Why You Need Iron Nutrition

Click here for an important message about maintaining your good health from our Medical Director, Patrick Sadler, M.D.

In order to give blood, we must first determine if it’s safe for you. During the screening process, we take a small sample of blood from a finger stick. The sample is then placed into a special reader to determine if your hemoglobin level is high enough to give blood. If that level is lower than what is acceptable, you will need to increase the amount of iron enriched foods you eat prior to your next appointment. This is also a good idea, if you know you have a history of low iron levels.


  • All types of red meat, fish and poultry are excellent dietary sources of iron, since iron from these sources is most easily absorbed by your body.
  • Many vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and grains are also good dietary sources of iron, but iron from plant sources such as these are not absorbed efficiently by your body. Vitamin C enhances iron absorption from such plant sources, so eating vitamin C containing foods (grapefruit, oranges, tomatoes, broccoli and strawberries) in combination with iron-rich vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc. is recommended.


  • Caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks), when taken with meals can act as iron blockers, as well as excess consumption of high fiber foods or bran supplements.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for pre-menopausal women is 15 mg. per day.

The RDA for men and post-menopausal women is 10 mg. per day.

Iron content of specific foods is given in the attached table.


Minimum Daily Requirements:


Chuck stew 4 oz3.1 mg
Hamburger 4 oz3.5 mg
Liver 3 1/2 oz6.6 mg
Roast 8 oz4.6 mg


Fried 1/2 bird1.8 mg
Breast (fried)1.1 mg
Roasted 3 1/2 oz2.1 mg
Livers 2 large7.4 mg


Roasted 3 slices5.1 mg


Tuna in oil 3 1/2 oz1.9 mg
Tuna in water 3 1/2 oz1.6 mg
Scallops 3 1/2 oz1.6 mg
Shrimp 1/2 lb2.5 mg
Clams (hard) 5 to 107.5 mg
Clams (soft) 4 to 93.4 mg
Oysters 5 to 85.5 mg


Cutlet 4 oz3.3 mg
Stew meat 3 1/2 oz3.5 mg


Leg 4 oz2.3 mg
Loin Chop 4 oz2.3 mg


Loin 4 oz2.3 mg
Spareribs 8 oz2.9 mg
Ham: (baked)2 1/2 oz2.1 mg
Canned 4 oz3.0 mg
Luncheon Meats
Liverwurst 1 slice1.6 mg
Salami 1 slice1.0 mg


1 Large whole1.2 mg


Dry: Lima 1.2 cup2.9 mg
Navy 1.2 cup2.5 mg
Kidney 1/2 cup2.2 mg
Fresh: Lima 1/2 cup2.1 mg
Sprouted mung 1 cup4 mg
Cereals (hot/cold)Up to 15 mg

Breads & Grains

Bagel 3″1.2 mg
Bran flakes 40% 1 cup12.3 mg
with raisins 1 cup17.7 mg
Breadcrumbs dry 1 cup3.6 mg
Gingerbread 1 slice1.0 mg
Macaroni 1 cup1.4 mg
Egg noodles 1 cup1.4mg
Oatmeal 1 cup1.7 mg
Rolls: Hard 1 med1.3 mg
Hot dogs and hamburgers1.2 mg
Cream of Wheat 1 serving25.0 mg


Artichoke 1 whole1.4 mg
Jerusalem 1 medium3.4 mg
Asparagus 6 stalks1.3 mg
Brussel sprouts 6 to 71.1 mg
Chard 1/2 cup (cooked)1.3 mg
Chestnuts 101.2 mg
Dandelion greens (cooked) 1/2 cup1.8 mg
Endive 1 cup1.0 mg
Lettuce (Boston) 1 cup1.1 mg
Mustard greens (cooked)1.8 mg
Black-eyed peas (cooked) 1/2 cup1.7 mg
Green peas (cooked) 1/2 cup1.4 mg
Potato (baked) 1 medium1.1 mg
Spinach (raw) 1 cup1.7 mg
(cooked) 1/2 cup2.0 mg
Sweet Potato (baked)1.0 mg
Tomato: Fresh, med0.9 mg
juice 1 cup2.2 mg


Apple Juice 1cup1.5 mg
Apricots: (dried uncooked) 1/2 cup3.6mg
(dried cooked) 1.2 cup2.3 mg
Avocado 1121.3 mg
Banana (mashed) 1 cup1.6 mg
Cantaloupe 1/2 mad1.6 mg
Dates (pitted) 102.4 mg
Dates (cut-up )1/2 cup2.6 mg
Orange juice (canned) 1cup1.0 mg
Prunes: (canned) 1/2 cup1.1 mg
(dried uncooked) 103.3 mg
juice 1 cup2.5 mg
Raisins 1/2 cup2.9 mg
Strawberries 1/2 cup (frozen)1.0 mg
Watermelon 8″ X 4″ wedge2.0 mg


Shelled: Almonds 1/4 cup1.7 mg
Cashews 1/4 cup1.2 mg
Walnuts 1/4 cup1.9 mg


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