How to Add Foods That Are High in Iron to Your Diet. How to get iron

Iron supplements can be helpful when people have difficulty getting enough iron only through dietary measures, such as a plant-based diet. It is better to try to eat enough in your diet alone by removing or reducing factors that may be impeding your absorption of iron and eating iron-rich foods.

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iron is a nutrient necessary for many body functions, such as the production of hemoglobin in red blood cells, which carries oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. While it can store iron, your body cannot. The only way to get iron is through food.

Iron-rich foods

There are 2 types of iron in food: heme and non-heme iron. Haem iron, which is found in meat, poultry and seafood, is more efficiently absorbed than non-heme iron, which is found in eggs and plant foods.

Animal-based sources of iron

The best sources of animal-based iron include:

  • red meats (beef, lamb, veal, pork, kangaroo). The redder the meat, the higher the iron content
  • offal (liver, kidney, pate)
  • poultry
  • fish or shellfish (salmon, sardines, tuna)
  • eggs

Plant-based sources of iron

Plant foods that contain non-haem iron may still provide the body with the right amount of iron. Good sources are:

  • peanuts
  • dried fruits
  • wholemeal pasta and bread
  • iron fortified bread and cereals
  • legumes (mixed beans, baked beans, lentils, chickpeas)
  • dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, beetroot, broccoli)
  • oat
  • tofu

If treatment for iron deficiency is needed, your doctor will assess your iron status and determine the exact form of treatment – which may include changes to your diet or taking supplements.

Foods that are high in iron by type

To better understand how you can introduce more iron into your diet, here is a handy list of iron-rich foods.

Iron-rich legumes
  • Dried or canned peas and beans (kidney, garbanzo, cannellini, soybeans, etc.).
  • Lentils.
  • Peas.
  • Tofu.
  • Tempeh (fermented soybeans).
Iron-rich bread and cereal
Iron-rich fruit
Iron-rich protein sources
Iron-rich vegetables
  • Broccoli.
  • Green Beans.
  • Green leafy vegetables – dandelion, kale, kale, spinach.
  • Potatoes.
  • Cabbage, Brussels sprouts.
  • Tomato paste and other products.
Other foods that are high in iron

Why you need iron in your diet

“Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, making it an important mineral that our bodies need to carry oxygen for our cells to produce energy,” says registered nutritionist Julia Zumpano, RD, LD. “If we don’t have enough iron, we won’t have enough red blood cells to transport oxygen. This leads to extreme tiredness and dizziness, ”adds Zumpano.

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