35 Iron Rich Foods For Better Health

The requirement of iron rich foods becomes predominant to the women and children owing to the high demand for their bodily needs. These sources of iron may help as they are low in calories and high in iron. Let’s look at the iron foods below.

Iron plays an important role in red blood cells and the transfer of oxygen to tissues. Iron is essential for red blood cell formation and maintenance. Iron helps maintain and build new blood cells, which in turn restores the normal functionality of the circulatory system and maintains a normal heartbeat.

One of the most common nutritional deficiencies worldwide is Iron deficiency. Women and young children are particularly vulnerable as they do not get enough sources of iron in their diet. The requirement of iron rich foods becomes predominant to women and children owing to the high demand for their bodily needs. [PMID: 24135983]

A person having a deficiency of Iron or anemia due to iron deficiency may have weak muscle function or may get tired quickly which may limit their work capacity [PMID: 15212745]. This is because their blood does not have enough hemoglobin to carry oxygen to the parts of the body. A peptide hormone called a peptide, which is released from the liver, controls and regulates iron throughout the body [PMID: 28029503].

A deficiency of iron can cause anemia, a condition where the red blood cells fail to transport oxygen effectively. Anemia is a medical emergency. In an emergency, you will be treated with oxygen and blood transfusions.

Iron deficiency is a widespread phenomenon in developing countries like India. One of the reasons that can be attributed to such wide-scale prevalence is either lack of foods high in iron in their diet or absorption of iron from the sources of iron due to poor eating habits.

Iron rich food is very essential for the overall well-being of any person. However, not all of us are getting enough of this mineral each day. Some of our most bioavailable sources of iron are in fact from animal sources. Some of these animal sources of iron can be pork, liver, and chicken. This most bioavailable form of iron is called hem iron which is absorbed by the body more efficiently. Hem iron is absorbed more efficiently than other foods high in iron. [PMID: 9460807]

The animal sources of iron rich foods are certainly rich in iron. However, most of these animal sources of iron do not have as many other nutrients, as you will need when getting enough iron, further they are also high in cholesterol, sodium and are high in lead content. So, it might be better for you to also consider a vegetarian source of iron or a combination of both for better nutrition at low calories.

However, some vegetarian sources of Iron are composed of other nutrients too that sometimes inhibit the bioavailability of iron.

Having said that, a prudent cooking process combined with a combination of foods high in iron with vitamin C foods can significantly improve iron bioavailability. Household practices such as fermentation, sprouting have been shown bioavailability improvement of iron from plant-based iron rich foods. 

The use of a combination of amchur, onion, garlic, ginger, pepper, and lime has been shown to increase the bioavailability of iron and other nutrients. [PMID: 25748063]

Studies have shown that regular consumption of iron rich foods is associated with meeting dietary iron requirements. [PMID: 21942813]

How many iron rich foods should I eat?

As per USDA a young adult male needs 8 mg of iron through diet whereas a female requires 15 mg of iron. This iron requirement increases up to 27 of mg during pregnancy.

If you don’t know what your dietary iron requirements are, then your dietitian will help you to calculate it for you. Similarly, you should do this for all the other important vitamins and minerals that you need to carry out a balanced diet. Your dietary iron sources include green leafy vegetables, red and orange colored fruits, dried beans, peanuts, seeds, and nuts. The best sources of dietary iron for women are a combination of seafood, nuts, whole wheat products, eggs, poultry, and fish.

Iron can be found in many different foods. However, iron needs to be supplemented with the diet of infants, pregnant women, and breastfeeding women. Due to the higher absorption rates of iron in animal foods, most people believe that meat is the best source of iron. However, you may get more calories for the same amounts of iron from animal meat than vegetables. So, care must be taken while selecting the source of iron to limit the calorie intake.

Following is the list of foods high in iron that you may consider meeting your iron demands which is arranged in descending order of calorie to iron ratio.

Sources of Iron

35. Goat, Lungs

Goat lungs have 95.77 kilocalories of energy per 100 grams. Goat, Lungs comprise 7.1 milligrams of iron. The Ratio of Energy to iron of Goat, Lungs is 0.00 kcal to milligrams. So, Goat, Lungs, grade 35 in iron rich foods.

34. Goat, kidneys

Goat, kidneys have 89.32 Kcal energy every 100 grams by weight. Goat, kidneys contain 6.73 mg of iron. The Energy to iron ratio of Goat, kidneys is 13.27 kcal/milligrams. So, Goat, Kidneys, position 34 in sources of iron.

33. Parsley

Parsley has 72.84 kilocalories of energy every 100 gm weight. Parsley holds 5.51 milligrams of iron. The Energy to iron ratio in kilocalories/milligrams of Parsley is 13.22. Thus, Parsley ranks 33 in foods high in iron.

32. Ponnaganni

Ponnaganni has 50.87 Kcal energy per 100 grams by weight. Ponnaganni comprises 3.88 mg of iron. The Energy to iron ratio in kCal/mg of Ponnanganni is 13.11. Therefore, Ponnaganni lines 32 in iron rich foods.

