48 foods rich in iron and 48 easy recipes so that it does not cost to improve your diet

Iron is essential for the functioning of our body. It is involved in the transport of oxygen in the blood, as well as in the process of cellular respiration and in the production of hemoglobin. It is also necessary, among other things, to make hormones and connective tissue.

However, iron is one of the minerals that causes the greatest deficiencies, causing anemia, a very common condition caused by an iron deficiency, which occurs especially in women of childbearing age.

There are several foods that contain iron and that we should include in our diet to prevent a lack of this mineral. After explaining the iron requirements by age, we list 48 foods rich in iron and as a bonus, we give you 48 easy recipes so that it does not cost to improve the diet.

How much iron do I need?

The needs of this mineral depend on age, but also on sex (women need more) and on whether or not they are pregnant, since their requirements increase during pregnancy.

It is also important to remember that to facilitate proper absorption of iron by the body, it is necessary to consume foods rich in vitamin C and follow some dietary-nutritional guidelines that will help you better assimilate iron.

Table of iron requirements by age

Babies from 0 to 6 months 0.27 mg
Babies from 7 to 12 months 11 mg
Children from 1 to 3 years 7 mg
Children from 4 to 8 years old 10 mg
Children from 9 to 13 years old 8 mg
Male adolescents aged 14 to 18 years 11 mg
Female adolescents from 14 to 18 years 15 mg
Men from 19 to 50 years old 8 mg
Women between 19 and 50 years old 18 mg
Adults over 51 years 8 mg
Pregnant women 27 mg
Breastfeeding women 9 mg

48 foods rich in iron and 48 recipes

1. Swiss chard

Like other green leafy vegetables, chard is a source of iron, as well as potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, E and A. It contains 1.8 mg of this mineral per 100 g. It is a perfect food to combat anemia since its vitamin C content, included in the vegetable itself, contributes to its proper absorption. It can be eaten in savory cakes, fritters, hot or cold dishes, and even smoothies.


For 4 persons

  • Potatoes: 4
  • Fresh spinach bunch: 1
  • Liquid cream: 100 ml
  • Gruyere cheese: 150 g
  • Garlic cloves: 1
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Salt

How to Make Chard and Cheese Stuffed Potatoes

Difficulty: Easy

  • Total time: 1 hr 15 min
  • Elaboration: 30m
  • Cooking 45 min

We start by preheating the oven to 180º. We wash the potatoes under the tap, wrap them in aluminum foil and place them on a tray that can be baked. We roast them for about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, we cook the chard for 10 minutes, when they are ready we drain them and chop them finely. We reserve them. When the potatoes are ready, we cut the upper part of each one lengthwise and with a teaspoon we take out, taking care not to pierce the skin, the pulp of the potato and put it in a bowl, crushing it with a fork. We reserve it.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan and brown the minced garlic. Add the chard, the potato pulp and a splash of liquid cream. Season with salt and add pepper and nutmeg. Fill the potatoes with this mixture and sprinkle with the grated Gruyère cheese. Finally, we gratin in the oven for 5 minutes and serve.

2. Artichokes

The artichoke has many positive effects on our body. It is rich in fiber, provides the fifth part of fiber that an adult needs a day, improves digestion, has diuretic effects, prevents diseases and has anti-inflammatory properties.

It is rich in vitamins such as vitamin B1, B3, E and C, and in minerals potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and iron in an amount of 1.3 mg per 100 g. Artichokes can be prepared in many ways to get the best out of them.

3. Clams

Clams contain a high amount of iron, around 24mg per 100 grams, when an adult needs 8mg per day for men and 18mg for women of childbearing age. They are also rich in other minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, calcium or iodine.

4. Spirulina algae

The spirulina, also known as blue-green algae contains iron from the sea. No less than 28.5 mg per 100 g.

It is also rich in proteins, vitamins and antioxidants. Its benefits go further, since it has been proven to stimulate the activity of defense cells and the production of antibodies that can act against viruses and bacteria. It can be found in capsule, tablet, or powder form.

5. Almonds

Almonds offer a little more than 4 mg of iron per 100 grams, but it is a good source of vitamin E, associated with many health benefits. At the same time, it is rich in healthy fats, proteins and fibers.

6. Beans

Beans are a source of fiber, iron and vegetable proteins. They provide around 7 mg of this mineral per 100 g. The black ones are the ones with the highest content (8.7 mg each 100gr) followed by the red ones (8.2 mg each 100gr) and then the white ones (5.49 mg each 100gr).

