Consuming certain fruits rich in iron, such as goji berries and raisins, could significantly increase your daily iron intake.
Daily Iron needs
Most people need about 8-18 mg of iron daily.
Actually, our iron needs depend on age and sex:
- the kids need about 7-11 mg of iron per day.
- women have higher demands, though. Usually, women require about 18 mg of iron a day. Pregnant women require even more. They require about 27 mg of iron daily. Actually, women adequate amounts of iron, in order, to get pregnant!
- men require less iron. Only 8 mg per day.
- the elderly people require only 8 mg of iron as well.
As a rule of thumb, healthy people should prefer to get iron from food, instead of supplements. There are dietary supplements providing more iron than the upper safe dose!
Common fruits high in iron
The richest fruits in iron are:
- goji berries (6.43 mg)
- raisins (2.59 -3.1 mg)
- prunes (1.12 mg)
- currants (1 mg)
- raspberries (0.76 mg)
- blackberries (0.62 mg)
- lemon (0.6 mg)
- avocado (0.55 mg)
- cherries (0.53 mg)
- strawberries (0.41 mg)
Actually, prune and raspberry juices are the richest beverages in iron!
Additionally, other fruits with significant amounts of iron are:
- apricots (0.39 mg)
- figs (0.37 mg)
- grapes (0.36 mg)
- kiwi (0.31 mg)
- pomegranates (0.3 mg)
- blueberries (0.28 mg)
- banana (0.26 mg)
- peaches (0.25 mg)
- watermelon (0.24 mg)
- cranberries (0.23 mg)
Other more exotic or tropical fruits that contain iron are:
- durian (0.43 mg)
- pineapple (0.29 mg)
- papaya (0.25 mg)
- mango (0.16 mg)
- dragonfruit (0.15 mg)
Goji berries are the richest fruit in iron. Just a tbsp of dried goji berries contains 1.9 mg of iron, or more than 10% of the recommended daily intake! Additionally, goji berries are particularly rich in calcium. They contain more calcium than cow’s milk!
Other common fruits such as apples (0.13 mg), oranges (0.1 mg), grapefruits (0.09 mg), mandarin oranges (0.15 mg), or pears (0.18 mg) don’t have any significant iron content.
Dried fruits contain much higher amounts of iron
Dried fruits contain much more iron than fresh fruits.
Whenever possible, prefer uncooked dried fruits. They contain much more iron than cooked dried fruits. For instance, stewed figs contain only 0.88 mg per 100 grams. But, uncooked dried figs contain 130% more iron!
Additionally, cooked foods may inhibit iron absorption. In a study, scientists found that women absorbed much more iron from raw bananas, compared to cooked (2).
Tips to absorb more iron from fruits
Above all, adequate amounts of vitamin C are vital for iron absorption.
Vegans and people who follow a plant-based diet should get high doses of vitamin C. Vitamin C significantly improves the absorption of non-heme iron. The type of iron which is naturally present in plants.
Fruits and vegetables are the best dietary sources of vitamin C.
Moreover, you should avoid drinking tea, coffee, and red wine when you consume foods rich in iron. These beverages are pretty high in polyphenols, which inhibit iron absorption. Actually, they can reduce iron absorption up to 83%.
Also, you should avoid consuming foods rich in calcium, when you eat foods rich in iron. Calcium inhibits iron absorption as well. Practically, you shouldn’t eat dairy, such as milk or cheese, with foods rich in iron.
Actually, common foods rich in iron are fortified cereals, beans, dark chocolate, lentils, spinach, tofu, beets, chickpeas, tomatoes, potatoes, cashew nuts, green peas, rice, whole bread, pistachio nuts, and broccoli.
Last, but not least, honey might increase iron levels by 20%, although it has negligible amounts of iron!