In the long run, iron deficiency could cause many health hazards. Find out how foods that contain iron, such as cereals, nuts, tofu, and red meat, can help you improve the quantity of iron in your body.

Iron-Rich Foods: A Nutritionist's Guide To Avoid Iron Deficiency

Iron is an essential micronutrient that helps our body create haemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs to every single cell in the body. As per WHO, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency across the world, even in developed countries.

Why Is Iron-Rich Food Important For Your Body:

  • Iron deficiency, also known as anaemia, is one of the most common health issues that occur due to inadequate intake of foods that contain iron. 
  • Consumption of foods containing iron increases the capacity of red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout your body.
  • Iron is a crucial nutrient for brain development as well. It also promotes the production of hormones.

Eating foods that are rich in iron can also help you achieve your health goals faster. It is, however, ideal to consult your doctor if you are unsure about how much food for low iron you should take. Now, check out the iron rich foods list for vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians so that you can easily incorporate enough of this mineral into your daily diet.

Iron Rich Vegetarian Foods

For vegetarians, foods that are rich in iron such as nuts, seeds, legumes (beans), grains, bread, soya, paneer, cereal, spinach, and potatoes become essential sources of non-heme iron. Here are some foods for low iron individuals:

  • Cereals: Millets like bajra and ragi are rich sources of plant-based iron. Ragi contains 4.62 mg of iron per 100 g. You can enjoy various tempting dishes made out of millets like millets aloo pocket,  millet raw banana pocket etc.
  • Legumes: Lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans, and soybeans are the most common types of legumes. They are great examples of iron rich vegetarian foods. For instance, 1 cup of cooked lentils contains 6 mg of iron per 100 g serving.  You can Try these delicious and nutritious recipes like mixed vegetable dal recipe, trevti dal , dal with pumpkin etc. 
  • Tofu: Tofu is a soy-based iron rich vegetarian food that is a good source of iron, magnesium, calcium, and selenium. Tofu contains 1.9 mg of iron per 100 g serving. Tofu can be had twice a week as a snack or curry in your daily diet.
  • Green leafy vegetables: Leafy vegetables, or saag, are foods that are rich in iron and offer several health benefits, like reducing inflammation and more. This iron rich veg food contains around 100 grams of raw spinach can provide 2.95 mg of iron. Try to include at least one serving of greens (100g) in your daily diet. Amaranthus (chaulai), fenugreek (methi), mustard (sarso), chenopodium album (bathua), water spinach (kalmi,) etc are some easily available saags to try in your everyday curries or stir-fries or parathas
  • Nuts and other oil seeds: Nuts and seeds can be added to your daily salads or smoothies or had as a trail mix, which is a perfect evening snack. They are the perfect food that are rich in iron to start your day with.

Iron-Rich Non-Vegetarian Foods

Non-vegetarians tends to absorbed more quickly than the non-heme iron found in iron rich vegetarian foods. Non-veg foods that are rich in iron are also found in abundance. Here are some iron-rich foods that should be part of your diet if you are a non-vegetarian eater.\

●    Shellfish:
Shellfish is one of the best foods for iron (heme). While all kinds of shellfish are a good source of iron, clams, mussels, and oysters are the best choices. 

●    Organ Meat:
Organ meats like liver, kidney, heart, and brain are also rich sources of iron. They are also rich in vitamin B, protein, selenium, and copper. About 100 grams of beef liver provides 14.8 mg of iron.

●    Red Meat:
Red meat is one of the most nutritious and delicious foods with iron. About 100 grams of red meat ( sheep,leg, mutton ,pork ) contains about 6.3 mg of iron.

●    Fish:
Fish is an easily available source of heme iron and omega-3 fatty acids. While all kinds of fishes are rich in iron, certain varieties like tuna (kupa), sardines (mathi or chala), haddock (surmai), and mackerel (bangda) are excellent for people prone to anaemia.


Myths And Facts About Iron-Rich Foods

There are several myths in our country related to iron-rich foods. Let’s look at them :-

Myth 1: Spinach is a good source of iron

Fact: Spinach has iron in it, but you’ll only get the most out of its iron content if you cook it or add a source of vitamin C to the mix. This is mainly because oxalic acid present in spinach binds to iron and hinders iron absorption.

Adding some amounts of Vitamin C also helps with iron absorption. There are many recipes that can be made to make sure you get the required iron content from such foods.

Myth 2: Beetroots are rich in iron

Fact: Like spinach, beet greens are also rich in oxalates that hinder iron absorption. Some easy beetroot recipes help reduce the antinutrients and boost iron absorption.


All in all, iron is an essential nutrient that you need to consume daily to protect your body against different infections, prevent iron deficiency and live life in a healthy and active manner. Since both vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods with iron are available abundantly, you can incorporate the highest iron foods into your diet easily.

Adding these iron enriched foods to your meals will surely elevate their nutritional value. However, it is recommended that you consult your doctor if you feel that despite taking foods for low iron, you are experiencing deficiency-related problems. They might recommend iron supplements in such a situation.