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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 percent 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
Click to see complete nutrition facts

#6: Olives
Iron per 100gIron in 1 Large Olive
3.3mg0.1mg
18% DV1% DV
Click to see complete nutrition facts

#7: Dried Zante Currants and Raisins
Iron per 100gIron in 1 Cup
3mg4.7mg
18% DV26% DV
Click to see complete nutrition facts

#8: Palm Hearts
Iron per 100gIron in 1 CupIron per Piece
3mg4.6mg1mg
17% DV25% DV6% DV
Click to see complete nutrition facts

#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




Comments.
Name:Dushka
Location:Prescott, AZ
Subject:Iron in Blueberries
Being born and brought up in Europe I was always told the best source of iron were in fact blueberries. When I was pregnant I ate a lot of those. At the time of delivery I was told by the hospital nurse that my blood registered highest amount of iron, while several other women were a bit short of it. Those were wild blueberries very juicy and tasty.
Posted on 2011-09-03 16:10:46
Name:Fred Atkinson
Location:England
Subject:More High Iron Foods?
Are there any other foods that are known to have high amounts of iron?
Posted on 2011-09-14 04:16:43
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: More High Iron Foods?
Hi Fred, thanks for your question. Please see this article on high iron foods for many more foods which contain iron.
Posted on 2011-09-14 06:48:32
Name:Emma
Subject:Spinach and Iron
Spinach is a terrible source of iron! It has inhibiting substances, including high levels of oxalate, which can bind to the iron to form ferrous oxalate and render much of the iron in spinach unusable by the body. In addition to preventing absorption and use, high levels of oxalates remove iron from the body.
Posted on 2011-09-15 22:47:35
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Spinach and Iron
Hi Emma, thanks for your comment, this issue was also raised in the article on high iron foods. Basically, while spinach does contain oxalates, which do inhibit some absorption of iron, spinach also contains vitamin C which enhances iron absorption. Further spinach contains vitamin A which can help to free iron from storage in your body, increasing and regulating the amount of iron in your blood if your serum (blood) iron levels are low. Therefore you will still absorb iron from spinach, and like all plant sources of iron, it will not be absorbed as efficiently as meat sources, but will be better regulated by your body. High levels of iron in the blood is unhealthy and obtaining iron from plant sources is thought to be one of the health benefits of vegetarianism.
Posted on 2011-09-16 09:47:05
Name:Anonymous
Location:Fareham, Hampshire
Subject:Iron in Veg
Try butter beans 7mg per 100g. Red lentils (Dhal) are also very good. Cashew nuts taken with goji berries as a vitamin c carrier to help absorb the iron.
Posted on 2011-09-17 14:58:59
Name:Rebekah Hall
Location:Holbrook, AZ
Subject:Iron Content in Beets
I have heard that beets are a good source of Iron. Is this true? I like beets so was just curious as to how much Iron they have.
Posted on 2011-12-01 15:35:47
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Iron Content in Beets
Hi Rebekah, beets are a fairly good vegetable source of iron, but you can get more iron from spinach or swiss chard. Beets provide 0.8mg of iron per 100 gram serving for 4% of the DV. 100 grams is equal to two cooked beets. One raw beet will provide 0.67mg of iron (~4%DV), the same as 1/2 a cup of cooked beets. Complete nutrition facts for beets.
Posted on 2011-12-01 22:14:58
Name:Hakara
Location:Wonderland
Subject:Are Apples a Good Source of Iron?
Is there iron in apples?
Posted on 2011-12-05 19:37:46
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Are Apples a Good Source of Iron?
Hi Hakara, dried apples can be a source of iron, providing 1.2mg (7% DV) in a single cup, while even a large fresh apple only provides 0.3mg (2% DV) of iron and is not a very good source of iron. Here are the complete nutrition facts for dried and fresh apples.
Posted on 2011-12-05 21:32:42
Name:Anonymous
Location:London
Subject:Spinach for Iron is a Myth
Emma is right; spinach is a terrible source of iron. German scientist Emil von Wolff misplaced a decimal point in an 1870 measurement of spinach's iron content, leading to an iron value 10 times higher than it should have been. The cartoon character Popeye, portrayed as becoming physically stronger after consuming spinach has been a popular story based on these faulty calculations. Spinach is an iron inhibitor because of its high content of oxalates.
Posted on 2011-12-13 19:44:12
Name:Pankaj
Location:Redmond
Subject:Does Eggplant have Iron?
Is eggplant a good source of iron?
Posted on 2011-12-22 17:44:21
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Does Eggplant have Iron?
Hi Pankaj, thanks for your question. A whole 1 pound (~1/2 kilo) eggplant will provide 1.3mg (7% DV) of iron. While 1 cup of cooked eggplant will only provide 0.25mg (1% DV) of iron. So while eggplant does provide some iron, it is not necessarily a good source. Click here for the complete nutrition facts for Eggplants.
Posted on 2011-12-23 11:35:38
Name:Vijay Mattoo
Location:Jammu
Subject:Supplement of B12
I want to know the foods rich in B12.
Posted on 2012-01-07 04:06:36
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Supplement of B12
Hi Vijay, thanks for your question. You can find a list of high vitamin B12 foods here. Most of these foods are non-vegetarian, so here is a list of the top natural vegetarian sources of vitamin B12. Further, you can purchase vitamin B12 supplements here.
Posted on 2012-01-11 14:14:46
Name:Patricia
Location:Niger
Subject:Plantains and Iron
Please, I would like to know if plantain is high in iron?
Posted on 2012-02-27 16:13:02
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Plantains and Iron
Hi Patricia, thanks for your question. Plantains are moderately high in iron. A medium sized plantain will provide 1mg (6% DV) of iron. One cup of cooked and mashed plantain will provide a little more iron with 1.2mg (6% DV). Click here to see the complete nutrition facts for plantains.
Posted on 2012-02-27 18:34:22
Name:Michael Box
Location:Adelaide
Subject:Bananas, Prunes, and Cherries
What is the iron content of bananas, prunes & cherries (cooked and uncooked)?
Posted on 2012-03-26 17:36:31
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Bananas, Prunes, and Cherries

