Getting Enough Iron


What is the recommended daily amount of iron?

The recommended daily amount of iron varies. Most people need the following amount of iron each day.footnote 1

Recommended daily amount of iron from food



Amount of daily iron


Ages 19 and older

Ages 19 to 50 (who menstruate)

8 mg.

18 mg.


Ages 14 to 50

27 mg.


Ages 14 to 18

Ages 19 to 50

10 mg.

9 mg.


Ages 9 to 13

Ages 14 to 18

Ages 14 to 18 (who menstruate)

8 mg.

11 mg.

15 mg.


Ages 1 to 3

Ages 4 to 8

7 mg.

10 mg.


Birth to 6 months

7 to 12 months

0.27 mg.

11 mg.

What foods are high in iron?

The foods you eat contain nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. Iron is a nutrient. Your body needs the right amount to stay healthy and work as it should. You can use the list below to help you make choices about which foods to eat.

Here are some foods that contain iron. They have 1 to 2 milligrams of iron per serving.


  • Figs (dried), 5 figs


  • Asparagus (canned), 6 spears
  • Collard, beet, Swiss chard, or turnip greens, 1 cup
  • Dried peas, cooked, ½ cup
  • Seaweed, spirulina (dried), ¼ cup
  • Spinach, (cooked) ½ cup or (raw) 1 cup


  • Cereals, fortified with iron, 1 cup
  • Grits (instant, cooked), fortified with iron, ½ cup

Meats and other protein foods

  • Beans (kidney, lima, navy, white), canned or cooked, ½ cup
  • Beef or lamb, 3 oz
  • Chicken giblets, 3 oz
  • Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), ½ cup
  • Liver of beef, lamb, or pork, 3 oz
  • Oysters (cooked), 3 oz
  • Sardines (canned), 3 oz
  • Soybeans (boiled), ½ cup
  • Tofu (firm), ½ cup

Work with your doctor to find out how much of this nutrient you need. Depending on your health, you may need more or less of it in your diet.



  1. Food and Nutrition Board, et al. (2011). Dietary reference intakes (DRIs): Recommended dietary allowances and adequate intakes, elements. National Institutes of Health. Accessed October 29, 2019.


Current as of: September 20, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.