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Getting Enough Iron

Topic Overview

How much dietary iron is recommended each day?

Recommended daily amounts of iron from foodfootnote 1

Men

Adult

8 mg

Women

Adult (age 50 and older)

8 mg

Adult (ages 19 to 50)

18 mg

Pregnant

27 mg

Lactating

9 mg to10 mg

Adolescents (ages 9 to 18)

Girls

8 mg to15 mg

Boys

8 mg to11 mg

Children (birth to age 8)

Ages 4 to 8

10 mg

Ages 1 to 3

7 mg

Infants (7 months to 1 year)

11 mg

Infants (birth to 6 months)

0.27 mg

What foods are high in iron?

You can get iron from many foods. Beef and turkey are good sources of iron from meat or animal protein. Beans are good sources of iron from plants. Iron from meat is absorbed by your body more fully than iron from plants. Some foods can decrease the amount of iron that your body will absorb. But meat and vitamin C can help your body absorb more iron from plants. Ask your doctor or registered dietitian about how to be sure you are getting enough iron.

Iron-fortified foods include cereals.

Meat and poultryfootnote 2

Serving size

Iron (mg)

Beef (ground)

3 oz

2 mg

Chicken

3 oz

1 mg

Turkey

3 oz

1 mg-2 mg

Fruits and vegetablesfootnote 2

Serving size

Iron (mg)

Beans (cooked or canned)

1 cup

1 mg-5 mg

Potato (baked)

1 medium

2 mg

Raisins

1 cup

3 mg

Spinach (cooked)

1 cup

6 mg

Cereals and grainsfootnote 2

Serving size

Iron (mg)

Cereals (iron-fortified, ready to eat)

1 cup

4 mg-18 mg

Oatmeal (instant)

1 cup

4 mg

Rice (white, enriched)

1 cup

3 mg

References

Citations

  1. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine (2011). Dietary reference intakes (DRIs): Recommended dietary allowances and adequate intakes, elements. Available online: http://iom.edu/Activities/Nutrition/SummaryDRIs/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/Nutrition/DRIs/New%20Material/2_%20RDA%20and%20AI%20Values_Vitamin%20and%20Elements.pdf.
  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (2012). Nutrient data laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 25. Available online: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator

Current as ofMay 4, 2017

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