Hi Michael, thanks for your question. A medium sized banana(118 grams) provides 0.3mg (2% DV) iron, a cup of raw cherries(138 grams) provides 0.5mg (3% DV) of iron, and a cup of prunes(132 grams) provides 5mg (26% DV) for iron. Nutrition Facts for Uncooked Bananas, Cherries, and Prunes.

Dried bananas provide 1mg (6% DV) of iron per cup (100g), canned cherries provide 0.9mg (5% DV) per cup (248g), and stewed prunes provide 3mg (18% DV) per cup (280g). Nutrition Facts for Dried Bananas, Cannned Cherries, and Stewed Prunes.

Posted on 2012-03-26 21:43:31
Name:Anonymous
Location:Mumbai
Subject:Calcium affects absorption of Iron
I understand calcium affects absorption of iron in the blood, but many of the foods listed here like almonds, dried herbs, sesame seeds, and green leafy vegetables are rich in iron as well as calcium. The calcium in these foods must be affecting the absorption of iron. So can you suggest food items which are iron rich but low in calcium?
Posted on 2012-05-03 20:46:46
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Calcium affects absorption of Iron
Thanks for your question and suggestion, a list of high iron but low calcium vegetarian foods will be created. You can also use the nutrient ranking tool to find foods with the highest iron to calcium ratio. The Office of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheet on Iron lists several factors which affect absorption of iron. Tannins (found in tea), calcium, polyphenols, and phytates (found in legumes and whole grains) can decrease absorption of nonheme(plant based) iron, however, vitamin C, can help to increase absorption of iron. Further, the amount of iron your body actually needs will also affect absorption and your body will absorb less iron if your levels are already high. This is the main benefit of getting iron from plant foods rather than meat foods since iron from plants is better regulated, and high blood iron (hemochromatosis) can be bad for your body.
Posted on 2012-05-03 21:20:49
Name:Anonymous
Location:Spain
Subject:Beetroot
Hi, in my first pregnancy I was found to be anaemic and they prescribed me iron tablets which made me very constipated so a friend suggested beetroot. I ate beetroot every day for almost 4 months (it was my craving anyway so I enjoyed it thoroughly) and when my iron level was taken at the end of the pregnancy it was found that I had more than substantial iron levels and when the midwife asked me if I had been taking the iron tablets and I said no she gasped and said I should have been almost dead with the extremely low readings I had in the beginning, that was until I told her about my beetroot craving and now she advises a lot of her women to try and eat a healthy iron rich diet instead of taking the tablets (unless the consultant says otherwise!) So beetroot really does work!!
Posted on 2012-05-12 05:53:34
Name:Kate
Location:Lincolnshire
Subject:3 year old
Hi my daughter whom is 3 years old earlier this year was dianoised with ITP (low platelets) also throughout that period had low iron levels but not too low, 11. She has since overcome the ITP and her iron level is back normal. However, they have said that her ferritin level is ok but lower than they would like at 15. They have advised to keep her diet full of iron which I'm trying to do. However, how will I know when I can stop revolving her diet around iron based foods? They have signed her off at the hospital.
Posted on 2012-08-30 03:11:38
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: 3 year old
Hi Kate, thanks for your question. Ferritin levels measure how much iron is stored in the body, you need to rebuild your daughter's iron stores. If you feed her plant foods which are high in iron, her body will be able to regulate her iron levels while rebuilding stores. You may need to do this for months till your daughter has another blood test. At that point, you will know if her ferritin levels are sufficiently robust. If your daughter starts to demonstrate signs of weakness, or anemia, you may want to try feed her more meat sources of iron, which are better abosrbed by the body. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2012-08-30 08:26:48
Name:Vipul
Location:India
Subject:Iron in pomegranate
Is pomegranate a good source of iron?
Posted on 2012-09-13 12:21:47
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Iron in pomegranate
Hi Vipul, thanks for your question. Pomegranate is not a good source of iron, a medium sized pomegranate only provides 0.46mg (3%DV), that is 0.3mg (2%DV) per 100 grams. Here are the complete nutrition facts for pomegranates.
Posted on 2012-09-14 14:25:51
Name:Jazmine
Location:Nevada
Subject:Beets and Orange Juice
I had been told that drinking a blend of beets(raw) and orange juice is a good source of iron but is driking to much bad for you??
Posted on 2012-11-30 14:41:50
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Beets and Orange Juice
Hi Jazmine, thanks for your question. Beets and orange juice are a decent source of iron. The only drawback is that they are high in carbohydrates and sugars. So you probably do not want to have more than 16-32oz a day.
Nutrition Facts for Beets and Orange Juice.
Posted on 2012-12-01 08:25:14
Name:Samantha
Location:Australia
Subject:Mushrooms
Hi, I've heard that mushrooms are really high in iron. Is this true? And if so raw or cooked mushrooms?
Posted on 2013-01-09 14:31:45
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Mushrooms
Hi Samantha, mushrooms are moderately high in iron. Portabellas are the best source. 1 cup of grilled portabella provides 4%DV for iron. 1 cup raw (~1 portabella) provides 3% DV. Complete nutrition facts for portabella mushrooms.
