Best Healthy Foods That Are Great Sources of Iron

    By opting for whole, nutritious foods in their diet, vegetarians can get enough iron.

Iron is an essential mineral that plays a critical role in transporting oxygen in the blood. It’s necessary for the production of red blood cells, optimal brain function, and even maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. An iron deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, weakness, and a weakened immune system. Thus, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re consuming enough iron in your diet. Here are seven healthy foods that are not only rich in iron but also offer other nutritional benefits.

  • Spinach
  • Lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Red Meat 
  • Shellfish
  • Tofu
  • Legumes

1. Spinach:

This leafy green is not just for Popeye. Spinach is an excellent vegetarian source of iron.

Besides being rich in iron, spinach also contains a myriad of other essential nutrients like Vitamin

A, C, K1, folic acid, and calcium. Incorporating spinach into salads, smoothies, or even sautéed dishes

can help boost your iron intake.

2. Lentils:

Lentils are not only a great source of iron, but they are also rich in protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients.

One cup of cooked lentils can provide about 37% of your daily iron requirement. They can be added to

soups, salads, or even made into lentil burgers.

3. Quinoa:

Another plant-based source of iron, quinoa, is a gluten-free grain rich in iron,

protein, magnesium, fiber, and many other nutrients. It’s versatile and can be made

into salads, stir-fries, or served as a side dish.

4. Red Meat :

Specifically, lean cuts of beef or lamb are among the best sources of heme iron, which is

more readily absorbed by the body compared to the non-heme iron found in plant sources.

However, it’s essential to consume red meat in moderation and opt for grass-fed or organic varieties when possible.

5. Shellfish:

 Oysters, clams, and mussels are not only delicious but are also packed with heme iron.

The iron in shellfish is heme iron, which, like the iron in red meat, is more readily absorbed by the body.

6. Tofu:

For those looking for vegetarian or vegan sources of iron, tofu is a fantastic option.

This versatile food made from soybean curds is not only rich in iron but also contains other

essential nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and protein.

7. Legumes:

One serving of lentils (after cooking) can get you 6.6 mg of the mineral or 37% of your daily requirement.

Similarly, all legumes are a great way to maintain the iron levels in your body. Soybeans, lentils,

beans, peas, and chickpeas are some foods which fall into this category. They are also good sources

of potassium, folate, and magnesium. As they contain high amounts of fiber, you will feel full for longer.

As a result of this, your calorie intake will reduce, which will help you lose weight.


Including iron rich foods is the best way to improve intake of the mineral. Including more iron in

your diet can help you improve cognitive function, muscle strength, and your immune system,

among several other health benefits. Similarly, ignoring these foods can lead to its deficiency.

This could give rise to a condition called anaemia, where there is a shortage of oxygen in your muscles and tissues.

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