Natural Sources of Iron

Natural Sources of Iron

Natural Sources of IronIron is needed in over 90 enzymes. It is necessary for transportation of oxygen to the body or production of energy. It is essential for growth – particularly during pregnancy, breastfeeding, the first 2 years of life and during adolescent growth. It is important for normal brain development and for a strong immunity.

The recommended daily intake for iron is 8mg/day for men and post-menopausal women, and 18mg per day for younger women.

The upper tolerable limit is 45mg per day, however to correct iron deficiency up to 200mg per day may be necessary.


  • Iron comes in haem and non-haem sources.
  • Haem iron comes from animal protein sources i.e meat. It is more readily absorbed – 20-25 percent is absorbed.
  • Non-haem iron comes from grains, legumes and dark green leafy vegetables.
  • Fibre, phytic acid (in grains and legumes), egg, tea, coffee and other minerals (zinc & calcium) reduce iron absorption- particularly non-haem iron absorption.
  • Vitamin C enhances non-haem iron absorption by up to 60 percent.

Natural whole-food sources of iron

Foodmg per serve
Chicken liver cooked (100g)13mg
Amaranth (100g)7.5mg
Beef Liver grilled (100g)6.5mg
Apricots dried (3 pieces)5mg
Lentils cooked (1/2 cup)4mg
Quinoa cooked (1 cup)4mg
Molasses (1 Tbsp)3.5mg
Tofu firm (1/2 cup)3.4mg
Spinach cooked (1/2 cup)3mg
Herring (100g)3mg
Lean beef cooked (100g)3mg
Beans cooked (1/2 cup)3mg
Prune juice (1 cup)3mg
Red rice cooked (1 cup)2.5mg
Chia seeds (15g)2.5mg
Lean lamb or pork cooked (100g)2.5mg
Cashews (30g)2mg
Raisins (1/2 cup)1.5mg
Chicken cooked (100g)1.3mg
Wheatgerm (2 Tbsp)1.3mg
Pistachios (30g)1.2mg
Brown rice cooked (1 cup)1mg
White fish cooked (100g)1mg
Egg (1 large)1mg
Soy milk (250ml)1mg
Porridge (3/4 cup)1mg
Broccoli (100g)1mg
Avocado (1/2 med)1mg
Tomato juice (1 cup)1mg
Nuts mixed (30g)1mg
Sunflower seeds (1 Tbsp)1mg
Pumpkin seeds (1 Tbsp)1mg
Potato cooked (1 med)0.8mg
White rice cooked (1 cup)0.5mg
Natural Sources of Iron
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