Iron Foods

Here is a list of iron foods that will help you get enough of this important nutrient:

Iron foods from plant sources

Beans, including pinto, kidney, lima beans and chickpeas

Dried fruits, including apricots, seedless raisins, peaches, and prunes

Breakfast cereals, breads, pasta, muffins, egg noodles, tortillas and other products enriched with iron

Nuts, including walnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, roasted cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds

Wheat germ


Lentils and split peas


Potato (with the skin)


Green bell peppers


Tomato juice

Prune juice

Iron foods from animal sources





Clams and mollusks


Salmon and tuna

Halibut, haddock, perch




Click here for a printable copy of this list.

Interesting Fact: When you eat a baked potato with the skin you get 10 times as much iron than you would if you remove the skin. Be sure to scrub the potatoes well before baking to remove dirt and other residue.

Iron from animal sources seems to be better absorbed.

There are actually two types of iron that you can get from the foods you eat. One is “heme” iron that only comes from animal flesh foods. The other type of iron is called “non-heme” iron and is found in both animal and plant foods.

Scientific research suggests that the heme iron that you consume is more available to be absorbed into your system. This is in part because animal flesh foods also contain a special peptide that helps in the absorption of the non-heme form of iron.

You may not be getting enough iron

Nutritionists generally agree that across the globe, iron is the nutrient that is most likely to be deficient in the diet. This applies to both developed countries and underdeveloped countries, Those most vulnerable are children, pregnant women, and women in their reproductive years.

In developed countries where food is plentiful, iron deficiency may result from restricted diets, poor food choices, or inadequate absorption due to digestive tract disease.

In less developed countries, iron deficiency is more likely caused by an absence of iron-rich foods or enough food of any kind.

Excessive bleeding and heavy sweating from intense physical exertion can also cause iron deficiency.

Fun Fact about Iron Foods: You can even get iron from that cast iron skillet you use for cooking. The food picks up the iron from the skillet and it is absorbed by your body.

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