31. Colocasia Leaves, Green

Colocasia Leaves, Green has 43.47 kilocalories of energy per 100 gm weight. Colocasia Leaves, Green contains 3.41 milligrams of iron. The Energy, kCal to iron, mg ratio of Colocasia Leaves, Green is 12.75. Hence, Colocasia Leaves, Green, grade 31 in sources of iron.

30. Poultry, Chicken, Liver

Poultry, Chicken, Liver has 123.72 Kcal energy every 100 grams. Poultry, Chicken, Liver holds 9.92 mg of iron. The Ratio of Energy to the iron of Poultry, Chicken, Liver is 12.47 kcal to milligrams. Accordingly, Poultry, Chicken, Liver, position 30 in foods high in iron.

29. Celery Stalk

Celery Stalk has 16.48 kilocalories of energy per 100 grams. Celery Stalk comprises 1.36 milligrams of iron. The Energy to iron ratio of Celery Stalk is 12.12 kcal/milligrams. So, Celery Stalk ranks 29 in iron rich foods.

28. Cabbage Collard Greens

Cabbage Collard Greens has 30.09 Kcal energy every 100 grams by weight. Cabbage Collard Greens contain 2.67 mg of iron. The Energy to iron ratio in kilocalories/milligrams of Cabbage Collard Greens is 11.27. Thus, Cabbage Collard Greens lines 28 in sources of iron.

27. Mustard Leaves

Mustard Leaves have 30.33 kilocalories of energy every 100 gm weight. Mustard Leaves hold 2.84 milligrams of iron. The Energy to iron ratio in kCal/mg of Mustard Leaves is 10.68. Therefore, Mustard Leaves, grade 27 in foods high in iron.

26. Bathua Leaves

Bathua Leaves have 27.70 Kcal energy per 100 grams by weight. Bathua Leaves comprise 2.66 mg of iron. The Energy, kCal to iron, mg ratio of Bathua Leaves is 10.41. Hence, Bathua Leaves, position 26 in iron rich foods.

25. Cluster Beans

Cluster Beans have 40.12 kilocalories of energy per 100 gm weight. Cluster Beans contain 3.9 milligrams of iron. The Ratio of Energy to the iron of Cluster Beans is 10.29 kcal to milligrams. Accordingly, Cluster Beans rank 25 in sources of iron.

24. Sheep, Lungs

Sheep, Lungs has 86.70 Kcal energy every 100 grams. Sheep, Lungs hold 8.58 mg of iron. The Energy to iron ratio of Sheep Lungs is 10.10 kcal/milligrams. So, Sheep, Lungs, lines 24 in foods high in iron.

23. Onion, Stalk

Onion, Stalk has 25.56 kilocalories of energy per 100 grams. Onion, Stalk comprises 3.09 milligrams of iron. The Energy to iron ratio in kilocalories/milligrams of Onion, Stalk is 8.27. Thus, Onion, Stalk, grade 23 in iron rich foods.

22. Spinach

Spinach has 24.36 Kcal energy every 100 grams by weight. Spinach contains 2.95 mg of iron. The Energy to iron ratio in kCal/mg of Spinach is 8.26. Therefore, Spinach, position 22 in sources of iron.

21. Garden Cress

Garden Cress has 49.68 kilocalories of energy every 100 gm weight. Garden Cress holds 6.19 milligrams of iron. The Energy, kCal to iron, mg ratio of Garden Cress is 8.03. Hence, Garden Cress ranks 21 in foods high in iron.

20. Lettuce

Lettuce has 21.73 Kcal energy per 100 grams by weight. Lettuce comprises 2.73 mg of iron. The Ratio of Energy to the iron of Lettuce is 7.96 kcal to milligrams. Accordingly, Lettuce lines 20 in iron rich foods.

19. Pumpkin Leaves, Tender

Pumpkin Leaves, Tender has 44.18 kilocalories of energy per 100 gm weight. Pumpkin Leaves, Tender contain 5.58 milligrams iron. The Energy to iron ratio of Pumpkin Leaves, Tender is 7.92 kcal/milligrams. So, Pumpkin Leaves, Tender, grade 19 in sources of iron.

18. Curry Leaves

Curry Leaves have 63.53 Kcal energy every 100 grams. Curry Leaves hold 8.67 mg of iron. The Energy to iron ratio in kilocalories/milligrams of Curry Leaves is 7.33. Thus, Curry Leaves, position 18 in foods high in iron.

17. Radish Leaves

Radish Leaves have 26.03 kilocalories of energy per 100 grams. Radish Leaves comprise 3.82 milligrams of iron. The Energy to iron ratio in kCal/mg of Radish Leaves is 6.81. Therefore, Radish Leaves rank 17 in iron rich foods.

16. Amaranth Leaves, Green

Amaranth Leaves, Green has 30.57 Kcal energy every 100 grams by weight. Amaranth Leaves, Green contain 4.64 mg of iron. The Energy, kCal to iron, mg ratio of Amaranth Leaves, Green is 6.59. Hence, Amaranth Leaves, Green, lines 16 in sources of iron.

