Stephanie D. Murillo
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What Breakfast Foods Contain Iron?

Adding more iron-containing food to your daily diet may help prevent anemia and improve your energy level. Iron is an essential mineral for growth and development of red blood cells and plays a vital role in transferring oxygen throughout the body. It constitutes a critical component of hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that make it possible to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. It also supports DNA synthesis, muscle function, and the immune system. Without a required amount of iron in your body, you may feel weak, fatigued and irritable, as well as having depressed cognitive ability. Incorporating with iron-containing breakfast can help you get your daily need for this mineral.


Iron is an important nutrient which helps in the production of red blood cells. If you have an iron deficiency, your body cannot form enough hemoglobin which can trigger anemia and more susceptible to infections and illness. As a result, you may feel fatigued all the time and get sick more easily.

According to different studies, iron deficiency is particularly prevalent among infants, pregnant women, teenage girls and the elderly as compared to men. About 20% of women, 50% of pregnant women, and 3% of men have an iron deficiency in their body. And in many cases, the best solution or remedy is to add more iron-containing food to your regular diet.

image credit by talkyland
image credit by talkyland

Daily Need of Iron:

When you eat food with iron, iron is absorbed into your body mainly through the upper part of your small intestine and keeps your digestive system in a good condition. However, it is important that you should know how much you need iron each day. The amount of iron you need depends on your sex and age. According to research, healthy men and postmenopausal women require about 8 milligrams of iron daily. The following table explains the amount of iron each day, called the recommended dietary allowance (RDA).

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Daily Recommended Dietary Allowance for Iron
Age (Years) Women Men
1 to 3 7 mg 7 mg
4 to 8 10 mg 10 mg
9 to 13 8 mg 8 mg
14 to 18 15 mg 11 mg
19 to 49 18 mg 8 mg
Over 50 8 mg 8 mg
  • Pregnant women need more iron, as they require a daily intake of 27 mg for the development and growth of babies.
  • Infants who are breastfeeding get their iron from their mother. When they are around 4 to 6 months old, they start consuming iron-fortified From 7 to 12 months of age, infants need 11 milligrams of iron each day.
  • Moreover, women older than 50 years who still menstruate, vegetarians, athletes, frequent blood donors need more iron.

How can you get the most iron from food?

The dietary iron is present in its natural form in a variety of foods. Naturally, food contains iron in 2 forms:

  • Heme iron: Derived from hemoglobin, it is found in poultry, meat, and fish, and is easily absorbed by your body.
Meat 1 serving of 100-grams Seafood 1 serving of 100-grams
Beef 2.6 mg Shrimps 0.5 mg
Lamb 1.9 mg Oysters 4.61 mg
Chicken 1.3 mg Tuna 1.02 mg
Turkey 1.47 mg Sardines 2.9 mg
Veal 1 mg Mackerel 1.63 mg
Liverwurst 8.9 mg
Liver 17.9 mg
Ham 1.5 mg
  • Non-heme iron: Eggs, vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds are a great rich source of Non-heme iron which is not absorbed by your body.
Vegetables 1 serving of 100-grams Fruit 1 serving of 100-grams
Spinach 2.71 mg Dates 1 mg
Sweet potatoes 0.6 mg Olives 3.3 mg
Broccoli 0.7 mg Dried Apricots 2.7 mg
Beet Greens 0.8 mg Raisins 1.9 mg
Brussels Sprouts 1.4 mg Watermelon 0.2 mg
Kale 1.47 mg Strawberries 0.4 mg
Peas 1.5 mg Figs 0.3 mg
Chard 1.8 mg Dried Peaches 0.3 mg


Beans 1 serving of 100-grams Nuts & Seeds 1 serving of 100-grams
Tofu 5.4 mg Sesame Seeds 14.55 mg
White Beans 1.9 mg Pumpkin Seeds 8.82 mg
Edamame 2.11 mg Chia Seeds 7.72 mg
Black Beans 8.7 mg Flax Seeds 5.73 mg
Kidney Beans 8.2 mg Cashew Nuts 6.68 mg
Lima Beans 7.51 mg Pine Nuts 5.53 mg
Garbanzo Beans 4.31 mg Almonds 3.71 mg
Lentils 6.51 mg Walnuts 2.91 mg
Adzuki Beans 4.98 mg Pistachio Nuts 3.92 mg
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 You can also improve your body’s absorption of iron by drinking citrus juice or consuming other foods rich in vitamin C with high-iron foods. Vitamin C in citrus juices, like orange juice, grapefruit, kiwi, tomatoes, leafy greens, peppers, and melons can help your body to absorb dietary iron better.