Posted on 2013-01-09 16:37:34
Name:Anonymous
Location:Singapore
Subject:Is Cocoa still a good source of iron?
Hi, you have cocoa listed as a beverage inhibiting iron absorption. Were you thinking of pure cocoa? I read in your aritcle on high iron foods that pure cocoa powder has high iron content. Appreciate if you could clarify as I love drinking pure cocoa powder mixed with hot water. No milk. Thanks!
Posted on 2013-04-27 09:47:14
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Is Cocoa still a good source of iron?
Hello and thanks for your question. For any food containing iron, you will only absorb a percentage of the iron it contains. This is true for meat, vegetables, and cocoa. In the same way, any food which inhibits iron absorption, will only inhibit a percentage of it. The question with cocoa is how much of the iron you will absorb? This can depend on a variety of factors, including how much iron is stored in your body. This is a good thing, as too much iron in your body can be bad for you. This study tested the absorption of iron from cocoa and concluded that cocoa is a still a good source of iron. So your hot cocoa drink is still a good source of iron.
Posted on 2013-04-28 02:42:04
Name:Stephen
Location:Oregon
Subject:RE: RE: Spinach and Iron
As a pharmacist who has studied a lot of pharmacokinetics I can assure you that the oxylates contained in iron makes spinach an iron negative food. Absorption of iron is so poor that even a small shift in the equilibrium will greatly reduce iron absorption. Additionally iron and calcium are both absorbed by the same transporter but calcium has a much higher affinity for that transporter therefore iron absorption is inhibited by calcium. Finally the idea that plant based iron is better for you than heme iron is ridiculous. It is so hard to absorb iron that unless you have high iron which requires a low iron diet, heme iron is always better for you. Also if you have high iron then no iron is good for you therefore plant iron is never better for you. When it comes to vitamin A helping to mobilize iron stores in the body it is only a short term fix for low serum iron and it is rare for people to have high iron stores and low serum iron, for which medical attention not vitamin A is needed. It is also worth noting that vitamin A levels have nothing to do with the net iron content of a food. Therefore it is silly to try and use iron store mobilization as a justification for why spinach is really a good source of iron.
Posted on 2013-09-14 15:42:19
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: RE: RE: Spinach and Iron
Hi Stephen, thanks for sharing your expertise and thoughts. However, it would be good if you provided references to back your claims. Can you find a study which shows that spinach is an iron negative food? That there is no iron absorption from spinach? It would be great to see it. Further, while heme iron is the best way to replenish iron stores for someone with an iron deficiency, there is nothing to say that it is best for long term health. Some studies have suggested that donating blood to reduce iron stores can reduce cancer risk. This would make a strong case for non-heme (plant) iron, for while heme iron is the best for absorption, it can also bring iron stores up to unhealthy levels. The number one factor for iron absorption is the amount of iron already in the body. Every person is different, it is impossible to say that spinach is a bad source for everyone, and also, impossible to know how much iron everyone needs. High blood iron, or hemochromatosis, is a largely genetic condition. Spinach, while not to best food to recover from an iron deficiency, can still be a good source of iron for vegetarians, and people wanting to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Posted on 2013-09-14 23:03:46
Name:Mel
Location:Florida
Subject:Low iron foods
Is there any site or article you can direct me to for foods low in iron? I just keep finding high iron foods. Thank you for your time.
Posted on 2013-09-25 13:11:50
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Low iron foods
Hi Mel, thanks for your question. A curated list of low iron foods will be created, till then you can use the nutrient ranking tool to find foods low in iron. You can also filter by category.
Posted on 2013-09-26 22:47:10
Name:Vicky
Location:UK
Subject:RE: RE: RE: RE: Spinach and Iron
I'd just like to point out to the pharmacist (whose profession is nothing to do with nutrition) that vegetarians are 40% less likely to be anemic than meat-eaters, which discredits his claims that non-haem (not "heme") iron is never better for you.
Posted on 2013-10-17 06:27:08
Name:Aaron
Subject:%DV and Iron content
Hi, apologies if you have answered this question elsewhere, but when you say that we on average absorb 10-15% of the iron in our food (conditioned by all those other factors you mentioned: current iron lvl, vitamin C, oxalates etc. etc.) is this factored into the assessment of how much iron is contained in each food? What I am wondering is whether I can eat, eg. 300grams of fresh parsley, or some combination of foods that equal 18mgs of iron, or whether I should factor in the 10% average absorption myself and try to eat 180mgs of iron (3kgs of fresh parsley!).
Posted on 2014-01-17 22:29:54
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: %DV and Iron content
Hi Aaron, thanks for a great question. In theory, the %DV (daily value) factors in absorption factors, and therefore, the %DV is usually higher than the RDA or recommended daily allowance. The %DV for iron is 18mg, while the RDA for adult males is 8mg, adult females is 18mg, and pregnant women is 27mg.

