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DietHealthy FoodsWellnessHow to Get the Iron Your Body Needs

How to Get the Iron Your Body Needs

Among all the minerals our bodies need, none is more vital than iron. Iron is necessary to transport oxygen to every part of the body. Even a slight deficiency causes anemia. An ongoing deficiency causes progressive symptoms and over time a chronic deficiency can even lead to organ failure.

So how much iron does our body need on a daily basis?

Recommended daily amounts of iron from food 
Men Adult 8 mg
Women Adult (age 50 and older) 8 mg
Adult (age 19 to 50) 18 mg
Pregnant 27 mg
Lactating 9 mg to 10 mg
Youth (age 9 to 18) Girls 8 mg to 15 mg
Boys 8 mg to 11 mg
Children (birth to age 8) Age 4 to 8 10 mg
Age 1 to 3 7 mg
Infants (7 months to 1 year) 11 mg
Infants (birth to 6 months) 0.27 mg
What foods are the best source of dietary iron?
Iron is available from many foods. Beef and turkey are animal proteins high in iron, and beans are a good plant protein source. Your body absorbs iron from meat more completely than it does iron from plants. Some foods interfere with iron absorption. Eating meat at the same time as plant sources enhances absorption. An added tip: Taking vitamin C with foods also increased absorption.

Here are specific foods to eat to boost the iron in your diet:

1. Mollusks (mussels, oysters, shrimp, and clams)

2: Liver (beef, pork, chicken, turkey and lamb)

3: Squash and pumpkin seeds

4: Nuts (almond, cashew, hazelnut, peanut, and pine nuts)

5: Lean tenderloin of beef and lamb

6: Beans (white beans, lentils)

7: Fortified cereals, whole grains and bran

8. Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard)

9: Dark chocolate and cocoa powder

10: Tofu

Consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian to be sure you are eating enough iron.

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