Nutrient Food Sources



The mineral iron plays a vital role in the transport of oxygen in blood.  It is also important for energy production and metabolism.  An iron deficiency leads to anaemia, low energy and restless leg syndrome.  Iron deficiency can occur in menstruating women, pregnancy and in the elderly (especially as hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach is important for iron absorption and with age levels of this acid decrease). 

There are two forms of dietary iron: haem iron (from animal sources), which is easily absorbed and non-haem iron (from plant sources), which is less easily absorbed.  Non-haem iron absorption is easily affected by other dietary factors.  Vitamin C enhances iron absorption, whereas tannin in tea, phytate and calcium decrease the absorption.  Where bodily iron levels are low, non-haem iron is even more difficult to absorb. 

Food Sources of iron Amount (mg per 100g)
Anchovies 4.1
Almonds 3
Apricots, dried 3.4
Beef 3
Beetroot 1
Blackeye beans 1.9
Blackstrap molasses 16.1
Brazil nuts 2.5
Broccoli (raw) 1.7
Cashew nuts 6.2
Chickpeas 2.1
Chilli powder 14.3
Cinnamon, ground 38.1
Cockles 28
Curry powder 58.3
Duck (roasted) 2.7
Figs, dried 4.2
Garlic (raw) 1.9
Green peas (raw) 2.8
Hazel nuts 3.2
Kale 2
Kelp (sea vegetable) 100
Kidney, lamb 11
Kidney beans 2.5
Lentils 3.5
Liver, calf 12.2
Liver, chicken 11
Millet 6.8
Mint, fresh 9.5
Paprika 23.6
Parsley, fresh 7.7
Pepper, black 11.2
Pine nuts 6.5
Prunes, dried 2.6
Pumpkin seeds 11
Quinoa n/a
Raisins 3.8
Rosemary, dried 29.3
Sage 28
Sardines, canned 2.9
Sesame seeds 10.4
Soybeans 3
Spinach 1.6
Spring onions (raw) 1.9
Sultanas 2.2
Sunflower seeds 6.4
Thyme, dried, ground 123.6
Tofu 3.5
Venison 5.1
Watercress 2.2
Wheat bran 12.9
Wheat germ 8.5
Winkles 10


(n/a = figures not yet available)

Source:  McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods (6th Edition)