White rice is poor in iron, containing only 0.24 mg per serving. On the other hand, brown and wild rice are good dietary sources of iron, containing up to 0.98 mg per cup.
Health benefits of iron
Iron is necessary for good health. It’s a key component of hemoglobin, which is a protein of red blood cells that transfers oxygen from the lungs to the tissues.
Additionally, iron supports muscle metabolism and healthy connective tissue. Also, it’s crucial for energy metabolism, cellular functioning, physical growth, neurological development, and the synthesis of some hormones, amino acids, and collagen.[1,2]
Although iron is vital for our health, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide! It may lead to serious side effects, such as gastrointestinal disturbances, impaired cognition, weakened immune function, fatigue, and low body temperature. Moreover, iron deficiency during pregnancy increases the risk of premature delivery, and miscarriage.
How much iron do we need a day?
The recommended daily intake of iron is 18 mg for women and 8 mg for men. Women require much higher doses due to menstruation period.
Women older than 51 years require 8 mg of iron, while pregnant women require 27 mg of iron a day.
Many women of reproductive age have a hard time to meet the recommended daily intakes of iron. Hence, women may benefit from taking iron supplements.
You’ll find a wide variety of iron supplements on iHerb.
You shouldn’t get more iron than the maximum safe dose, though.
Always consult your healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement.
Is rice a good dietary source of iron?
The iron content of rice depends on the variety. White rice contains negligible amounts of iron, while brown rice is a good source. Actually, brown rice contains 120% more iron, as compared to white rice.
In fact, cooked white rice contains only 0.14 mg of iron per 100 g. A cup contains about 0.24 mg of iron, or 1.3% of the recommended daily intake.
In contrast, brown rice contains 0.53 mg of iron per 100 g, or 0.82 mg per cup. A serving provides about 5% of the recommended daily intake.
Wild rice is even richer in iron. It contains 0.6 mg per 100 g and 0.98 mg per cup.
What’s the iron content of other rice products?
White rice flour is poor in iron as well. It contains only 0.22 mg per 100 g.
In contrast, brown rice flour contains 1.5 mg per 100 g. In fact, it contains 580% more iron than white rice flour!
Actually, just a slice of brown rice bread contains approximately 0.98 mg of iron!
Last, but not least, rice crackers contain no iron.
If you want to boost your iron intake, you should prefer enriched products.
Other common foods high in iron
Common foods high in iron are meat, poultry, fish, whole cereals (e.g. oatmeal), legumes, beans, as well as certain fruits and vegetables.
Certainly, consuming legumes and beans could significantly increase your daily iron intake. For instance, white beans with 44% DV (Daily Value) per serving, lentils (17% DV), spinach (17%), tofu (17% DV), kidney beans (11%), and chickpeas (11% DV) are among the richest foods in iron!
Moreover, you could boost your daily iron intake by drinking certain fruit juices!