Skip to main content

Getting Enough Iron

Overview

What is the recommended daily amount of iron?

The recommended daily amount of iron varies. Most people need the following amount of iron each day.footnote 1

Recommended daily amount of iron from food

Group

Age

Amount of daily iron

Adults

Ages 19 and older

Ages 19 to 50 (who menstruate)

8 mg.

18 mg.

Pregnant

Ages 14 to 50

27 mg.

Lactating

Ages 14 to 18

Ages 19 to 50

10 mg.

9 mg.

Adolescents

Ages 9 to 13

Ages 14 to 18

Ages 14 to 18 (who menstruate)

8 mg.

11 mg.

15 mg.

Children

Ages 1 to 3

Ages 4 to 8

7 mg.

10 mg.

Infants

Birth to 6 months

7 to 12 months

0.27 mg.

11 mg.

What foods are high in iron?

The foods you eat contain nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. Iron is a nutrient. Your body needs the right amount to stay healthy and work as it should. You can use the list below to help you make choices about which foods to eat.

Here are some foods that contain iron. They have 1 to 2 milligrams of iron per serving.

Fruits

  • Figs (dried), 5 figs

Vegetables

  • Asparagus (canned), 6 spears
  • Collard, beet, Swiss chard, or turnip greens, 1 cup
  • Dried peas, cooked, ½ cup
  • Seaweed, spirulina (dried), ¼ cup
  • Spinach, (cooked) ½ cup or (raw) 1 cup

Grains

  • Cereals, fortified with iron, 1 cup
  • Grits (instant, cooked), fortified with iron, ½ cup

Meats and other protein foods

  • Beans (kidney, lima, navy, white), canned or cooked, ½ cup
  • Beef or lamb, 3 oz
  • Chicken giblets, 3 oz
  • Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), ½ cup
  • Liver of beef, lamb, or pork, 3 oz
  • Oysters (cooked), 3 oz
  • Sardines (canned), 3 oz
  • Soybeans (boiled), ½ cup
  • Tofu (firm), ½ cup

Work with your doctor to find out how much of this nutrient you need. Depending on your health, you may need more or less of it in your diet.

References

Citations

  1. Food and Nutrition Board, et al. (2011). Dietary reference intakes (DRIs): Recommended dietary allowances and adequate intakes, elements. National Institutes of Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK56068/table/summarytables.t3/?report=objectonly. Accessed October 29, 2019.

Credits

Current as of: May 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Rhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator

 

PeaceHealth endeavors to provide comprehensive health care information, however some topics in this database describe services and procedures not offered by our providers or within our facilities because they do not comply with, nor are they condoned by, the ethics policies of our organization.