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Food Sources of Iron

  • Iron: Nutrient-densea Food and Beverage Sources, Amounts of Iron and Energy per Standard Portion

    FOODbc STANDARD
    PORTIONd
    CALORIES IRON
    (mg)
    Grains (non-heme sources)
    Ready-to-eat cereal, whole grain kernels, fortified 1/2 cup 209 16.2
    Hot Wheat Cereal, fortified 1 cup 132 12.8
    Ready-to-eat cereal, toasted oat, fortified 1 cup 111 9.0
    Ready-to-eat cereal, bran flakes, fortified 3/4 cup 98 8.4
    Protein Foodse (heme sources)
    Oyster 3 oysters 123 6.9
    Mussels 3 ounces 146 5.7
    Duck, breast 3 ounces 119 3.8
    Turkey Egg 1 egg 135 3.2
    Bison 3 ounces 122 2.9
    Duck Egg 1 egg 130 2.7
    Beef 3 ounces 173 2.5
    Sardines, canned 3 ounces 177 2.5
    Crab 3 ounces 98 2.5
    Clams 3 ounces 126 2.4
    Lamb 3 ounces 158 2.0
    Turkey, leg 3 ounces 177 2.0
    Shrimp 3 ounces 85 1.8
    Organ meats (various) 3 ounces ~85-200 1.8-19
    Game meats (various) 3 oz ~115-180 1.8-8.5
    Vegetables (non-heme sources)
    Spinach, cooked 1 cup 41 6.4
    Artichokes, Jerusalem, cooked 1 cup 110 5.1
    Hyacinth beans, cooked 1/2 cup 114 4.4
    Soybeans, cooked 1/2 cup 148 4.4
    Lima beans, cooked 1 cup 209 4.2
    Swiss chard, cooked 1 cup 35 4.0
    Chrysanthemum leaves, cooked 1 cup 20 3.7
    Winged beans, cooked 1/2 cup 127 3.7
    Stewed tomatoes, canned 1 cup 66 3.4
    White beans, cooked 1/2 cup 125 3.3
    Lentils, cooked 1/2 cup 115 3.3
    Amaranth leaves, cooked 1 cup 28 3.0
    Asparagus, raw 1 cup 27 2.9
    Beets, cooked 1 cup 49 2.9
    Mothbeans, cooked 1/2 cup 104 2.8
    Beet greens, cooked 1 cup 39 2.7
    Jute, cooked 1 cup 32 2.7
    Mushrooms, cooked 1 cup 44 2.7
    Arrowroot, cooked 1 cup 78 2.7
    Green peas, cooked 1 cup 134 2.5
    Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), cooked 1/2 cup 135 2.4
    Adzuki beans, cooked 1/2 cup 147 2.3
    Pumpkin leaves, cooked 1 cup 15 2.3
    Yardlong beans, cooked 1/2 cup 101 2.3
    Mustard spinach, raw 1 cup 33 2.3
    Yellow beans, cooked 1/2 cup 128 2.2
    Collard greens, cooked 1 cup 63 2.2
    Navy beans, cooked 1/2 cup 128 2.2
    Cowpeas, dried and cooked 1/2 cup 99 2.1
    Poi (taro root) 1 cup 269 2.1
    Peas in the pod, raw 1 cup 41 2.0
    Kidney beans, cooked 1/2 cup 113 2.0
    Pink beans, cooked 1/2 cup 126 1.9
    Acorn squash, cooked 1 cup 115 1.9
    Dandelion greens, cooked 1 cup 35 1.9
    Great northern beans, cooked 1/2 cup 105 1.9
    Leeks, cooked 1 cup 54 1.9
    Potato, baked, with skin 1 medium 161 1.9
    Cranberry (roman) beans, cooked 1/2 cup 121 1.9
    Black beans, cooked 1/2 cup 114 1.8
    Pinto beans, cooked 1/2 cup 123 1.8
    Sweet potato, cooked 1 cup 190 1.8
    Fruit (non-heme sources)
    Prune juice, 100% 1 cup 182 3.0
    Protein Foods (non-heme sources)
    Sesame seeds 1/2 ounce 81 2.1
    Cashews 1 ounce 157 1.9

    a All foods listed are assumed to be in nutrient-dense forms; lean or low-fat and prepared with minimal added sugars, saturated fat, or sodium.

    b Some fortified foods and beverages are included. Other fortified options may exist on the market, but not all fortified foods are nutrient-dense. For example, some foods with added sugars may be fortified and would not be examples in the lists provided here.

    c Some foods or beverages are not appropriate for all ages, particularly young children for whom some foods could be a choking hazard.

    d Portions listed are not recommended serving sizes. Two lists—in ‘standard’ and ‘smaller’ portions--are provided for each dietary component. Standard portions provide at least 1.8 mg of iron. Smaller portions are generally one half of a standard portion.

    e Seafood varieties include choices from the FDA/EPA joint “Advice About Eating Fish,” available at FDA.gov/fishadvice and EPA.gov/fishadvice from the “Best Choices” list. Varieties from the “Best Choices” list that contain even lower methylmercury include: flatfish (e.g., flounder), salmon, tilapia, shrimp, catfish, crab, trout, haddock, oysters, sardines, squid, pollock, anchovies, crawfish, mullet, scallops, whiting, clams, shad, and Atlantic mackerel.

    Data Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019. fdc.nal.usda.gov.

