheme iron.
  • Some protein from soy products may inhibit nonheme iron absorption.2
  • Calcium, milk, and antacids can inhibit absorption of iron supplements.5
  • High fiber foods, such as whole grains, raw vegetables, and bran can inhibit absorption of iron supplements.5
  • Foods or drinks with caffeine can inhibit absorption of iron supplements.5

High Risk Groups for an Iron Deficiency

  • Menstruating Women - Due to blood loss during menstruation women of child bearing age are at risk of iron deficiency, the greater the blood loss the greater the risk.
  • Individuals with Kidney Failure - People with kidney failure, and especially those on dialysis, are at high risk of iron deficiency anemia. This is due to an inability of the kidney to create adequate amounts of the hormone erythropoietin which is necessary for red blood cell creation, and therefore, retaining iron.
  • Pregnant and lactating women - A developing fetus requires a high amount of iron, likewise, there is a high amount of iron lost through breast milk after birth.
  • Older infants and toddlers
  • People with low levels of Vitamin A - Vitamin A greatly helps move iron from storage in the body, without adequate amounts of vitamin A the body cannot regulate iron properly leading to an iron deficiency.
  • People with gastrointestinal disorders - Diarrhea, ulcers, and other gastrointestinal disorders and diseases can lead to an inadequate iron absorption.

Recipes High in Iron

Low Sugar Chocolate Banana Pudding
Vegetarian Kibbeh (Kibet Adas)
Spicey Lentil Cabbage
Split Pea Salad
Spicey Lentil Cabbage
Vegetarian Gumbo with Navy Beans
Pumpkin Soup with Yellow Split Peas
Lentil Soup



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