Taking this into account, it seems the %DV is not really adjusting for reduced absorption, except for adult males, where it is only doubling the amount, accounting for 50% less absorption, and not the 10%. That said, absorption is most affected by your existing iron level. In theory, if your blood iron is low, you would absorb much more that 10-15% of the iron you eat. This is important, as a high level of blood iron can be damaging and it is good to let your body regulate your iron level. Thus if you over-consume iron you would absorb almost none of it, because your body doesn't need anymore.

The take-away from this message is to just eat 100% DV for iron and let your body control your level of iron, instead of worrying about absorption. Most people only absorb 10-15% of iron because they are getting more than enough iron!

Hope that all makes sense. For more iron foods, see the article on high iron foods.
Posted on 2014-01-18 12:57:47
Name:Richard
Location:UK
Subject:Haemochromatosis
Since being diagnosed with haemochromatosis three years ago I am certainly more aware of the foods I eat, have cut back dramatically on my red meat intake, but still treat myself to the occasional steak, (although have never really been a big red meat eater anyway so no great loss).

I usually need to have two or three venesections per year to keep the iron levels under control and avoid the particularly high iron content veg but otherwise eating habits are unaffected.

Still always interesting to read and gain new insights from sites like this.

Posted on 2014-04-04 12:41:15

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Comments.
Name:Dushka
Location:Prescott, AZ
Subject:Iron in Blueberries
Being born and brought up in Europe I was always told the best source of iron were in fact blueberries. When I was pregnant I ate a lot of those. At the time of delivery I was told by the hospital nurse that my blood registered highest amount of iron, while several other women were a bit short of it. Those were wild blueberries very juicy and tasty.
Posted on 2011-09-03 16:10:46
Name:Fred Atkinson
Location:England
Subject:More High Iron Foods?
Are there any other foods that are known to have high amounts of iron?
Posted on 2011-09-14 04:16:43
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: More High Iron Foods?
Hi Fred, thanks for your question. Please see this article on high iron foods for many more foods which contain iron.
Posted on 2011-09-14 06:48:32
Name:Emma
Subject:Spinach and Iron
Spinach is a terrible source of iron! It has inhibiting substances, including high levels of oxalate, which can bind to the iron to form ferrous oxalate and render much of the iron in spinach unusable by the body. In addition to preventing absorption and use, high levels of oxalates remove iron from the body.
Posted on 2011-09-15 22:47:35
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Spinach and Iron
Hi Emma, thanks for your comment, this issue was also raised in the article on high iron foods. Basically, while spinach does contain oxalates, which do inhibit some absorption of iron, spinach also contains vitamin C which enhances iron absorption. Further spinach contains vitamin A which can help to free iron from storage in your body, increasing and regulating the amount of iron in your blood if your serum (blood) iron levels are low. Therefore you will still absorb iron from spinach, and like all plant sources of iron, it will not be absorbed as efficiently as meat sources, but will be better regulated by your body. High levels of iron in the blood is unhealthy and obtaining iron from plant sources is thought to be one of the health benefits of vegetarianism.
Posted on 2011-09-16 09:47:05
Name:Anonymous
Location:Fareham, Hampshire
