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Iron is a mineral that is found within our food supply both naturally occurring and as an additive. This mineral is also found in many supplements sold in stores. There are two forms of iron, heme and non-heme. The nonheme form in only found in plant-based and iron-fortified foods. In foods such as meat, poultry, and seafood both heme and nonheme form of iron is consumed. Both nonheme iron and heme iron are vital for our health as it has many important body regulatory functions.

Functions of iron

Iron has many important functions in the body. One of the most vital function of iron is the role it plays in hemoglobin synthesis within our body. Hemoglobin is a a protein within red blood cells that carries oxygen to tissues. This protein is also respobile for removing carbon dioxide throughout the body and transporting it to the lung for disposal from your body. In addition to this function, iron also contributes to physical growth, physical growth, neurological development, cellular functioning, and synthesis of some hormones.

Recommended Intake of Iron

The daily recommend intake (DRI) has been established by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies. Below is a chart that suggests the DRIs based off age, gender, and pregnancy/lactation factor. This list should only be used for nonvegetarians. People in the population that consume a vegetarian diet will want to consume 1.8 times more than the listed value. This is because heme iron which is found only in meat products has higher bioavailability then nonheme forms.

Foods that Contain Iron

In these food sources note the differences between the food that contain heme iron and the foods that contain nonheme iron. This list should be used to give a general idea of the food products that contain iron. Be sure to always examine the food labels to ensure the daily value you are obtaining per serving.

Nonheme Sources

· Fortified grains /cereals

· Almonds, walnuts, cashews, pine nuts, hazelnuts, and pumpkin seeds

· Green peas, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, and beans

· Broccoli, string beans, leafy greens, potatoes, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and more

Heme Sources

· Chicken

· Fishes such as sardines, maceral, haddock, tuna, clams oysters, shrimp and scallops

· Meats such as beef liver, ground beef, steak, sausage, pork, turkey legs and more

For any additional questions you have about iron be sure to contact your Forever Fitness Staff!

Resources: National Institutes of Health. Iron. Updated March 30, 2021. Retrieved on May 10, 2021.


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