21 Foods High In Iron

These 21 iron-rich foods will keep fatigue and frustration at bay!

If you feel lethargic, burnt out, or sleep-deprived, don’t assume your low energy is the result of sleep deprivation. Your sluggishness could be due to an iron deficiency. Many women who don’t include enough iron-rich foods in their diet suffer from this condition.

Without proper iron levels, there isn’t enough energy for your blood to deliver oxygen to your cells. Every cell in your body requires oxygen to produce energy. Without enough iron, you’re not meeting the desperate needs of these cells. This deficiency will trample and weaken your system, leaving you feeling chronically tired, pale, and limp. Here at Skinny Ms., we’ve compiled a list of 21 Foods High In Iron that are a breeze to include in your diet. Put that pep back in your step by adding these iron-rich foods to your menu!

1. Spinach
Spinach hooks you up with non-heme iron, a type of iron only available in plants. It’s different from the iron found in animal products. Your best bet is to boil spinach to help aid the absorption of iron, along with the host of other nutritious vitamins and minerals spinach contains.

Enjoy these spinach dishes:

2. Chicken
Chicken is a good source of heme iron, which helps carry oxygen through your body and give you a necessary energy lift. It’s a leaner, more nutritious animal source than steak or pork, with a taste that simply soothes the soul.

Try this delectable Slow Cooking Polynesian Chicken recipe.

3. Watermelon
Carving out a few slices of this scrumptious, juicy fruit adds iron and an endless array of other nutritional benefits to your diet. Incredibly hydrating, watermelon is a perfect go-to snack when your tummy is grumbling.

Try this light, summery recipe that pairs watermelon perfectly with healthy herbs and vegetables: Herby, Juicy Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad

4. Beet Greens
Beets provide significant amounts of iron and vital nutrients like vitamin C and calcium. They’re also bursting with juicy flavor and have high water content.

5. Prunes
You’re probably aware that prunes rock at keeping you regular, but did you know they’re also a great source of non-heme iron? These deliciously chewy dried fruits are especially helpful to iron-deficient strugglers, as their vitamin C content helps your body absorb the iron easier.

Add prunes to your diet with these Quinoa Protein Bars that give you an energy surge and satisfy your hunger.

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili6. Kidney Beans
Bean lovers rejoice! Kidney beans are a killer addition to any simmering dish or fresh salad, and come with a host of health benefits like stabilizing insulin levels and lowering cholesterol. They’re also a virtually fat-free way to boost your iron stores, perfect for iron-deficient individuals. Try a bowl of Vegetarian Chili with kidney beans.

Watching your weight? Check out this White Beans for Weight Loss recipe for an easy way to add iron and shed pounds.

7. Raisins
Say buh-bye to post-lunch crashes and dozing off during your afternoon psych class. Raisins deliver healthy amounts of iron, allowing life-sustaining oxygen to reach cells and tissues. They also provide ample amounts of vitamin C and natural sugars to help metabolize energy and leave you feeling revitalized.

Try this pleasantly sweet saute that spotlights golden raisins: Spinach Saute with Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins

8. Scallops
Scallops are a good source of heme-iron, the type easily absorbed by your body. This super seafood offers a boatload of nutrients that battle cancer cells and improve cardiovascular health. Low iron levels can leave you feeling short-tempered and annoyed. The sheer sight of tasty scallops sizzling with flavor will turn any irritable face into a smiling one.

To ensure you take in all of the health wonders scallops have to offer, aim to broil or bake instead of frying. Try this Easy Broiled Scallops recipe to learn how!

9. Asparagus
This flowery spring vegetable is fortified with iron, delivering a grand total of 2.1 mg in 6 spears. The prized plant can also prevent and relieve destructive health conditions, while enhancing the appearance and nutritional value of any meal. Enjoy them crunchy in their whole form, or creamy when blended in soups like this Skinny Cream of Asparagus Soup.

10. Oatmeal
Oatmeal tops the charts with iron content, offering around 5-6 mg per serving! It’s a great low-glycemic breakfast option, as it expands in your stomach and keeps you feeling full throughout the day. Sink your spoon into a bowl of energy-boosting oatmeal for a breakfast guaranteed to satisfy and meet all your iron needs.

