Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.
Getting Enough Iron
How much dietary iron is recommended each day?
Adult (age 50 and older)
Adult (ages 19 to 50)
9 mg to10 mg
Adolescents (ages 9 to 18)
8 mg to15 mg
8 mg to11 mg
Children (birth to age 8)
Ages 4 to 8
Ages 1 to 3
Infants (7 months to 1 year)
Infants (birth to 6 months)
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.
1 mg–2 mg
Beans (cooked or canned)
1 mg–5 mg
Cereals (iron-fortified, ready to eat)
4 mg–18 mg
Rice (white, enriched)
- 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.
- 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.
Current as ofNovember 7, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Current as of: November 7, 2018
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.