bowl of spinach and pumpkin seed salad, full of iron

6 Top Iron-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet

July 21, 2015

When it comes to fueling our bodies, we rely on certain vitamins and minerals, iron being one of them. Iron is needed to make red blood cells, which transports oxygen around the body. Without enough of it, we can end up dealing with fatigue, memory loss and movement delay. Make sure you're getting your fill of iron to avoid this with our top iron-rich foods to add to your diet

Top Iron-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet

Anaemia - an iron deficiency is the most common form of nutritional deficiency in Ireland. Women in particular need to ensure they're getting their quota of iron-rich foods to offset monthly periods. So just how can you go about this? Thankfully, there are plenty of great foods packed full of this important mineral. Get your notepads (and shopping lists) at the ready - here are 7 top iron-rich foods to add to your diet.

1. Liver

Organ meats are some of the best sources of iron with the added bonus of other minerals, vitamins and protein. Beef liver, at 5 mg of iron per slice, is a great option for getting this mineral into your diet. If you’re not a fan of liver, other animal proteins such as egg yolks and red meat are also high in iron.

2. Pumpkin Seeds

These ultra iron rich seeds are perfect for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet. One handful of pumpkin seeds, contains about 5% of the recommended daily value of this mineral needed for optimal health. To get the most out of your pumpkin seeds, eat them raw as a snack during the day or scatter them on soup. You can also roast them in the oven for 15-20 minutes to add some extra flavour.

3. Fruits of the Sea

Sea vegetables, oysters, squid, mussels and mollusks are loaded with iron. One medium oyster has 3-5 mg of iron, so a plateful would certainly surpass your daily requirement. Common fish such as haddock, salmon and tuna are also high in iron if oysters aren’t your cup of tea. Sea vegetables are a great way for vegetarians and vegans to get more iron in too.

4. Chickpeas

Another one of our top iron-rich foods to add to your diet has to be chickpeas. Chickpeas provide you with almost 5 mg of iron per cup and make a fantastic alternative for vegetarians. They’re a great addition to salads and pasta dishes and can even be blended to make your very own hummus. 

5. Fortified Cereal

Cereal lovers can breathe a sigh of relief because there are a range of fortified cereals, such as oatmeal, that are high in iron. Check the label for the amount of Iron per serving, as most of these offer 90-100% of the daily recommended value.

6. Spinach

The last of our top iron-rich foods to add to your diet is spinach. We've all seen the effect a tin of spinach had on Popeye! It might not have the same instant effect as in the cartoon, but it's certainly a superfood. Spinach, both raw and cooked, is a great source of iron, but cooking it allows your body to absorb the nutrients more easily.

Just one cup of cooked spinach has more than 6 mg of iron and although it might not be the most popular green to get your kids to eat, it is easy to add into recipes such as frittatas and lasagne.

If you're after some healthy recipes to incorporate your new favourite iron-rich foods, pop over to our recipe section for inspo.

Please note, this blog is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice.

It’s always best to consult your doctor before taking any new supplements, treatments or remedies if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or on medication.

Checked and updated: 12 August 2021