One-Pot Meal Balsamic Chicken, Carrots, and Lentils

11. Lentils
One cup of cooked lentils delivers 6 mg of iron along with a great deal fabulous, filling fiber that prevents cravings.

Try this comforting, vitamin-rich dish featuring lentils: One-Pot Meal Balsamic Chicken, Carrots, and Lentils 

12. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are cool and crunchy with a seasonal flair. They’re also loaded with iron and provide a vegetarian-friendly way to add more iron into your diet. Just one serving of raw pumpkin seeds delivers 20-30% of your recommended iron intake! Anyone who believes iron is exclusively in meat is in for an iron-ic surprise.

This Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Granola is perfect for those busy days when you need a quick on-the-go snack fix.

13. Chickpeas
Garbanzo beans, chickpeas, whatever name suits your fancy: this superfood is a super source of iron, piling in a whopping 6.2 mg per half-cup serving. It also has an incredibly fibrous profile, which aids digestion and helps you feel full. Pair the beneficial beans with produce like broccoli or tomatoes for optimal iron absorption.

14. Broccoli
Like some fruits, broccoli is a good source of non-heme iron and a great source of vitamin C, enabling your system’s absorption of the mineral. It’s also packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Step up your iron intake by pairing your broccoli with foods rich in heme-iron like eggs or chicken.

Try this deliciously wholesome Chicken, Broccoli, and Asparagus Stir Fry Recipe to ensure optimal iron intake.

15. Squash
Skinny Ms. loves squash! Check out our 17 Clean Eating Recipes with Squash.

Almond Blueberry Pancakes with Chocolate Ganache

16. 80% Dark Chocolate
A little block of quality dark chocolate does more than satisfy an aching sweet tooth. One ounce of this blissful indulgence delivers a shocking 19% of your recommended iron! If this doesn’t impress, to put things in perspective, a serving of red meat carries only 3%. We don’t recommend making chocolate your go-to iron staple. But if you’re reaching for sweets, breaking off a block of 80% dark chocolate isn’t a bad idea. The treat delivers a bunch of vitamins and antioxidants as well!

In the mood for something decadent? Give one of these Chocolate Recipes a try.

17. Thyme
This delicate plant with its therapeutic fragrance and host of health benefits enhances the flavor of any vegetable or bean dish. Thyme is an excellent source of iron, calcium, manganese, and dietary fiber. Stock up on this kitchen must-have for a yummy way to add iron to your diet!

First time cooking with thyme? Try this easy recipe that features the feathery herb: Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Fresh Thyme.

18. Tahini
Don’t let tahini’s simple appearance fool you. The nutty sesame seed paste packs in a heap of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. Use this paste in salad dressings, hummus, or stir frys for a tasty way to add iron to your menu. The superfood boasts a high alkaline content, ideal for assisting in weight loss.

Transport your taste buds to the Middle East with this irrisistable falafel recipe featuring tahini: Homemade Baked Falafel with Tangy Tahini Sauce.

19. Soybeans 
Soybeans serve up a heaping portion of iron – approximately 4.4 mg per serving! Soy products also help lower cholesterol along with your risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. If eating the beans doesn’t strike your fancy, pour soy milk in your coffee or cereal as an alternative to regular milk.

20. Dried Apricots
This fruit is as versatile as it is velvety. Apricots add tangy charm to pastries, jams, liquor, and marmalade. Dried apricots offer a multitude of health benefits. They’re also a wonderful source of non-heme iron, which helps prevent anemia and keeps feelings of dizziness and fatigue at bay. Read Health Benefits of Apricots to learn more about why you profit from these chewy orange delights!

21. Cashews
Cashews are a wonderful addition to any stir-fry or vegetable dish. 30 grams of the crunchy, buttery nut offers 1.5 mg of iron. Adding cashews to your diet will keep your blood cell function and enzyme activity in check and provide other beneficial minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.

Try this Brussels Sprouts, Chicken, and Cashews dish for a one-pot meal guaranteed to satisfy and energize!

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Ellie Krasner

Ellie is a full-time violinist living in Las Vegas, and a writer with an insatiable appetite for clean eating and fitness! She is a graduate of Binghamton University with degrees in English literature and violin, and loves investigating the world of healthy living.

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