dietary advice on foods rich in iron

Last reviewed 01/2018

The two forms of dietary irons (heme and nonheme) are supplied by a variety of sources. Most dietary irons are non heme irons (1).

  • heme iron
    • found in animal foods that contain haemoglobin
    • e.g. - chicken liver, oyster, beef, clams
  • non heme iron
    • found in plant foods
    • e.g. - lentils, soybeans, spinach
    • is the form of iron added to iron-enriched and iron-fortified foods (1)

Lentils contain more protein and iron than beef or lamb.

Other foods rich in iron include:

  • hazelnuts
  • apricots
  • whole rice
  • spinach
  • prunes

Vitamin C helps iron absorption.

Iron absorption is decreased by:

  • antacids
  • tetracyclines
  • phosphates
  • phytates - for example, in chapati flour