  • Iron: Nutrient-densea Food and Beverage Sources, Amounts of Iron and Energy per Smaller Portion

    FOODbc SMALLER
    PORTIONd
    CALORIES IRON
    (mg)
    Grains (non-heme sources)
    Ready-to-eat cereal, whole grain kernels, fortified 1/4 cup 105 8.1
    Hot Wheat Cereal, fortified 1/2 cup 66 6.4
    Ready-to-eat cereal, toasted oat, fortified 1/2 cup 56 4.5
    Ready-to-eat cereal, bran flakes, fortified 1/4 cup 33 2.8
    Fortified infant cereal, oat (dry) 1 tablespoon 15 2.4
    Fortified infant cereal, rice (dry) 1 tablespoon 15 2.0
    Fortified infant cereal, multi-grain (dry) 1 tablespoon 15 1.1
    Protein Foodse (heme sources)
    Oyster 1 oyster 41 2.3
    Mussels 1 ounce 49 1.9
    Turkey Egg 1/2 egg 68 1.6
    Duck Egg 1/2 egg 65 1.3
    Duck, breast 1 ounce 40 1.3
    Bison 1 ounce 41 1.0
    Beef 1 ounce 58 0.8
    Sardines, canned 1 ounce 59 0.8
    Crab 1 ounce 33 0.8
    Clams 1 ounce 42 0.8
    Lamb 1 ounce 53 0.7
    Turkey, leg 1 ounce 59 0.7
    Shrimp 1 ounce 28 0.6
    Organ meats (various) 1 ounce ~30-100 0.6-6.3
    Game meats (various) 1 ounce ~40-60 0.6-2.8
    Vegetables (non-heme sources)
    Spinach, cooked 1/2 cup 21 3.2
    Artichokes, Jerusalem, cooked 1/2 cup 55 2.6
    Hyacinth beans, cooked 1/4 cup 57 2.2
    Soybeans, cooked 1/2 cup 74 2.2
    Lima beans, cooked 1/2 cup 105 2.1
    Swiss chard, cooked 1/2 cup 18 2.0
    Chrysanthemum leaves, cooked 1/2 cup 10 1.9
    Winged beans, cooked 1/4 cup 63 1.9
    Stewed tomatoes, canned 1/2 cup 33 1.7
    White beans, cooked 1/4 cup 62 1.7
    Lentils, cooked 1/4 cup 58 1.6
    Amaranth leaves, cooked 1/2 cup 14 1.5
    Asparagus, raw 1/2 cup 14 1.4
    Beets, cooked 1/2 cup 25 1.4
    Mothbeans, cooked 1/4 cup 52 1.4
    Beet greens, cooked 1/2 cup 20 1.4
    Jute, cooked 1/2 cup 16 1.4
    Mushrooms, cooked 1/2 cup 22 1.4
    Arrowroot, cooked 1/2 cup 39 1.3
    Green peas, cooked 1/2 cup 67 1.2
    Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), cooked 1/4 cup 67 1.2
    Adzuki beans, cooked 1/4 cup 74 1.2
    Pumpkin leaves, cooked 1/2 cup 8 1.1
    Yardlong beans, cooked 1/4 cup 51 1.1
    Mustard spinach, raw 1/2 cup 17 1.1
    Yellow beans, cooked 1/4 cup 64 1.1
    Collard greens, cooked 1/2 cup 32 1.1
    Navy beans, cooked 1/4 cup 64 1.1
    Cowpeas, dried and cooked 1/4 cup 50 1.1
    Poi (taro root) 1/2 cup 135 1.1
    Peas in the pod, raw 1/2 cup 21 1.0
    Kidney beans, cooked 1/4 cup 56 1.0
    Pink beans, cooked 1/4 cup 63 1.0
    Acorn squash, cooked 1/2 cup 58 1.0
    Dandelion greens, cooked 1/2 cup 18 0.9
    Great northern beans, cooked 1/4 cup 52 0.9
    Leeks, cooked 1/2 cup 27 0.9
    Potato, baked, with skin 1/2 medium 81 0.9
    Cranberry (roman) beans, cooked 1/4 cup 60 0.9
    Black beans, cooked 1/4 cup 57 0.9
    Pinto beans, cooked 1/4 cup 62 0.9
    Sweet potato, cooked 1/2 cup 95 0.9
    Fruit (non-heme sources)
    Prune juice, 100% 1/2 cup 91 1.5
    Protein Foods (non-heme sources)
    Sesame seeds 1/4 ounce 41 1.0
    Cashews 1/2 ounce 79 0.9

    a All foods listed are assumed to be in nutrient-dense forms; lean or low-fat and prepared with minimal added sugars, saturated fat, or sodium.

    b Some fortified foods and beverages are included. Other fortified options may exist on the market, but not all fortified foods are nutrient-dense. For example, some foods with added sugars may be fortified and would not be examples in the lists provided here.

    c Some foods or beverages are not appropriate for all ages, particularly young children for whom some foods could be a choking hazard.

    d Portions listed are not recommended serving sizes. Two lists—in ‘standard’ and ‘smaller’ portions--are provided for each dietary component. Standard portions provide at least 1.8 mg of iron. Smaller portions are generally one half of a standard portion.

    e Seafood varieties include choices from the FDA/EPA joint “Advice About Eating Fish,” available at FDA.gov/fishadvice and EPA.gov/fishadvice from the “Best Choices” list. Varieties from the “Best Choices” list that contain even lower methylmercury include: flatfish (e.g., flounder), salmon, tilapia, shrimp, catfish, crab, trout, haddock, oysters, sardines, squid, pollock, anchovies, crawfish, mullet, scallops, whiting, clams, shad, and Atlantic mackerel.

    Data Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central, 2019. fdc.nal.usda.gov.