15. Turmeric Powder

Turmeric Powder has 280.39 kilocalories of energy every 100 gm weight. Turmeric Powder holds 46.08 milligrams of iron. The Ratio of Energy to the iron of Turmeric Powder is 6.08 kcal to milligrams. Accordingly, Turmeric Powder, grade 15 in foods high in iron.

14. Fenugreek Leaves

Fenugreek Leaves have 34.39 Kcal energy per 100 grams by weight. Fenugreek Leaves comprise 5.69 mg of iron. The Energy to iron ratio of Fenugreek Leaves is 6.04 kcal/milligrams. So, Fenugreek Leaves, position 14 in iron rich foods.

13. Amaranth Leaves, Red and Green Mix

Amaranth Leaves, Red and Green Mix have 31.53 kilocalories of energy per 100 gm weight. Amaranth Leaves, Red and Green Mix contain 5.28 milligrams of iron. The Energy to iron ratio in kilocalories/milligrams of Amaranth Leaves, Red and Green Mix is 5.97. Thus, Amaranth Leaves, Red and Green Mix rank 13 in sources of iron.

12. Beet Greens

Beet Greens has 34.63 Kcal energy every 100 grams. Beet Greens hold 5.8 mg of iron. The Energy to iron ratio in kCal/mg of Beet Greens is 5.97. Therefore, Beet Greens lines 12 in foods high in iron.

11. Coriander Leaves

Coriander Leaves have 31.05 kilocalories of energy per 100 grams. Coriander Leaves comprise 5.3 milligrams of iron. The Energy, kCal to iron, mg ratio of Coriander Leaves is 5.86. Hence, Coriander Leaves, grade 11 in iron rich foods.

10. Rumex Leaves (Sorrel)

Rumex Leaves have 19.58 Kcal energy every 100 grams by weight. Rumex Leaves contain 3.67 mg of iron. The Ratio of Energy to the iron of Rumex Leaves is 5.34 kcal to milligrams. Accordingly, Rumex Leaves, position 10 in sources of iron.

9. Amaranth Spined Leaves, Red and Green Mix

Amaranth Spined Leaves, Red and Green Mix have 23.64 kilocalories of energy every 100 gm weight. Amaranth Spined Leaves, Red and Green Mix hold 4.58 milligrams of iron. The Energy to iron ratio of Amaranth Spined Leaves, Red and Green Mix are 5.16 kcal/milligrams. So, Amaranth Spined Leaves, Red and Green Mix rank 9 in foods high in iron.

8. Gogu Leaves, Green

Gogu Leaves, Green has 36.30 Kcal energy per 100 grams by weight. Gogu Leaves, Green comprises 7.65 mg of iron. The Energy to iron ratio in kilocalories/milligrams of Gogu Leaves, Green is 4.75. Thus, Gogu Leaves, Green, lines 8 in iron rich foods.

7. Basella Leaves (Malabar Spinach)

Basella Leaves has 19.58 kilocalories of energy per 100 gm weight. Basella leaves contain 4.2 milligrams of iron. The Energy to iron ratio in kCal/mg of Basella Leaves is 4.66. Therefore, Basella Leaves, grade 7 in sources of iron.

6. Amaranth Leaves, Red

Amaranth Leaves, Red has 33.44 Kcal energy every 100 grams. Amaranth Leaves, Red holds 7.25 mg of iron. The Energy, kCal to iron, mg ratio of Amaranth Leaves, Red is 4.61. Hence, Amaranth Leaves, Red, position 6 in foods high in iron.

5. Mint Leaves

Mint Leaves have 37.02 kilocalories of energy per 100 grams.  Mint Leaves comprise 8.56 milligrams of iron. The Ratio of Energy to the iron of Mint Leaves is 4.32 kcal to milligrams. Accordingly, Mint Leaves ranks no 5 in iron rich foods.

4. Amaranth Spined Leaves, Green

Amaranth Spined Leaves, Green has 26.27 Kcal energy every 100 grams by weight. Amaranth Spined Leaves, Green contain 6.37 mg of iron. The Energy to iron ratio of Amaranth Spined Leaves, Green is 4.12 kcal/milligrams. So, Amaranth Spined Leaves, Green, lines 4 in sources of iron.

3. Gogu Leaves Red

Gogu Leaves Red has 36.54 kilocalories of energy every 100 gm weight. Gogu Leaves Red holds 9.56 milligrams of iron. The Energy to iron ratio in kilocalories/milligrams of Gogu Leaves Red is 3.82. Thus, Gogu Leaves Red, grade 3 in foods high in iron.

2. Goat, Spleen

Goat, Spleen has 95.77 Kcal energy per 100 grams by weight. Goat, Spleen comprises 51.41 mg of iron. The Energy to iron ratio in kCal/mg of Goat, Spleen is 1.86. Therefore, Goat, Spleen, position 2 in iron rich foods.

1. Sheep, Spleen

Sheep, Spleen has 91.71 kilocalories of energy per 100 gm weight. Sheep, Spleen contains 53.11 milligrams of iron. The Energy, kCal to iron, mg ratio of Sheep, Spleen is 1.73. Hence, Sheep, Spleen rank 1 in sources of iron.

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