Subject:Iron in Veg
Try butter beans 7mg per 100g. Red lentils (Dhal) are also very good. Cashew nuts taken with goji berries as a vitamin c carrier to help absorb the iron.
Posted on 2011-09-17 14:58:59
Name:Rebekah Hall
Location:Holbrook, AZ
Subject:Iron Content in Beets
I have heard that beets are a good source of Iron. Is this true? I like beets so was just curious as to how much Iron they have.
Posted on 2011-12-01 15:35:47
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Iron Content in Beets
Hi Rebekah, beets are a fairly good vegetable source of iron, but you can get more iron from spinach or swiss chard. Beets provide 0.8mg of iron per 100 gram serving for 4% of the DV. 100 grams is equal to two cooked beets. One raw beet will provide 0.67mg of iron (~4%DV), the same as 1/2 a cup of cooked beets. Complete nutrition facts for beets.
Posted on 2011-12-01 22:14:58
Name:Hakara
Location:Wonderland
Subject:Are Apples a Good Source of Iron?
Is there iron in apples?
Posted on 2011-12-05 19:37:46
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Are Apples a Good Source of Iron?
Hi Hakara, dried apples can be a source of iron, providing 1.2mg (7% DV) in a single cup, while even a large fresh apple only provides 0.3mg (2% DV) of iron and is not a very good source of iron. Here are the complete nutrition facts for dried and fresh apples.
Posted on 2011-12-05 21:32:42
Name:Anonymous
Location:London
Subject:Spinach for Iron is a Myth
Emma is right; spinach is a terrible source of iron. German scientist Emil von Wolff misplaced a decimal point in an 1870 measurement of spinach's iron content, leading to an iron value 10 times higher than it should have been. The cartoon character Popeye, portrayed as becoming physically stronger after consuming spinach has been a popular story based on these faulty calculations. Spinach is an iron inhibitor because of its high content of oxalates.
Posted on 2011-12-13 19:44:12
Name:Pankaj
Location:Redmond
Subject:Does Eggplant have Iron?
Is eggplant a good source of iron?
Posted on 2011-12-22 17:44:21
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Does Eggplant have Iron?
Hi Pankaj, thanks for your question. A whole 1 pound (~1/2 kilo) eggplant will provide 1.3mg (7% DV) of iron. While 1 cup of cooked eggplant will only provide 0.25mg (1% DV) of iron. So while eggplant does provide some iron, it is not necessarily a good source. Click here for the complete nutrition facts for Eggplants.
Posted on 2011-12-23 11:35:38
Name:Vijay Mattoo
Location:Jammu
Subject:Supplement of B12
I want to know the foods rich in B12.
Posted on 2012-01-07 04:06:36
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Supplement of B12
Hi Vijay, thanks for your question. You can find a list of high vitamin B12 foods here. Most of these foods are non-vegetarian, so here is a list of the top natural vegetarian sources of vitamin B12. Further, you can purchase vitamin B12 supplements here.
Posted on 2012-01-11 14:14:46
Name:Patricia
Location:Niger
Subject:Plantains and Iron
Please, I would like to know if plantain is high in iron?
Posted on 2012-02-27 16:13:02
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Plantains and Iron
Hi Patricia, thanks for your question. Plantains are moderately high in iron. A medium sized plantain will provide 1mg (6% DV) of iron. One cup of cooked and mashed plantain will provide a little more iron with 1.2mg (6% DV). Click here to see the complete nutrition facts for plantains.
Posted on 2012-02-27 18:34:22
Name:Michael Box
Location:Adelaide
Subject:Bananas, Prunes, and Cherries
What is the iron content of bananas, prunes & cherries (cooked and uncooked)?
Posted on 2012-03-26 17:36:31
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Bananas, Prunes, and Cherries

