Foods That Have More Iron Than Meat

Foods That Have More Iron Than Meat

Iron is a vital nutrient, which our body requires for an array of reasons. It keeps our energy level high, transports oxygen to the blood, and also regulates the temperature of your body.

Most people don’t prioritize the need to consume enough iron, which leads to debilitating health issues of blood disorders like anemia, which stems from the lack of iron in the body. Iron in foods is available in two forms, i.e., non-heme and heme. The former is found in plants, and the latter is present in animal items.

The Importance of Iron

If you don’t incorporate iron into your diet, then you run the risk of many health problems. Your energy level will be low; you will have breathing problems and also experience dizziness, headaches, and feel irritable.

When it comes to iron deficiency, pregnant women and children are the ones who suffer the most. Iron acts as the main component for your RBCs (Red Blood Cells). It helps your lungs in transferring oxygen to the rest of your body.

The Required Intake

The RDI or Recommended Daily Intake will depend on the intake of over 18mg every day on an average. But the individual requirements will vary based on the person’s life stage and gender.

For example, men and women who are post-menopausal usually need about 8mg every day. Here, this amount tends to increase to over 18mg every day for menstruating females and about 27mg daily for pregnant females.

Foods Containing More Iron

Now we will count down some of the foods that possess the most amount of iron other than meat. They are as follows:

Chickpeas – It is a form of legume that offers 3.7mg of iron for every cup. Chickpeas provide a plant-based protein that is lean, amounting to 14.6g for every cup. They also go by the name of Garbanzo beans and go incredibly well with pasta meals, salsa, and salads.

You can also make some hummus with it and add some lemon juice to increase the content of Vitamin C. It will allow your body to absorb more of the non-heme type of iron.



Beans – Who doesn’t love beans? They aren’t just a tasty addition to your meals, but they are also good for the heart. Beans will always keep your energy level at an all-time high. Kidney beans and white beans, in particular, contain a high amount of iron, about 4g and 8g, respectively.

The beans contain a vital combination of fiber and protein that makes you feel fuller until you eat your next meal. Plus, they also possess tons of calcium, potassium, and magnesium.



Leafy Vegetables – Some of them consist of spinach, beets, greens, kale, collard, and Swiss chard. They possess an iron amount of over 2.5-6.4mg for every cooked cup. It makes for about 14-36% of the recommended daily intake. For instance, 100g of spinach possesses 1.1x more iron compared to the exact red meat amount.

It also has 2.2x more iron compared to 100g of salmon. Some more veggies that contain a great number of iron consists of broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. They also possess between 1-1.8mg for every cooked cup and RDI of over 6-10%.

Best High Protein Vegetables


Potatoes – Potatoes possess a high concentration of iron, too, usually in their skins. A big 10.5oz of unpeeled potato offers over 3.2mg of iron, which makes up for 18% of the recommended daily intake.

Also, sweet potatoes possess over 2.1mg of iron and an RDI of about 12%. Plus, potatoes also possess a lot of fiber. Here, a single portion will easily amount to over 46% of your regular vitamin c intake, including potassium and B6.



Dark Chocolate – If you are someone with a sweet tooth, then you can benefit a lot by consuming this chocolate. This nutritious treat has a ton of iron, magnesium, and fiber. A single ounce feature about 3.3mg of iron, along with 2g of protein.

However, when you choose to buy one, ensure that it doesn’t come with a lot of sugar. You should also lookout for the % of cacao present in the chocolate. We would recommend 50% of cacao in your dark chocolate.

Dark Chocolate - Foods That Have More Iron Than Meat



Tomato Paste – At 0.5mg for every cup, tomatoes in their raw form possess very little iron. But the iron concentration goes very high whenever the tomato is concentrated or dried. For example, tomato paste till 118ml provides RDI of 22% and 3.9mg of iron. At the same time, 237ml or 1 cup of tomato sauce provides RDI of 11% and 1.9mg of iron.

Sun-dried tomatoes also contain a rich source of iron, giving you 1.3-2.5mg for every half cup and RDI till 14%. Plus, tomatoes also have a high amount of Vitamin C, increasing iron absorption. Lycopene is another plus point.

Tomato Paste


Spinach – Spinach has a lot of iron; no wonder Popeye always had an unbelievable amount of strength. A single cup of this cooked superfood provides about 6mg of iron, which is just amazing. It also contains other crucial nutrients that are good for your body. It contains fiber, magnesium, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Vitamin C.



Sesame Seeds – These seeds contain a lot of iron and also have a nutty flavor. The iron content amounts to 1.31mg for every tablespoon and also has important nutrients like copper, zinc, phosphorus, and Vitamin E. You can eat them by incorporating them into your salad.

Sesame Seeds - Foods That Have More Iron Than Meat

Pumpkin Seeds – This portable snack is extremely delicious. A single ounce of serving will offer over 2.7mg of iron. Pumpkin seeds also feature a rich source of manganese, vitamin K, and zinc. You can consume them by adding them to your salad, yogurt, trail mix, cereal, and muffin recipes.

Pumpkin Seeds


Lentils – This legume is rich in nutrients and is a staple food for many cultures around the world. A half-cup of lentils that are cooked will provide 3mg of iron, which makes for 20% of your regular recommendation. Lentils also feature a ton of potassium, folate, phosphorus, and manganese. Most folks prefer to add them to their soups, smoothies, salads, and curries.

Foods That Have More Iron Than Meat


These are some of the foods that possess a rich source of iron, like meat. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, then it will be super helpful for you.

However, this list caters to every single person out there. You need to start consuming them to keep your body energized, healthy, and balanced.


Jason Shaw is an experienced bodybuilder, gym owner, nutritionist and content creator for many websites. He has competed at a high level and wants to bring that experience in muscle building, fitness and nutrition including supplements to our many readers, whether you're a skinny guy want to build muscle or a seasoned bodybuilder.

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