How Much Iron Do We Need?
Those who consume a diet low in Iron are likely to develop a condition called Iron Deficiency Anemia. Pre-menopausal women and children are most at risk for developing this condition. The good news, however, is that mild Iron deficiency can be prevented and corrected by eating a balanced diet high in Iron-rich foods. The following table highlights the amount of Iron we need, on a daily basis, to maintain our good health.
Men 8 mg of Iron a day Breast-Feeding Women 9 mg of Iron a day Pregnant Women 27 mg of Iron a day Postmenopausal Women 8 mg of Iron a day Pre-menopausal Women: 19 to 50 years old 18 mg of Iron a day
It’s also important to note that if you’re an athlete, a dieter on a strict low-calorie diet, a vegetarian or a vegan you need to double your daily recommended amount of this dietary mineral in order to compensate for the rate at which your body loses and/or absorbs it.
Athletes must double their daily recommended amount of Iron because they lose a great deal of it by sweating. If this lost Iron is not replaced athletes can begin to experience workout fatigue, often referred to as physical burnout.
Dieters must also be highly aware of their Iron intake because calorie-restricted diets and detox diets, which are often plant-based diets are very low in this mineral and can often lead to anemia.
Vegans and most vegetarians must also double their daily recommended amount of this mineral because the main type of Iron found in plant-based diets is none heme Iron which is not as easily absorbed by the human body as heme Iron found exclusively in animal products. Therefore, by doubling their daily recommended amount of this mineral vegans and vegetarians can make sure they attain an adequate amount of it despite the fact that the human body struggles to absorb and metabolize none heme Iron properly. On the plus side, though, since plant-based sources of this dietary mineral are low in calories and fat vegans and vegetarians don’t risk obesity or other health problems by doubling their daily recommended amount of this mineral.
List of Top 30 Plant-Based Sources of Iron
|Soybeans, Cooked||1 cup||8.8 mg of Iron|
|Lentils, Cooked||1 cup||6.6 mg of Iron|
|Spinach, Cooked||1 cup||6.4 mg of Iron|
|Quinoa, Cooked||1 cup||6.3 mg of Iron|
|Tofu||4 oz||6.0 mg of Iron|
|Tempeh||1 cup||4.8 mg of Iron|
|Lima Beans, Cooked||1 cup||4.4 mg of Iron|
|Swiss Chard, Cooked||1 cup||4.0 mg of Iron|
|Black Beans, Cooked||1 cup||3.6 mg of Iron|
|Pinto Beans, Cooked||1 cup||3.5 mg of Iron|
|Turnip Greens, Cooked||1 cup||3.2 mg of Iron|
|Chickpeas, Cooked||1 cup||3.2 mg of Iron|
|Potato||1 Large||3.2 mg of Iron|
|Kidney Beans, Cooked||1 cup||3.0 mg of Iron|
|Beet Greens, Cooked||1 cup||2.7 mg of Iron|
|Tahini||2 tbsp||2.7 mg of Iron|
|Peas, Cooked||1 cup||2.5 mg of Iron|
|Black-Eyed Peas, Cooked||1 cup||2.3 mg of Iron|
|Cashews||1/4 cup||2.1 mg of Iron|
|Brussels Sprouts, Cooked||1 cup||1.9 mg of Iron|
|Bok Choy, Cooked||1 cup||1.8 mg of Iron|
|Bulgur, Cooked||1 cup||1.7 mg of Iron|
|Raisins||1/2 cup||1.6 mg of Iron|
|Almonds||1/4 cup||1.5 mg of Iron|
|Apricots, Dried||15 Halves||1.4 mg of Iron|
|Green Beans, Cooked||1 cup||1.2 mg of Iron|
|Kale, Cooked||1 cup||1.2 mg of Iron|
|Broccoli, Cooked||1 cup||1.1 mg of Iron|
|Sunflower Seeds||1/4 cup||1.1 mg of Iron|
|Tomato Juice||8 oz||1.0 mg of Iron|
Photo courtesy of: Evon-Amos