Hi Michael, thanks for your question. A medium sized banana(118 grams) provides 0.3mg (2% DV) iron, a cup of raw cherries(138 grams) provides 0.5mg (3% DV) of iron, and a cup of prunes(132 grams) provides 5mg (26% DV) for iron. Nutrition Facts for Uncooked Bananas, Cherries, and Prunes.

Dried bananas provide 1mg (6% DV) of iron per cup (100g), canned cherries provide 0.9mg (5% DV) per cup (248g), and stewed prunes provide 3mg (18% DV) per cup (280g). Nutrition Facts for Dried Bananas, Cannned Cherries, and Stewed Prunes.

Posted on 2012-03-26 21:43:31
Name:Anonymous
Location:Mumbai
Subject:Calcium affects absorption of Iron
I understand calcium affects absorption of iron in the blood, but many of the foods listed here like almonds, dried herbs, sesame seeds, and green leafy vegetables are rich in iron as well as calcium. The calcium in these foods must be affecting the absorption of iron. So can you suggest food items which are iron rich but low in calcium?
Posted on 2012-05-03 20:46:46
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Calcium affects absorption of Iron
Thanks for your question and suggestion, a list of high iron but low calcium vegetarian foods will be created. You can also use the nutrient ranking tool to find foods with the highest iron to calcium ratio. The Office of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheet on Iron lists several factors which affect absorption of iron. Tannins (found in tea), calcium, polyphenols, and phytates (found in legumes and whole grains) can decrease absorption of nonheme(plant based) iron, however, vitamin C, can help to increase absorption of iron. Further, the amount of iron your body actually needs will also affect absorption and your body will absorb less iron if your levels are already high. This is the main benefit of getting iron from plant foods rather than meat foods since iron from plants is better regulated, and high blood iron (hemochromatosis) can be bad for your body.
Posted on 2012-05-03 21:20:49
Name:Anonymous
Location:Spain
Subject:Beetroot
Hi, in my first pregnancy I was found to be anaemic and they prescribed me iron tablets which made me very constipated so a friend suggested beetroot. I ate beetroot every day for almost 4 months (it was my craving anyway so I enjoyed it thoroughly) and when my iron level was taken at the end of the pregnancy it was found that I had more than substantial iron levels and when the midwife asked me if I had been taking the iron tablets and I said no she gasped and said I should have been almost dead with the extremely low readings I had in the beginning, that was until I told her about my beetroot craving and now she advises a lot of her women to try and eat a healthy iron rich diet instead of taking the tablets (unless the consultant says otherwise!) So beetroot really does work!!
Posted on 2012-05-12 05:53:34
Name:Kate
Location:Lincolnshire
Subject:3 year old
Hi my daughter whom is 3 years old earlier this year was dianoised with ITP (low platelets) also throughout that period had low iron levels but not too low, 11. She has since overcome the ITP and her iron level is back normal. However, they have said that her ferritin level is ok but lower than they would like at 15. They have advised to keep her diet full of iron which I'm trying to do. However, how will I know when I can stop revolving her diet around iron based foods? They have signed her off at the hospital.
Posted on 2012-08-30 03:11:38
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: 3 year old
Hi Kate, thanks for your question. Ferritin levels measure how much iron is stored in the body, you need to rebuild your daughter's iron stores. If you feed her plant foods which are high in iron, her body will be able to regulate her iron levels while rebuilding stores. You may need to do this for months till your daughter has another blood test. At that point, you will know if her ferritin levels are sufficiently robust. If your daughter starts to demonstrate signs of weakness, or anemia, you may want to try feed her more meat sources of iron, which are better abosrbed by the body. Hope that helps.
Posted on 2012-08-30 08:26:48
Name:Vipul
Location:India
Subject:Iron in pomegranate
Is pomegranate a good source of iron?
Posted on 2012-09-13 12:21:47
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Iron in pomegranate
Hi Vipul, thanks for your question. Pomegranate is not a good source of iron, a medium sized pomegranate only provides 0.46mg (3%DV), that is 0.3mg (2%DV) per 100 grams. Here are the complete nutrition facts for pomegranates.
Posted on 2012-09-14 14:25:51
Name:Jazmine
Location:Nevada
Subject:Beets and Orange Juice
I had been told that drinking a blend of beets(raw) and orange juice is a good source of iron but is driking to much bad for you??
Posted on 2012-11-30 14:41:50
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Beets and Orange Juice
Hi Jazmine, thanks for your question. Beets and orange juice are a decent source of iron. The only drawback is that they are high in carbohydrates and sugars. So you probably do not want to have more than 16-32oz a day.
Nutrition Facts for Beets and Orange Juice.
Posted on 2012-12-01 08:25:14
Name:Samantha
Location:Australia
Subject:Mushrooms
Hi, I've heard that mushrooms are really high in iron. Is this true? And if so raw or cooked mushrooms?
Posted on 2013-01-09 14:31:45
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Mushrooms
Hi Samantha, mushrooms are moderately high in iron. Portabellas are the best source. 1 cup of grilled portabella provides 4%DV for iron. 1 cup raw (~1 portabella) provides 3% DV. Complete nutrition facts for portabella mushrooms.