7. Cashew nuts

The predominant nutrient in cashews is fats, being mostly monounsaturated fats. They offer a good supply of protein and are, after chestnuts, the dried fruit with the highest proportion of hydrates. Its iron content is considerable, 6.7 mg per 100 g.

8. Anchovies

Like all blue fish, anchovies are a food rich in omega 3. Anchovies also stand out for their high amount of zinc, vitamin D, calcium iodine, potassium and phosphorus. As for iron, it provides 4.3 mg per 100 g.

9. Brown rice

Brown rice is one of the cereals with the most iron, although not the most. It is rice from which only the outer husk has been removed, so it has more fiber, minerals and vitamins than white rice. Provides 1.7 mg per 100g, while white rice 0.8 mg.

10. Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts provide 4 mg of iron per 100 grams and can be used to make creams or vegetable butters easily. Like most nuts, they are low in water, high in fat, a source of fiber, and have no cholesterol. Contains unsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin B6, thiamine, niacin, and folates.

Recipe: Ultra-tender banana and hazelnut cake, recipe for breakfasts that brighten the morning

11. Oats

The oatmeal is a food with numerous benefits. It has a great protein and fiber content compared to other cereals, it also has unsaturated fats and is a food rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium and B complex vitamins. Regarding iron content, it provides 5.8 mg per 100 g.

In the kitchen it is a very versatile ingredient to include in many preparations, both sweet and savory, and for any time of the day.

12. Cockles

Cockles, with 24 mg per 100 g, are an excellent source of iron within mollusks. They also stand out for their very low fat and calorie intake, although they provide a good amount of proteins of high biological value. They also contain vitamin A, from group B, E and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, iodine and zinc.

13. Watercress

Like other leafy greens, watercress is a good source of iron for your diet. About 100 grams of watercress offer about 3 mg of iron. In addition, it concentrates vitamin C that facilitates the absorption of iron, carotenes and other good nutrients in its composition.

14. Beef

Red meat contains more iron than white meat. Of these, especially, veal and lamb are the ones that provide the most of this mineral, on average about 3 mg of iron per 100 grams. It is followed by beef with 2 mg of the mineral in the same amount of food.

15. Duck meat

After veal and beef, duck meat is a good option to add iron, since it provides about 2.5 mg per 100 grams of this easily absorbed mineral. It is a very lean meat with great nutritional benefits. It contains good quality protein, B vitamins, such as vitamin B12 and B5, useful for fighting stress and migraines, and other minerals such as zinc and selenium.

It can be consumed in stews, salads, stir-fries, grilled breast, boiled or steamed.

16. Quail

Quail meat stands out for its high quality protein content and essential amino acids. Partridge contains 4 mg of iron per 100 g. Among its nutrients are also vitamins A, vitamins of group B (especially vitamin B3 and B6), and minerals such as calcium and magnesium.

17. Kale

The curly kale or cabbage is a highly recommended food to satiate the body in weight loss diets, and may also help reduce cardiovascular risk factors. It has calcium, iron in good proportions ( 1.9 mg per 100 g ), magnesium, potassium and zinc as well as a high protein content.

18. Dates

Dates are one of the most energy rich fruits and a good source of soluble fiber. They provide 11% of the daily energy needs for an adult with average physical activity. It has vitamins of group B (B1, B2, B3 and B6) that favor the cells. Its iron content, among other minerals, is 2 mg per 100 g.

19. Spinach

Spinach contains 4.1 mg of iron per 100 g (which is a third of our daily need for this mineral) and is also rich in vitamin A. You can prepare them in both hot and cold dishes, as well as in smoothies or juices combined with fruits.

20. Wheat germ

Wheat germ is a concentrated source of iron and the most nutritious part of wheat. It offers 8.5 mg of iron per 100 g, which means that with just two tablespoons we can have about 2 mg of this mineral so important for the health of the body. It is also a source of proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins, among which vitamin F or linoleic acid stands out. that helps balance the body.

We can add wheat germ like another cereal to our non-dairy milk for breakfast, or we can add it to a hamburger batter, cake, bread or cookies.

21. Peas

Peas are a food that contains high amounts of fiber with a low calorie intake. To this must be added its high content of vitamin C, lecithin or calcium among others. They are a satisfying food, in addition to helping us lower blood sugar levels. Its iron content is 1.5 mg mg per 100g.

22. Broad beans

Fava beans are the richest legumes in this mineral ( 8.5 mg per 100 grams ). They are also rich in other minerals such as manganese, copper, calcium and phosphorus. There are many ways to cook them: stewed, in stew, in salad, in appetizers, broths, etc.

