- Tofu (1/2 cup, firm) 5-10 mg.
- Artichoke (1 medium, boiled) 3.9 mg.
- Lentils (1/2 cup, canned) 3.2 mg.
- Beans (1/2 cup, canned) 1.5-2.3 mg.
Honorable mention: Beet greens, chickpeas, pumpkin, and spinach (1/2 cup, canned) all have 1 to 2 milligrams per serving
DV Children: 10 milligrams; Adults: 12-18 milligrams.
These DV’s are based upon foods of medium bioavailability, meaning that around 5 to 10 percent of the dietary iron will actually be absorbed into the body (more or less, depending on the self-regulating system of the body’s total iron needs). The average child needs to get one milligram of iron into the bloodstreamGreens such as spinach, beet greens, chard, legumes, and some vegetables contain substances called inhibitors, such as polyphenols and phytates, that bind iron, thereby lowering its absorption. The figures above represent the amount of iron in the food, but because of the substances, the amount that actually gets into the body may be much less than the amount on paper. The percentage of vegetable iron absorbed can be increased by eating iron enhancers along with a meal, such as meat and vitamin C- containing foods. For practical dietary purposes, this iron-binding problem is only significant of you eat that food alone. Eating foods, such as spinach, along with a variety of other foods, especially those containing vitamin C, compensate for the theoretical problem of iron binding. Yes, grandmother was scientifically correct when she said “eat a variety of foods together at a meal.”