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What are the foods with the most iron?

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The importance of taking minerals in our feeding it is basic to maintain the proper functioning of our body.

In particular, in humans there has always been talk of iron intake and the problems derived from optimal concentration, such as the well-known anemia.

There is a population group sensitive to this problem and that is why we wanted to group the products and foods that contain more iron to complement them in our diet.

In addition, there are also foods based on medicinal plants (especially infusions) that contain a moderate amount of this element and can also be incorporated into our daily intake.

Let’s also know the list of foods with more iron, for both carnivores and vegetarians.

Importance of iron in the body

When we talk about iron we mention an essential mineral that, depending on our diet, we will be taking it in optimal amounts, low or high (yes, there is also iron overdose).

As you know, iron is what characterizes the color of the blood based on the formation of globular proteins (hemoglobin and myoglobin).

Both proteins are responsible for directing and transport oxygen to all functional organs of the human body. The most famous is hemoglobin, since it is present in high amounts in red blood cells, and is responsible for the transport, as we have said, of oxygen.

When the concentration of this element is low in our body, the disease known as anaemia.

On the other hand, the myoglobin it is found in muscle tissue. Hence, when we buy meat in the supermarket and it has blood, the technical concept is that it has myoglobin (not hemoglobin).

This element stimulates the strengthening and physical resistance of muscle groups, as it favors mobility and production of vitamin groups such as those in the letter B.

Therefore, iron is fundamental in any period of our life, indistinctly among women, men, children and even newborns. However, there are tables where the concentration for each period can be estimated in a general way.

Iron deficiency

anemia and foods with more iron

The anaemia it is one of the most common problems due to lack of concentration of minerals (iron) in the world.

This causes a lack of red blood cell concentration that allow to transport the blood supply to all organs and parts of the body. Therefore, this lack of oxygen makes the symptom a general state of fatigue or tiredness.

Over time, this disease can lead to more serious problems, such as those mentioned below.

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Chest and head pain

Causes of anemia

  • The body does not produce enough red blood cells
  • Bleeding causes you to lose red blood cells more quickly than they can be replaced
  • The body destroys red blood cells

Iron overdose

On the other hand, the fact that there are so many mineral supplements in the form of capsules means that there are also population groups on the other side of the scale.

The excessive use of this type of supplements in a diet where foods with more iron are already consumed causes iron overdose, another problem also serious but much less common than anemia.

This can happen because of an oversight (confusion when taking supplements or poisoning of young children) or directly from abuse of foods with more iron.

Of the iron supplements better known, they are usually manufactured from the following chemical formulas.

  • Ferrous sulphate
  • Ferrous fumarate
  • Ferrous gluconate

Problems with iron overdose

  • Breathing problems (fluid retention in the lungs)
  • Liver damage
  • Nausea and vomiting (sometimes bloody)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Dizziness and headache

How much iron do we need to take?

Iron concentration is age-based and is supported by the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine.

Category Age Daily amount
Infants and children < 6 months 0.27 mg/day
  from 7 months to 1 year 11 mg/day
  From 1 to 3 years 7 mg/day
  From 4 to 8 years old 10 mg/day
Men From 9 to 13 years old 8 mg/day
  From 14 to 18 years old 11 mg/day
  > 19 years old 8 mg/day
Women From 9 to 13 years old 8 mg/day
  From 14 to 18 years old 15 mg/day
  From 19 to 50 years old 18 mg/day
  > 51 years old 8 mg/day
  Pregnant women 27 mg/day
  Lactating women 9 mg/day

Recommended daily intake

Health authorities recommend a minimum daily intake of 18 mg for adult women. However, depending on sex, female or male, age and body weight, it may be needed more or less.

For example, women in the post-menopausal period or during menstruation require a higher iron index, and more in pregnant women (27 mg).

Therefore, the pregnant women are the ones who should pay the most attention to the consumption of foods with more iron in their diet, since the needs are up to 1.5 times higher than in the normal scope of their life.

Foods with more iron for our diet

foods with more iron for our diet

From here, we are going to show you a list of the foods that contain more iron and that we can easily introduce into our diet.

List of foods with more iron (mg/100gr) and assimilation rate in the body.

