The 3 Pillars of Health: Fitness, Food, Sleep

5 Surprising Sources of Iron


Many people when they think about the sources of iron, immediately think about a thick, juicy steak.

Iron is a mineral that your body needs for many different functions.

Many enzymes contain iron, so iron is used in lots of cell functions. Most famously, iron forms a part of hemoglobin which brings oxygen from your lungs to all parts of your body.

grilling steaks

How much iron do you need? That all depends upon your age and sex.

Adult men (over the age of 18) need only 8 mg per day.

Adult women need these amounts:

  • from age 19 – 50: 18 mg per day
  • from age 51+: 8 mg per day
  • pregnant women: 27 mg per day
  • nursing women: 9 mg per day

Many people think that the best source of iron is beef. That’s only partially true.

For example, 100 g (3.5 ounces) of t-bone steak only has about 3 mg of iron.

Here are 5 plant foods that have more of this vital mineral than you would have guessed and more than that steak.

1. Sesame Seeds

sesame seeds for iron

Roasted sesame seeds have a whopping 15 mg of iron in every 3.5 ounces.

Sesame seeds can be added to a lot of cooked and baked dishes as well as sprinkled on salads.

You may also enjoy tahini which is made from roasted sesame seeds. Tahini gives you 9 mg for each 3.5 ounce serving.

2. Pumpkin Seeds


Like sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds pack in 15 mg of iron in each 3.5 ounces.

Roasted pumpkin seeds make a great low calorie snack. They’ll give you a lot more nutritional value for your munching than cakes and cookies.

3. Sun-Dried Tomatoes

tomatoes sources of iron

A red ripe tomato contains only 1.3 mg of iron per 3.5 ounces.

However, sun-dried tomatoes are more intense and will give you a full 9 mg of iron for that same 3.5 ounce serving.

4. Baked Potatoes


Lots of people tend to look down on potatoes. However, it seems that potatoes don’t deserve the bad rap they get from some people.

For example, your baking potato is packed with nutrients including 7 mg of iron for a 3.5 ounce serving.

5. Eat Dark Chocolate for the Iron!

dark chocolate

I confess. I couldn’t resist putting this delight on the list.

Of course, no one is suggesting you should eat too much chocolate. 🙂

However, when you feel the urge, you can take some comfort in the fact that your dark chocolate contains 6 mg of iron for every 3.5 ounces. That’s almost twice as much iron as a steak.

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