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Getting Enough Iron

Topic Overview

How much dietary iron is recommended each day?

Recommended daily amounts of iron from food footnote 1

Men

Adult

8 mg

Women

Adult (age 50 and older)

8 mg

Adult (ages 19 to 50)

18 mg

Pregnant

27 mg

Lactating

9 mg to10 mg

Adolescents (ages 9 to 18)

Girls

8 mg to15 mg

Boys

8 mg to11 mg

Children (birth to age 8)

Ages 4 to 8

10 mg

Ages 1 to 3

7 mg

Infants (7 months to 1 year)

11 mg

Infants (birth to 6 months)

0.27 mg

What foods are high in iron?

You can get iron from many foods. Beef and turkey are good sources of iron from meat or animal protein. Beans are good sources of iron from plants. Iron from meat is absorbed by your body more fully than iron from plants. Some foods can decrease the amount of iron that your body will absorb. But meat and vitamin C can help your body absorb more iron from plants. Ask your doctor or registered dietitian about how to be sure you are getting enough iron.

Iron-fortified foods include cereals.

Meat and poultry footnote 2

Serving size

Iron (mg)

Beef (ground)

3 oz

2 mg

Chicken

3 oz

1 mg

Turkey

3 oz

1 mg2 mg

Fruits and vegetables footnote 2

Serving size

Iron (mg)

Beans (cooked or canned)

1 cup

1 mg5 mg

Potato (baked)

1 medium

2 mg

Raisins

1 cup

3 mg

Spinach (cooked)

1 cup

6 mg

Cereals and grains footnote 2

Serving size

Iron (mg)

Cereals (iron-fortified, ready to eat)

1 cup

4 mg18 mg

Oatmeal (instant)

1 cup

4 mg

Rice (white, enriched)

1 cup

3 mg

References

Citations

  1. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine (2011). Dietary reference intakes (DRIs): Recommended dietary allowances and adequate intakes, elements. Available online: http://iom.edu/Activities/Nutrition/SummaryDRIs/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/Nutrition/DRIs/New%20Material/2_%20RDA%20and%20AI%20Values_Vitamin%20and%20Elements.pdf.
  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (2012). Nutrient data laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 25. Available online: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov.

Credits

Current as ofMarch 28, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator

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