23. Liver

Beef liver is very rich in iron (more than 7 mg per 100 grams ), but it also contains more than half the daily quota of folic acid and is a source of vitamin B 12, all essential nutrients to avoid nutritional anemia. In addition, it is the organ with the lowest fat content (5%) and is a source of protein of animal origin.

24. Dried figs

The amount of iron in dried figs is 4.2 mg. of iron every 100 grams. The figs dehydrated are also high fiber foods. This means that the consumption of figs, in addition to increasing the body’s iron stores, improves intestinal transit. They are also rich in calcium and potassium.

Fresh figs also contain iron, but in dried figs the nutritional values are concentrated, multiplying approximately by three due to the loss of water.

25. Beans

The green bean is where the black or white beans originate, only that the latter are dry. It is a food with low caloric intake, vitamins of vegetable origin and a high mineral content, especially potassium, which helps to improve the muscular and nervous response of the organism. Other minerals that we must highlight are calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, which is obtained mainly from chlorophyll found in the skin. As for iron, it contains 1.03 mg per 100g.

26. Prawns

Prawns are mainly rich in iodine, since 100g of this food contains 90 mg of iodine. As for iron, they contain 3 mg per 100 grams. It also has a high amount of protein, making it a recommended food especially for muscle development. Being a food rich in iodine, it helps regulate cholesterol, as well as process carbohydrates, strengthen hair, skin and nails.

27. Lentils

If we think of foods with iron, the first thing that comes to mind is lentils. But the truth is that although they constitute a good contribution of this mineral, the myth of lentils falters because in reality they do not contain as much iron as other foods.

Lentils contain approximately 7 mg of iron per 100 grams, but the iron they contain is called Non-Hem Iron (as it is not of animal origin). This variety of iron is absorbed with much greater difficulty by our body than Hem Iron, of animal origin. Even so, they are a healthy source of energy and protein for the body and a very beneficial food for our diet.

28. Brewer’s yeast

Fresh brewer’s yeast is the one preferably used for making breads, however, its dry and powdered version can be used as a food supplement given its great nutritional richness.

It contains a large amount of vegetable proteins. It is also rich in fiber, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 (or folic acid), and B12. And in terms of minerals, iron stands out, with an amount of 17 mg per 100 g.

How to consume it? You can sprinkle a handful in your cup of milk or juice at breakfast, in your salad or in your meat stews. Or include it in a smoothie, some toasts, some hake fillets, or a vegan omelette like the recipe that we leave you below.

29. Mango

The handle is a tropical fruit with high water content. Its insoluble fiber content is low and proteins appear in small amounts. The caloric value of mango is moderately low. Among the minerals, iron stands out ( 4 mg of this mineral per 100 grams ), but it also provides potassium, phosphorus, sodium and calcium.

30. Mussels

The mussel is a source of iron in 4.5 mg per 100 grams, as well as folic acid and vitamin B12. It also has Hem iron that is easily absorbed and proteins of animal origin that favor the assimilation of iron.

31. Millet

Millet is one of the most iron-rich cereals with a contribution of 3 mg per 100 g. Its content in vitamins B1, B2 and B9 is also very remarkable, three times more than that of other cereals. It is very similar to couscous but it is not sold precooked, it usually has to be washed before, like quinoa, and it takes about 20 minutes to cook.

It is ideal to include it in breakfast or prepare it with vegetables as a garnish like the recipe that we give you.

32. Blood sausage

Black pudding made from red blood is one of the foods richest in iron and an excellent food source of easily absorbed Hem iron. It contains around 14 mg per 100 g. As it contains blood of animal origin, which contains hemoglobin, it provides iron ready to be absorbed.

33. Walnuts

Walnuts, in addition to being an anti-stress food as they are a source of serotonin, are also a source of unsaturated fats such as omega 3 that helps reduce cortisol in the body. Its iron content is not negligible: 2.6 mg per 100 g

34. Peach dried apricots

It is the food of vegetable origin with the most iron, which provides 7 mg of this mineral per 100 grams. The dried apricots are also an excellent source of potassium ( more than a banana ) and have important nutritional properties. They contain polyphenols that counteract the negative effect of free radicals and have anti-inflammatory action.

35. Oysters

The oysters are healthy seafood low fat and high intake of omega-3 fatty acids, necessary for the proper functioning of our circulatory system.

As good marine food, they contain high amounts of iodine, zinc, very beneficial for assimilating proteins from food, and significant amounts of iron with a high biological value that makes us assimilate it without any difficulty. That they are aphrodisiacs is a myth. Provides 9 mg per 100 g.

