What foods are the best sources of iron?
Alyssa Chicci (Tolleson, AZ) on Aug 29, 2011
The best sources of bioavailable iron are from meats. This doesn't have to be just red meats; chicken, fish, turkey, and white pork loin also have a significant amount of iron. Iron from meats is already in the form in which your body can use it and therefore is better absorbed than plant sources. Plant sources, however, can still provide a good amount of your daily iron. These sources include iron-fortified cold or hot cereals, beans, lentils, spinach, and soy products. Consuming iron in the presence of vitamin C helps your body absorb more iron. Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables, and is in many fruit juices, either naturally or through fortification. So, including veggies/fruit with your meal or snack or consuming about 4oz of orange juice or a vitamin C fortified juice will help you absorb the iron.
Shantih Coro (Hallandale Beach, FL) on Aug 29, 2011
The best source of iron (and the one that has the most iron available for absorption) is animal meat -- the richest of all is liver. We also find iron in plants such as spinach, chard and many other dark leaf vegetables, but it is in a chelate form, which is very difficult for the human body to absorb. Adding some liver, or even better, liver pate, 1-2 times a week will give you all the iron you need.
Adrienne Raimo (Columbus, OH) on Sep 22, 2011
Some of the best food sources of iron include: blackstrap molasses, romaine lettuce, tumeric (spice), swisschard, spinach, tofu, shiitake mushrooms, lentils, beef, venison, garbanzo beans, and kelp. Remember that calcium and polyphenols (found in tea, cocoa, spinach, and more) can inhibit iron absorption whereas vitamin C can help with absorption. If you are low in iron and are a vegetarian, you will want to pair your iron-rich food with a vitamin C source like orange juice.