Image credit by iceriks
Image credit by iceriks

Breakfast Foods That Contain Iron

Here are some breakfast foods that you should indulge in every morning. These foods have a rich amount of iron and other minerals that are potent to boost your energy level all the day and to improve your overall health.

List of Iron Fortified Cereals

If you love to eat cereal at breakfast, then you should opt for a fortified version. It will start your day off with a rich dose of iron and keep you energized and active all the day. According to research, many varieties of fortified cereals provide 90 to 100 percent of the daily recommended value of iron, along with other important minerals and vitamins such as B vitamins, zinc, fiber, and calcium, etc.

Cereals are widely available in three different kinds which are as follows:

  1. Cold Cereals

This kind of cereal consists of cornflakes, multigrain cheerios and a range of other cereals that don’t require cooking. One cup of cold cereal offers about 18 mg of iron that requires an adult woman each day.

image credit by ifit4health
image credit by ifit4health
  1. Hot Cereals (Instant)

Brown rice cereals and instant oatmeal come in this group of cereal. They usually contain an excellent source of iron, ranging from 10 to 13 mg in each packet.

Image credit by pinterest
Image credit by pinterest
  1. Cooked Whole Grain
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This group of cereals includes oatmeal, quinoa, oatmeal, and cooked barley. A bowl of cooked cereal provides around 4.9 to 8.1 mg of iron. Here is a list of whole grain cereals with iron their content:

Cereals Iron Content (one serving of 100-grams)
Wheat 3.5 mg
Millet 8 mg
Oatmeal 6 mg
Sorghum 4.2 mg
Quinoa 1.4 mg
Barley 3.6 mg
Cornflakes 28.9 mg
Bran Flakes 62 mg
image credit by momjunction
image credit by momjunction

List of Iron-Enriched Breakfast Foods to Include In Your Diet

  • White Bread

A slice of white bread that has been enriched with iron contains 0.9 mg of iron. Therefore, you can consume bread with healthy spreads or dips.

Image credit by klimg
Image credit by klimg
  • Eggs

Whether you consume eggs scrambled, poached, or made into an omelette, you can never deny the tastiness, versatility, and ease of eggs. They are a rich source of iron, as one serving of 100-grams hen eggs can offer you with 1.75 mg of iron.

image credit by fimes
image credit by fimes
  • Pasta

If you have an iron deficiency, you should include pasta in your breakfast meal. According to research, you can get 2 mg of iron from eating one cup of spaghetti which that is enriched with iron. You can order it from here.

Image credit by netdna
Image credit by netdna
  • White Rice

You can also add boiled white rice to your daily diet to improve your iron deficiency. A cup of long-grain cooking rice contains 2 mg of iron.

Image credit by wpengine
Image credit by wpengine
  • Corn Products

Some corn products, like cornflakes, grits and tortillas have a great content of iron. For instance, one cup of iron-enriched cornmeal offers 7 mg of iron. So, you can incorporate them into your breakfast.

Image credit by news.nster
Image credit by news.nster

Risks and Warning:

It is also important to note that you should consume a moderate amount of iron-containing foods. Because, when iron intake in excessive, your body cannot easily dispose of properly. Excess iron is stored in blood cells and vital organs and has been associated with inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, etc.

Stephaine D. Murillo is a Dubai-based American professional nutritionist who tells the secrets of a healthy and longer life. She is ambitious to find the significant benefits of a nutritional and balanced diet. She guides food lovers about the health benefits and drawbacks of vegetables, fruits and other types of food. She loves to share information about food & health through Papaorder Blog. So, subscribe Papaorder blog to get her health & food tips.

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