Iron Rich Foods
and Heme Iron

Iron rich foods can come from many food sources.  However, heme iron can only come from animal muscle meats and from seafood like shellfish or fish.

Consuming the foods that contain heme iron is how you will get the most health benefits of iron because heme iron is much better absorbed than the type of iron that comes from plant foods.  And iron rich foods that do not contain heme iron will need to be eaten in a certain way to get a sufficient amount of the health benefits of iron.

The health benefits of iron make it such an important element to your health that you should include a wide variety of iron rich foods in your diet every day - especially the foods that contain heme iron.

Health Benefits of Iron

  • Involved in Red Blood Cell Formation
  • Involved with Carrying Oxygen to Cells
  • Essential to Hemoglobin Formation
  • Involved with Energy Metabolism
  • Helps increase Work Capacity and Helps Build Resistance to Stress
  • Vital for Brain Development and Concentration
  • Helps with Headaches and Dizziness
  • Involved with Neurotransmitter Synthesis
  • Helps to increase a Restful Sleep
  • Helps with Fatigue and Your Mood
  • Vital to Muscle Function 
  • Helps with Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Helps regulate Body Temperature
  • Helps with Brittle and Ridged Nails
  • Vital to Various Enzyme Systems and Strengthens Your Immune System

What is Iron?

Iron is a vital mineral that your body needs because it is involved with the transportation of oxygen to your cells.  Iron is a mineral that comes in two forms - heme iron or non-heme iron.  This mineral is needed for the formation of healthy red blood cells.

Iron is the central part of hemoglobin which is responsible for carrying oxygen to your cells. And the adult human body contains somewhere in the range of 3 to 5 grams of iron.

Approximately 65% or more is circulating in your blood while most of the rest gets stored for future use.

Iron Deficiency Symptoms

Iron Deficiency Symptoms are some of the most common problems in the world. Women and children seem to be the most susceptible to having this type of deficiency.

What is Iron - Heme and Non-Heme Iron?

Heme iron is readily available for absorption.  Heme iron is found in food sources which include seafood, pork, beef, poultry, lamb, and organ meats.  This type of iron makes up about 40% or more of the muscle tissue in these foods and the rest will be in the non-heme form.

Non-heme iron will be found in both animal and in plant foods which include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes.  BTW, eggs will only contain non-heme iron.

Non-heme iron will make up all of the iron found in plant foods.  And this type of iron is not as well absorbed by the human body.

Non-heme iron will be present as ferric iron and will have to be reduced to ferrous iron in order to be absorbed.  However, heme iron will already be in the form of ferrous iron.


Supplemental Sources of Iron

Supplemental sources of iron can include taking an iron supplement or consuming the foods known to boost iron quickly to help an iron deficiency.

Iron Rich Foods

Wild Caught Seafood - Clams, Oysters, Mussels, Queen Crab, Shrimp, Black and Red Caviar

Wild Caught Fish - Anchovies, Tuna, Mackerel

Organic Chocolate - Fermented Chocolate Nibs, Fermented Dark Chocolate

Pastured Organ Meats - Grass Fed Beef Liver, Grass Fed Beef Heart, Grass Fed Beef Kidney, Goose Liver, Chicken Liver

Pastured Meats - Grass Fed Beef, Grass Fed Lamb, Buffalo, Dark Meat Poultry, Venison, Veal

Sprouted or Fermented Organic Grains - Quinoa, Amaranth, Teff, Whole Wheat, Kamut, Spelt, Sorghum, Oats

Organic Nuts - Soaked Pistachio Nuts, Soaked or Sprouted Almonds, Soaked Pine Nuts, Coconut

Organic Fruits - Raisins, Dates, Sun-dried Tomatoes, Dried Apricots, Prunes, Dried Peaches, Dried Figs, Olives

Properly Soaked or Fermented Organic Legumes - Soybeans, Cashews, Peanuts, Lentils, Mung Beans, White Beans, Kidney Beans, Chickpeas or Garbanzo

Cooked Organic Vegetables - Jerusalem Artichokes, Asparagus, Spinach, Mustard Greens, Swiss Chard, Dandelion Greens, Green Peas, Endive, Oyster Mushrooms

Misc. - Blackstrap Molasses, Liquorice, Cumin Seed, Dried Thyme, Dried Parsley, Dried Marjoram, Black Maca Root, Wheatgrass

Soaked Organic Seeds - Pumpkin Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Flaxseeds

These are the best heme iron and non-heme iron rich foods that you can easily include in your diet every day!  BTW, iron rich foods like clams can give you up to 32 mg. of iron per 1 cup serving which exceeds the RDA for iron for adults by approximately 2 to 3 times.

Consume Vitamin C with Non-Heme Iron Foods

Plant based iron rich foods that contain non-heme iron will be more easily absorbed by your body if you consume vitamin C along with your meals and some heme iron foods.  And a variety of iron rich foods is probably the best way to ensure that you'll receive the most health benefits of iron.

Go to Iron Deficiency Symptoms

Return to Healthy Foods

Save Time and Shop On-line