Foods Concentration Absorption rate
Clams and cockles 24 mg/100gr Good
Liver 13 mg/100gr Very good
Lentils 8.2 mg/100gr Casualty
Hazelnuts 7.9 mg/100gr Casualty
Pistachios 7.2 mg/100gr Casualty
Chickpeas 6.8 mg/100gr Casualty
Almonds 6.3 mg/100gr Casualty
Jewish 6.2 mg/100gr Casualty
Liver pate 5.5 mg/100gr Very good
Nuts 5 mg/100gr Casualty
Mussels 4.5 mg/100gr Good
Anchovies 4.2 mg/100gr Good
Iberian ham 3.3 mg/100gr Very good
Lamb 3.2 mg/100gr Very good
Sardines 2.9 mg/100gr Good
Beef 2.6 mg/100gr Very good
Spinach 2.4 mg/100gr Casualty
Egg 2.2 mg/100gr Casualty
Ham 2.1 mg/100gr Very goodq
Pork shoulder 2.1 mg/100gr Very good
Turkey thigh 2.0 mg/100gr Very good
Chorizo 2.0 mg/100gr Very good
Prawns and prawns 2.0 mg/100gr Very good

As you can see in the table, there are foods with very assimilable iron and others not so assimilable. In the case of vegetables, foods usually have a lower absorption rate and usually cost more, so the consumption of vegetables and cereals for iron supply in vegetarians and vegans should be higher.

Everything that is related to the liver (grilled, stewed, fried, liver pate) has a very high rate of assimilation, above the rest of foods.

Foods with more iron for vegans

This mineral is not at odds with the vegan diet, since there are many vegetables that contain high concentrations of iron.

However, it should be borne in mind that iron of vegetable origin

Because the iron of plant origin it presents more assimilation problems than that of animal origin (lean meats, livers, etc.). Therefore, the consumption of iron through vegetables isIt needs to be done up to 1.8 times higher for the same absorption compared to animal products.

  1. Lentils
  2. Pumpkin, sesame, flax and hemp seeds
  3. Leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, chard and beet leaves)
  4. Fried tomato
  5. Potatoes
  6. Mushrooms
  7. Dark chocolate
  8. Palm
  9. Blackberries
  10. Oat

Foods with iron for children

In the case of children, there are no foods with iron especially aimed at children, since most of them are adapted to their diet. In fact, they are usually appetizing for children and easily accessible to their food, such as meat, fried tomato, pâté, etc.

Foods that children do not usually like (although each one is a world) are usually leafy vegetables, lentils and clams and cockles. However, they can be substituted for lean meats to complete your daily needs for this mineral.

Foods with iron for the elderly

The same context applies to children. Fortunately, there are many ingredients and foods that contain high concentrations of iron, so a varied diet allows you to obtain with some ease the levels required in the elderly.

Feeding through meat and fish, vegetables and cereals is appropriate for all types of people at risk, even diabetic people or with high cholesterol.

For elderly people with low mobility, there are also foods with iron that can be eaten by crushing or porridge (like most vegetables, meats and other options).

Foods to avoid during iron consumption

One of the problems less known by the population is how supplement iron intake. When we take any of the foods mentioned in the table above and mix it with other products, we commit the risk of “washing” or avoiding its assimilation by the body.

Foods with more iron that in themselves do not have a very good assimilation rate, they worsen even more when we take any of the foods that we are going to mention below.

Therefore, especially in a situation of risk, it is not advisable to take as a dessert any of the following ingredients if we have difficulties of assimilation of this mineral.

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Milk
  • Foods high in fiber
  • Soy protein
  • Other minerals (calcium, magnesium or zinc).

Do you know other foods with more iron?


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About Andrew Parkinson

Andrew Parkinson is a highly accomplished pharmacist with a passion for improving healthcare. With a wealth of experience in both community and clinical pharmacy settings, he's known for his dedication to patient well-being. Mr. Parkinson actively engages in medication management, offering personalized solutions and promoting better health outcomes. He has also played a pivotal role in educating patients on proper medication usage and potential interactions. Andrew's commitment to advancing the field of pharmacy and ensuring safe and effective drug therapies has garnered him recognition as a trusted and invaluable healthcare professional, making a positive impact on countless lives.

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