John C Kim and International Adoption Video

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Iron

The foods that seem to have a lot of banging for the Buck in terms of iron are beef and iron fortified cereals.”

via on 5/14/08

hat foods provide iron?

There are two forms of dietary iron: heme and nonheme. Heme iron is derived from hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells. Heme iron is found in animal foods that originally contained hemoglobin, such as red meats, fish, and poultry. Iron in plant foods such as lentils and beans is arranged in a chemical structure called nonheme iron [9]. This is the form of iron added to iron-enriched and iron-fortified foods. Heme iron is absorbed better than nonheme iron, but most dietary iron is nonheme iron [8]. A variety of heme and nonheme sources of iron are listed in Tables 1 and 2.

Table 1: Selected Food Sources of Heme Iron [10]
per serving
% DV*
Chicken liver, cooked, 3½ ounces12.870
Oysters, breaded and fried, 6 pieces4.525
Beef, chuck, lean only, braised, 3 ounces3.220
Clams, breaded, fried, ¾ cup3.015
Beef, tenderloin, roasted, 3 ounces 3.015
Turkey, dark meat, roasted, 3½ ounces2.310
Beef, eye of round, roasted, 3 ounces2.210
Turkey, light meat, roasted, 3½ ounces1.68
Chicken, leg, meat only, roasted, 3½ ounces1.36
Tuna, fresh bluefin, cooked, dry heat, 3 ounces1.16
Chicken, breast, roasted, 3 ounces1.16
Halibut, cooked, dry heat, 3 ounces0.96
Crab, blue crab, cooked, moist heat, 3 ounces0.84
Pork, loin, broiled, 3 ounces0.84
Tuna, white, canned in water, 3 ounces0.84
Shrimp, mixed species, cooked, moist heat, 4 large0.74

Table 2: Selected Food Sources of Nonheme Iron [10]
per serving
% DV*
Ready-to-eat cereal, 100% iron fortified, ¾ cup 18.0100
Oatmeal, instant, fortified, prepared with water, 1 cup10.060
Soybeans, mature, boiled, 1 cup 8.850
Lentils, boiled, 1 cup6.635
Beans, kidney, mature, boiled, 1 cup5.225
Beans, lima, large, mature, boiled, 1 cup4.525
Beans, navy, mature, boiled, 1 cup4.525
Ready-to-eat cereal, 25% iron fortified, ¾ cup4.525
Beans, black, mature, boiled, 1 cup3.620
Beans, pinto, mature, boiled, 1 cup 3.620
Molasses, blackstrap, 1 tablespoon3.520
Tofu, raw, firm, ½ cup3.420
Spinach, boiled, drained, ½ cup3.220
Spinach, canned, drained solids ½ cup2.510
Black-eyed peas (cowpeas), boiled, 1 cup1.810
Spinach, frozen, chopped, boiled ½ cup1.910
Grits, white, enriched, quick, prepared with water, 1 cup1.5 8
Raisins, seedless, packed, ½ cup1.5 8
Whole wheat bread, 1 slice0.9 6
White bread, enriched, 1 slice0.9 6

*DV = Daily Value. DVs are reference numbers developed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help consumers determine if a food contains a lot or a little of a specific nutrient. The FDA requires all food labels to include the percent DV (%DV) for iron. The percent DV tells you what percent of the DV is provided in one serving. The DV for iron is 18 milligrams (mg). A food providing 5% of the DV or less is a low source while a food that provides 10-19% of the DV is a good source. A food that provides 20% or more of the DV is high in that nutrient. It is important to remember that foods that provide lower percentages of the DV also contribute to a healthful diet. For foods not listed in this table, please refer to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Nutrient Database Web site:

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Personal Web site for John C Kim: KIDDOC.ORG

I am a pediatrician specializing in General Pediatrics, International Adoption Medicine, and in the diagnosis and coaching of families pursuing joy.