Posted on 2013-01-09 16:37:34
Name:Anonymous
Location:Singapore
Subject:Is Cocoa still a good source of iron?
Hi, you have cocoa listed as a beverage inhibiting iron absorption. Were you thinking of pure cocoa? I read in your aritcle on high iron foods that pure cocoa powder has high iron content. Appreciate if you could clarify as I love drinking pure cocoa powder mixed with hot water. No milk. Thanks!
Posted on 2013-04-27 09:47:14
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Is Cocoa still a good source of iron?
Hello and thanks for your question. For any food containing iron, you will only absorb a percentage of the iron it contains. This is true for meat, vegetables, and cocoa. In the same way, any food which inhibits iron absorption, will only inhibit a percentage of it. The question with cocoa is how much of the iron you will absorb? This can depend on a variety of factors, including how much iron is stored in your body. This is a good thing, as too much iron in your body can be bad for you. This study tested the absorption of iron from cocoa and concluded that cocoa is a still a good source of iron. So your hot cocoa drink is still a good source of iron.
Posted on 2013-04-28 02:42:04
Name:Stephen
Location:Oregon
Subject:RE: RE: Spinach and Iron
As a pharmacist who has studied a lot of pharmacokinetics I can assure you that the oxylates contained in iron makes spinach an iron negative food. Absorption of iron is so poor that even a small shift in the equilibrium will greatly reduce iron absorption. Additionally iron and calcium are both absorbed by the same transporter but calcium has a much higher affinity for that transporter therefore iron absorption is inhibited by calcium. Finally the idea that plant based iron is better for you than heme iron is ridiculous. It is so hard to absorb iron that unless you have high iron which requires a low iron diet, heme iron is always better for you. Also if you have high iron then no iron is good for you therefore plant iron is never better for you. When it comes to vitamin A helping to mobilize iron stores in the body it is only a short term fix for low serum iron and it is rare for people to have high iron stores and low serum iron, for which medical attention not vitamin A is needed. It is also worth noting that vitamin A levels have nothing to do with the net iron content of a food. Therefore it is silly to try and use iron store mobilization as a justification for why spinach is really a good source of iron.
Posted on 2013-09-14 15:42:19
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: RE: RE: Spinach and Iron
Hi Stephen, thanks for sharing your expertise and thoughts. However, it would be good if you provided references to back your claims. Can you find a study which shows that spinach is an iron negative food? That there is no iron absorption from spinach? It would be great to see it. Further, while heme iron is the best way to replenish iron stores for someone with an iron deficiency, there is nothing to say that it is best for long term health. Some studies have suggested that donating blood to reduce iron stores can reduce cancer risk. This would make a strong case for non-heme (plant) iron, for while heme iron is the best for absorption, it can also bring iron stores up to unhealthy levels. The number one factor for iron absorption is the amount of iron already in the body. Every person is different, it is impossible to say that spinach is a bad source for everyone, and also, impossible to know how much iron everyone needs. High blood iron, or hemochromatosis, is a largely genetic condition. Spinach, while not to best food to recover from an iron deficiency, can still be a good source of iron for vegetarians, and people wanting to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Posted on 2013-09-14 23:03:46
Name:Mel
Location:Florida
Subject:Low iron foods
Is there any site or article you can direct me to for foods low in iron? I just keep finding high iron foods. Thank you for your time.
Posted on 2013-09-25 13:11:50
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: Low iron foods
Hi Mel, thanks for your question. A curated list of low iron foods will be created, till then you can use the nutrient ranking tool to find foods low in iron. You can also filter by category.
Posted on 2013-09-26 22:47:10
Name:Vicky
Location:UK
Subject:RE: RE: RE: RE: Spinach and Iron
I'd just like to point out to the pharmacist (whose profession is nothing to do with nutrition) that vegetarians are 40% less likely to be anemic than meat-eaters, which discredits his claims that non-haem (not "heme") iron is never better for you.
Posted on 2013-10-17 06:27:08
Name:Aaron
Subject:%DV and Iron content
Hi, apologies if you have answered this question elsewhere, but when you say that we on average absorb 10-15% of the iron in our food (conditioned by all those other factors you mentioned: current iron lvl, vitamin C, oxalates etc. etc.) is this factored into the assessment of how much iron is contained in each food? What I am wondering is whether I can eat, eg. 300grams of fresh parsley, or some combination of foods that equal 18mgs of iron, or whether I should factor in the 10% average absorption myself and try to eat 180mgs of iron (3kgs of fresh parsley!).
Posted on 2014-01-17 22:29:54
Name:HealthAliciousNess
Subject:RE: %DV and Iron content
Hi Aaron, thanks for a great question. In theory, the %DV (daily value) factors in absorption factors, and therefore, the %DV is usually higher than the RDA or recommended daily allowance. The %DV for iron is 18mg, while the RDA for adult males is 8mg, adult females is 18mg, and pregnant women is 27mg.

