Iron-Rich Foods – Top 15 Super Healthy Sources of Iron

This article is reviewed by an expert

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Are you feeling tired and sluggish lately? Do you find yourself getting out of breath quickly during workouts or struggling to concentrate? It could be that your body lacks a vital mineral – iron, which is essential for proper functioning.

While iron deficiency is a common issue, the good news is that plenty of delicious and nutritious foods can help boost your iron levels. This article explores the top 15 super-healthy sources of iron, so you can ensure you’re getting enough of this vital nutrient in your diet.

So, let’s dive in and discover the iron-rich foods that can help you feel your best.

Daily requirement of iron in the human body

Here’s the amount of iron intake a human body needs, based on the different age groups: [1]

Age groupRecommended amount
Children 9–13 years8 mg
Teen boys 14–18 years11 mg
Teen girls 14–18 years15 mg
Adult men 19–50 years8 mg
Adult women 19–50 years18 mg
Adults 51 years and older8 mg

15 healthy sources of iron

Here are 15 iron-rich foods you can incorporate into your diet:

1. Spinach
Spinach is one of the best iron-rich foods for vegetarians and is easily available. [2]

Spinach - iron rich foods for anemia

2. Lentils
These little legumes are an excellent source of iron content, protein, and fiber. [3]

3. Tofu
This versatile soy product is a great meat alternative and contains a good amount of iron. Just make sure you’re choosing a brand that’s fortified with iron. [5]

4. Quinoa
Not only is quinoa a complete protein, but it’s also a great iron-rich food for vegetarians. It’s a great addition to salads or can be used as a base for grain bowls. [6]

5. Nuts
If you’re a nuts lover, you’ll be happy to know that nuts are one of the best sources of iron. [7]

6. Chickpeas
These legumes are a staple in Mediterranean cuisine and a great iron source. [8]

7. Pumpkin seeds
Snack on some roasted pumpkin seeds for a healthy dose of iron. [9]

8. Broccoli
This cruciferous veggie isn’t just good for your immune system. It’s also one of the best iron-rich foods for vegetarians. [10]

9. Dark chocolate
Yes, you read that right. Dark chocolate contains iron and antioxidants that can benefit your health in numerous ways. [11]

10. Black beans
These beans are a staple in Mexican cuisine and a great iron source. [12]

11. Hazelnut
If you’re looking for variety in buts, hazelnuts are a great choice. They are a good source of iron. [13]

12. Raisins
Snack on some raisins for a sweet treat that also contains iron. [14]

Raisins - iron rich foods for anemia

13. Oats
Oats are a popular and great source of iron that helps overcome mineral deficiency. [15]

14. Pistachios
These tasty nuts are a great source of iron, healthy fats, and protein. [16]

15. Lentils
Lentils are known for their high iron content, making them a great dietary source for those looking to increase their iron intake. [22]

Effects of iron deficiency on the human body

Iron deficiency is a common issue, especially among women and vegetarians, and it can have the following consequences for your health:

  • Oxygen transportation through the bloodstream

When you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t produce enough red blood cells, leading to anemia. Symptoms of anemia can include fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and dizziness. [17]

  • Cognitive function

Studies have shown that children and adolescents with iron deficiency may experience learning and memory problems, while adults may struggle with concentration and focus. [18]

  • Immune system

Iron is important for a healthy immune system. Without enough iron, your body may be more susceptible to infections and illnesses. [19]


  • What are iron-rich foods for anemia?

Foods high in iron, like poultry, fish, beans, and leafy green vegetables, can help combat anemia. [17]

  • What are iron-rich foods for pregnancy?

During pregnancy, it’s important to consume foods high in iron, such as eggs, milk, fortified cereals, and dark leafy greens, to support the growth and development of the fetus. [20]

  • What are iron-rich foods for vegans?

Vegans can obtain iron from plant-based sources such as lentils, chickpeas, tofu, nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, and fortified cereals. [3]

  • What are high iron-rich foods?

Foods high in iron include poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, fortified cereals, dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds. [17]

  • What are calcium and iron-rich foods?

Foods high in calcium and iron include dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt, leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, nuts, and fortified cereals. [21]


Incorporating iron-rich foods into your diet is essential for maintaining good health and preventing conditions like anemia. A variety of delicious and healthy options are available, including poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, fortified cereals, and dark leafy greens.

Whether you’re a meat-eater, vegetarian, or vegan, there are plenty of ways to ensure you get enough iron in your diet. So next time you plan your meals, include some of these super healthy sources of iron to help keep your body functioning at its best.

Disclaimer :
The information provided here has no relevance to Ayurveda and is more from a healthy lifestyle perspective. It is not intended to replace professional medical advice or treatment.


  1. Iron Fact Sheet for Consumers.
  2. Spinach.
  3. Iron Fortification of Lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) to Address Iron Deficiency. 9 August 2017
  4. Oysters and Anemia*.
  5. Effect of sprouting in physico-chemical properties of tofu. 24 May 2014
  6. Content of fat, vitamins and minerals in quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa, Willd) seeds.
  7. In vitro availability of iron from selected nuts and oilseeds. May 1993
  8. Bioavailability of iron from a traditional Tunisian meal with chickpeas fed to healthy rats.
  9. Pumpkin (Cucurbita sp.) seeds as nutraceutic: a review on status quo and scopes.
  10. Chapter 1 – Broccoli.
  11. Mineral essential elements for nutrition in different chocolate products. 26 June 2016
  12. Polyphenolic compounds appear to limit the nutritional benefit of biofortified higher iron black bean (Phaseolus vulgarisL.). 26 March 2014
  13. Lipid characteristics and essential minerals of native Turkish hazelnut varieties (Corylus avellana L.).
  14. In Vitro Iron Bioavailability and Antioxidant Activity of Raisins. 20 July 2016
  15. Improved zinc and iron absorption from breakfast meals containing malted oats with reduced phytate content. 09 March 2007
  16. Iron Chelating and Antioxidant Activities and Cytotoxicity Effect of the Pistachio (Pistachio vera L.) hull and kernel Extracts in the A549, HT29 and MCF-7 Cancerous Cell lines.
  17. A Review on Nutritional Anemia. April 2020
  18. Iron deficiency and cognitive function.
  19. Iron and Susceptibility to Infectious Disease: In the resolution of the contest between invader and host, iron may be the critical determinant.
  20. Knowledge, attitude and practices of pregnant women regarding anemia, iron rich diet and iron supplements and its impact on their hemoglobin levels. 07 January 2016
  21. Chapter 12 – Dairy Product (Calcium) Consumption and Iron Nutrition.
  22. Bioaccessibility of calcium, iron and zinc from three legume samples. 27 November 2003

Dr. Pawan Kumar Sharma

Dr. Pawan Kumar Sharma is an adept medical professional with an M.D in Ayurveda from Gujrat Ayurveda University where he was the university topper of his batch. In his B.A.M.S years in the renowned Devi Ahilya University, Indore, Dr Sharma was awarded two gold medals for his academics.