Foods that contain iron

The iron it is an indispensable mineral because it is a fundamental part hemoglobin. It can be found in meat and legumes, but also in dark leafy vegetables and spices. Let's find out the foods that contain it.

> 1. Properties and benefits of iron

> 2. Which foods contain iron

> 3. Daily iron requirement

>  4. The 10 foods richest in iron


Basil is one of the foods rich in iron

Foods that contain iron



Properties and benefits of iron

The mineral iron it is a fundamental part of hemoglobin, an essential molecule for the transport of oxygen in the blood and towards all organs, essential for the correct functioning of the same. Iron is equally essential for the transfer of electrons in the respiratory chain and the activity of important enzyme systems.

The iron present in the body derives above all from the dietary intake, which allows to maintain a balance between absorption and daily losses.  The body's iron percentage is kept constant by a complex regulatory mechanism, which constitutes the so-called intraorganic cycle of iron. The tissues that need it thus use the iron in storage, or the amount that is freed from the destruction of red blood cells.

A small amount of iron escapes this cycle, being lost in the nails, hair, bile or intestinal mucosal cells. About one milligram of iron is lost per day.

To ensure the balance of iron exchange, it is therefore important to restore this loss through daily intake. In women, the demand for iron increases during pregnancy, lactation and the menstrual period. An increase in the demand for iron also occurs in early childhood and adolescence. 


What are the foods that contain iron

Of the iron circulating in the body, only about 25% of that present in animal foods and about 8% of that contained in plants is actually absorbed.

In food, iron is usually contained in the form of organic complexes, i.e. combined with proteins. To ensure proper iron assimilation it is advisable to adopt a balanced iron diet, considering that the following foods are rich in it: lean red meat, liver, egg yolk; legumes (black beans in particular), spinach, chard, broccoli or green leafy vegetables; blue fish and oysters; cereals and nuts, such as walnuts, cashews, pecans, almonds, pistachios, dried apricots; cocoa and chocolate bitter.

Indispensable for a good absorption of iron is also the Vitamin C, contained in foods such as peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, grapes and kiwis; too much tea or coffee and dairy products (calcium) can slow down their absorption.


You can learn more about what they are and when to take natural iron supplements

Foods that contain iron


Daily iron requirement

The daily iron requirement for adults is  10-12 mg per day for men, and 20 mg for women. The recommended doses during pregnancy and breastfeeding are at least 30 mg per day. While in children of 6-12 months, the daily requirement for iron is 6-8 mg.


The 10 foods richest in iron

  • Timo 
  • Basil
  • Mint 
  • Marjoram
  • Cumin seeds
  • Oatmeal
  • Aneto
  • Rice 
  • Celery seeds
  • Laurel


The properties of black beans, a rich source of iron


Other articles on iron:
> A metal against anemia: iron
> Defeat the iron deficiency in the diet
> The role of iron in the treatment of Mediterranean anemia

> Iron, effects of deficiency and excess

> Do you know how to assimilate iron?

> Lentils, chickpeas, beans and iron intake

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