Printable Iron Rich Food List

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Cutting calories could lead to iron deficiency, which can cause fatigue. Here is a printable list of iron rich foods to keep in your diet.

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Our bodies need oxygen, and use blood to transfer oxygen to our tissues. Iron is needed to make the proteins that are in blood cells. Iron is needed to make those proteins that help transfer oxygen throughout our body. Since we need oxygen to survive, you could say iron is pretty important.

Iron also has other benefits to our body, including making enzymes used in metabolism and needed for a healthy immune system.

Our bodies have a storage of iron, so you won’t see symptoms of low iron immediately. But over time if there is consistent low iron intake, it can lead to iron deficiency. Iron deficiency can cause symptoms such as fatigue, paleness, and dizziness. 

If you are eating a low calorie diet it is important to include foods rich in iron. You’re eating less food but still need the same amount of iron. 


When trying to lose weight it is important to fuel your body, both in overall calories but also providing the needed vitamins and minerals.

There are multiple factors that play into weight loss. Low iron can potentially play a role. If someone is iron deficient, they may fatigue quicker, which can make it harder to exercise. Weight loss may also improve our bodies absorption of iron.

For menstruating women, the risk of low iron is higher since their need is more than double the amount of men.

The recommended amount of iron for women 19-50 is 18 mg per day. For women over 50 and men over 19 the recommended amount is 8 g per day. 

It has been shown that eating enough iron can help women of menstruating age with low ferritin (a lab associated with iron status) can help decrease their fatigue.2

You can get iron in your diet or with supplements. For most, even with mildly low iron eating a diet rich in iron should be enough to get the iron you need. 

Tips for how to get more iron in your diet

There are two different types of iron, heme and nonheme iron. 

  • Heme iron
    • Found in animal sources 
    • Your body can absorb more if it
    • A protein in egg yolk causes iron in yolk to not be absorbed as well
  • Non heme 
    • Found in plant foods (grains, beans, vegetables and fruit)
    • Your body absorbs less
    • Absorption is affected by other foods eaten at the same time
    • Vitamin C and meat help increase non heme absorption
    • Phytates (in some beans, nuts, grains) and polyphenols (in some grains, beans, tea, coffee and wine) and calcium lower absorption of iron when eating at the same time3

This might seem overwhelming with all the different ways iron can be absorbed. For those with low iron or those following a vegetarian diet these tips can be helpful to increase their iron. The important thing to remember is that if you are eating a balanced diet and including foods rich in iron you should get enough iron. 

Food Sources Rich in Iron

Print the Iron Food PDF here

Iron is essential for good health. Based on your needs you may need to pay attention to include iron rich foods. Eating a well balanced diet can help you get enough iron even while trying to lose weight.

Iron rich food list and benefits

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