Iron is needed for health but cannot be produced by the body. Eating iron-containing foods regularly is the only way to meet these nutritional needs.

Iron deficiency is the most common type of nutrient deficiency. Lack of iron causes the body can not produce enough hemoglobin which has the role of carrying oxygen to body tissues. Symptoms that often appear in conditions of iron deficiency are fatigue, decreased achievement at school or office, decreased immune system, to growth and development disorders in children. Also find out other reasons to consume iron.

Get to know the list of foods that contain iron

Close-up of pretty girl eating fresh vegetable salad

Daily iron needs vary by age and sex. In infants aged 0-1 years, iron needs for infants is 7-8 mg and continues to increase by 1 mg every 3 years until age 9 years. After 9 years of age, the need for iron in men and women will be different. The highest requirement is at the age of 13-15 years, which is 19mg in men and at the age of 13-49 years in women, which is as much as 26 mg.

In general there are two types of iron-rich foods:

  • Heme: iron in animal foods such as fish, poultry, red meat.
  • Nonheme: iron from plants.

To make it easier for you to meet your iron needs, here are some guidelines for foods rich in iron.

Red meat

Every 100 grams of lean red meat like beef contains about 2 milligrams of iron.


Seafood lovers can get more benefits from foods such as shellfish, oysters, and squid. 100 grams of shellfish can contain at least 5 milligrams of iron. Besides being rich in iron, this maritime food is also full of nutrients such as vitamin B12 and zinc.

Various types of fish

Fish enthusiasts should be happy because their iron needs can be fulfilled from fish such as tuna and salmon.


Animal liver and organ meats are the best source of heme iron with added protein, vitamins and minerals. In 100 grams of beef liver, there are about 5 mg of iron. However, high cholesterol content makes the liver need to be consumed wisely. The high level of vitamin A in the liver should also be watched out for by pregnant women because it contains a risk of abnormalities in the fetus.

Iron fortified cereals

Iron fortified cereals are a good choice for breakfast. Check the nutrition label to find out the iron content in each serving size of the product.


Besides containing 2 mg of iron, 100 grams of soybeans store important minerals such as copper which keep the immune system and blood vessels healthy. Manganese also plays a role in maintaining the chemical processes in the body to remain normal. This protein and fiber rich material can be consumed in various ways such as fried or as a paste alloy.

Different types of beans

Every 100 grams of beans contains at least 4 mg of iron. If cooked, beans can be combined with vegetables rich in vitamin C such as broccoli, cabbage, or kale which speeds up iron absorption.


100 grams of dark leafy vegetables contain more than 2 mg of iron, as well as vitamins A and E, protein, calcium, and fiber. If you do not like to eat it directly, these vegetables can be integrated into a variety of offerings and cakes.

Sesame seeds

100 grams of sesame seeds can contain about 14 mg of iron, also rich in vitamin E, zinc, and phosphorus. To get the benefits in the dish, these seeds can be sprinkled on salads, soups, or bread.


100 mg of tofu can contain 2 mg of nonheme iron.


Every 100 mg of baked potato contains about 3 mg of nonheme iron.

While in infants, iron needs can be met from breast milk or iron-fortified formula milk.

Along with the consumption of iron-rich foods, choose foods or drinks that contain vitamin C, such as orange juice, to increase iron absorption. Vitamin C is also contained in fruits and vegetables such as: kiwi, melon, strawberries, broccoli, grapes, tomatoes. On the other hand, consumption of certain foods can actually inhibit the absorption of calcium. Therefore, limit consumption of iron with tea or coffee or calcium-rich foods / drinks, antacid drugs, or whole grain cereals.

Communicate further with your doctor about the dose and source of iron that is good for you. Consumption of iron supplements to meet the needs of the body are also advised to consult with your doctor first. Although iron deficiency can cause anemia, excessive iron is also not good for you.

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