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9 Iron-Rich Foods That Go Beyond Red Meat

November 11, 2023

Iron, the unsung hero of our nutrient lineup, is responsible for several bodily functions, including fueling our bodies with the oxygen it craves. Often, when we hear about iron-rich foods, red meat instantly comes to mind. However, there’s an entire palette of iron-packed options to discover for those with various dietary needs.

While red meat is a notable iron source, these alternatives offer delicious, nutrient-rich options that can fit into various dietary preferences. Whether you’re plant-based, pescatarian, or simply looking to diversify your iron sources, these iron-rich foods are fantastic additions to your diet.

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1. Spinach

spinach and eggs in a skillet


Spinach is a nutritional powerhouse, and its iron content is no exception. This leafy green not only provides iron but is also rich in vitamins and minerals. Enjoy it in salads, smoothies, or sautéed as a versatile side dish.

2. Lentils

lentil soup with tomatoes and spinach in a bowl with a gold spoon


Lentils are a superb source of plant-based iron. These tiny legumes are also rich in protein and fiber, making them a staple in plant-forward diets. Incorporate lentils into soups, stews, or salads for a healthy iron boost.

3. Tofu

cooked tofu in a bowl with vegetables and rice


Tofu is packed with nutrients, including iron. It’s a versatile ingredient that can be grilled, stir-fried, or used in salads.

Related: 7 Tasty & Healthy Tofu Recipes We Can’t Stop Making

4. Chicken

grilled chicken salad on a plate


Poultry contains less iron than red meat, but it’s still a great source. For higher iron content, opt for darker cuts over white meat.

Related: 11 Fall Chicken Recipes That Are Healthy & Delicious

5. Pumpkin seeds

healthy pumpkin spice latte on a table next to pumpkins


Pumpkin seeds are a convenient and tasty way to increase your iron intake. Snack on them as they are or sprinkle them on salads, yogurt, or even into smoothie bowls.

6. Chickpeas

whole grain pita with chickpea and veggies and tahini


Chickpeas are a fiber-packed source of iron. You can use them in a variety of dishes, from hummus to soups to curries.

7. Dark Chocolate

dark chocolate pieces on paper


Dark chocolate, particularly the varieties with a high cacao content, can be a surprisingly good source of iron. Enjoy it as an occasional treat to satisfy your sweet tooth while boosting your iron levels.

Related: 5 Low Calorie Chocolate Bars That Aren’t Loaded With Sugar

8. Tuna

mediterranean tuna salad in a bowl with olives and tomatoes


Tuna is an excellent source of iron and omega-3 fatty acids. One single 85g can of tuna provides a whopping 8% of your daily requirement!

9. Eggs

Mini egg muffins in a muffin tin


These nutrient powerhouses are a great source of iron, protein, and essential vitamins. Making them a staple in your breakfast routine can help you stay on top of your iron requirements.

Read next: 8 Iodine-Rich Foods You Need In Your Diet, Says Science

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