36. Partridge

If we compare it with other meats, partridge contains a significantly higher amount of calcium than calcium. It also highlights the content of other minerals such as iron ( 7.7 mg per 100 gr ) of high bioavailability. It is also a good source of the water-soluble vitamins thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, and B12.

37. Parsley

Parsley is used to flavor dishes and we can find it fresh as well as dehydrated.

It is a source of vegetable iron ( 8 mg per 100 g ), carotenes, calcium and vitamin A with an antioxidant effect on our body. It also offers vitamin E as well as many vegetable oils and vitamin C that also reduce oxidative stress in our body.

38. Pinions

The pinions are a concentrated source of energy quality and unsaturated fats among which oleic and linoleic acid. They are also a source of vegetable proteins and fiber, and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

In terms of minerals, they provide 5.6 mg of iron per 100 grams, magnesium, phosphorus, and B complex vitamins as well as vitamin E.

39. Pistachios

A 100 g handful of pistachios contains 3.9 mg of iron. Their nutritional profile is completed by phosphorus and vitamin A, which makes these nuts an ideal food for the nervous system.

40. Quinoa

The quinoa is a pseudocereal fiber – rich plant proteins of good quality, with a considerable contribution of 13.2 mg iron per 100 g, vitamin B complex and a minimum of good fats for the organism. It is one of the best-known superfoods today.

With it we can prepare from salads and soups, to dishes for breakfast and many more recipes.

41. Arugula

Arugula is perfect for preventing anemia and improving digestion. The high amounts it contains of vitamin C, beta carotenes and provitamin A and iron stand out, which it provides us in large quantities and which combined with vitamin C makes the body assimilate it much better. This is what makes arugula the perfect vegetable for people who are prone to anemia.

42. Chia seeds

This seed is a food of great nutritional value and interesting properties. It has a high oil content and is the richest vegetable source of omega 3 fatty acid (it exceeds three to ten times the concentration of unsaturated fatty acids in most grains). It also contains omega 6 and highlights its contribution of calcium, magnesium, vegetable proteins and potassium. As for iron, it has 16.4 mg per 100 grams, reaching up to 20.4 mg per 100 grams in the case of its flour.

43. Sesame seeds

The sesame seeds or sesame seeds are one of the most popular time to prepare baked goods and are one of the seeds with more calcium and protein among all individuals. Both white and black sesame have high antioxidant capacity, and in terms of iron they provide 14.55 mg per 100g.

44. Soy

Soy is the legume that contains the most iron: 15.7 mg per 100 g. But on the other hand, if we compare it with others, soy is more caloric than the average legume. It is perfect as a source of vegetable protein to replace protein of animal origin and helps to reduce cholesterol levels as well as to strengthen bones as it is a source of calcium.

Recipe : Baked peppers stuffed with textured soy, a healthy vegan recipe with soy filling that you can save for other dishes such as dumplings or sauces if you have any leftovers.

45. Tofu

It is a very interesting basic product to include in your diet if you have not done it yet. Offers a good source of plant protein without animal ingredients. It is a product obtained from soybeans and therefore with a high iron content, it provides 5.36 mg of this mineral per 100g. Among its many benefits, its essential calcium content stands out for maintaining good bone health and preventing osteoporosis.

Recipe: White Bean Salad with Curried Tofu – Healthy Recipe. A recipe that combines two important sources of iron in the same dish: beans and tofu.

46. Dried tomato

If you haven’t done it yet, try incorporating dried tomato into your dishes, although it must be taken into account that the caloric load increases considerably compared to fresh tomato. It is a food rich in vitamin A, lycopene, magnesium, potassium and sodium. Its iron content, 2.7 mg per 100 g.

Dried tomato is an ingredient that brightens and enhances the flavor of many dishes, perfect to use in salads, wraps, sandwiches, pizzas and pasta, among many others.

47. Raisins

The raisins, and the like other fruits dried or dehydrated, have a reduced water content and concentrate many of the nutrients in the fresh fruit. They have anti-inflammatory properties and are very useful to prevent or reverse constipation.

Among the minerals, calcium, potassium, iron (1.9 mg per 100g) and magnesium stand out, and they also have a minimum of vitamin C.

48. Egg yolk

The egg yolk is a food that contains iron ‘non – heme’, despite being of animal origin. More than half of the proteins in eggs are found in the yellow part and in addition to iron ( 2.7 mg per 100 g ) it contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, a lot of fat-soluble vitamins and other minerals such as phosphorus and potassium.

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