Taking this into account, it seems the %DV is not really adjusting for reduced absorption, except for adult males, where it is only doubling the amount, accounting for 50% less absorption, and not the 10%. That said, absorption is most affected by your existing iron level. In theory, if your blood iron is low, you would absorb much more that 10-15% of the iron you eat. This is important, as a high level of blood iron can be damaging and it is good to let your body regulate your iron level. Thus if you over-consume iron you would absorb almost none of it, because your body doesn't need anymore.

The take-away from this message is to just eat 100% DV for iron and let your body control your level of iron, instead of worrying about absorption. Most people only absorb 10-15% of iron because they are getting more than enough iron!

Hope that all makes sense. For more iron foods, see the article on high iron foods.
Posted on 2014-01-18 12:57:47
Name:Richard
Location:UK
Subject:Haemochromatosis
Since being diagnosed with haemochromatosis three years ago I am certainly more aware of the foods I eat, have cut back dramatically on my red meat intake, but still treat myself to the occasional steak, (although have never really been a big red meat eater anyway so no great loss).

I usually need to have two or three venesections per year to keep the iron levels under control and avoid the particularly high iron content veg but otherwise eating habits are unaffected.

Still always interesting to read and gain new insights from sites like this.

Posted on 2014-04-04 12:41:15

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References

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20.
  2. Office of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheet: Iron
  3. Hallberg L, Rossander L. Effect of different drinks on the absorption of non-heme iron from composite meals. Hum Nutr Appl Nutr. 1982 Apr;36(2):116-23.
  4. Richard F. Hurrell, Manju Reddy, and James D. Cook. Inhibition of non-haem iron absorption in man by polyphenolic-containing beverages. British Journal of Nutrition (1999), 81, 289295
  5. National Library of Medicine Fact Sheet on Taking Iron Supplements.