Iron is an essential nutrient that performs many vital functions in your body. Get your daily dose of iron (and yumminess) from fruits like mulberries, Zante currants, and dried apricots. Tomatoes, pumpkins, prunes, and coconut are also good sources of iron. As are refreshing watermelons, yummy peaches, and sweet dates.
Your body counts on a steady stream of iron for many vital functions. And while lean meat, seafood, and leafy greens are typically counted as good sources of iron, fruits can also pitch in to help you meet your daily quota. Here’s a round-up of the top 10 fruits for a tasty, refreshing iron boost!
Recommended Dietary Intake Of Iron Is 8 Mg–18 Mg But Vegetarians Need More
The recommended intake of iron for adult men aged 50 and under is 8 mg while for women that age it is 18 mg. If you’re pregnant, you need to increase intake to 27 mg. All adults, male and female, over 50 need to have just 8 mg of iron a day. If you are a vegetarian, you need to have 1.8 times the recommended value to get enough of this mineral. That’s because meat contains a form of iron known as heme iron which is more readily used by your body than the non-heme iron found in plant foods.
Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells which transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of your body. Iron also supports metabolism and is needed for normal cellular functions, growth, and development, as well as the synthesis of connectives tissues and certain hormones.
In the list of fruits that follow, the daily value (DV) is pegged at 18 mg of iron. Which means if you’re an adult male or a woman over 50, this DV already accommodates for the vegetarian diet. If you’re pregnant or a female adult under 50, you should consider higher intake of the foods basis your diet. The percentage of your daily value for a given portion size has been indicated so you can easily work out how to meet 100% of your requirement.
1 cup of mulberries: 2.59 mg iron (14.3% DV)
Mulberries have a strong sweet-sour flavor and lend themselves well to jellies, jams, and puddings. One cup of these berries can give you 2.59 mg or 14.3% of your daily value. You could gobble them up plain or savor them fresh with a little cream and sugar.
2. Zante Currants And Raisins
- 1/2 cup of Zante currants: 2.34 mg iron (13% DV)
- 1/2 cup of raisins: 1.36 mg iron (7.5% DV)
Zante currants are a small, dark dried grape with an intense flavor. And they can give you a good dose of iron – 2.34 mg or 13% of your DV in half a cup. Use them to make jams or sorbets and add them to summer puddings. Regular raisins can also pitch in, with half a cup giving you 1.36 mg iron – that’s 7.5% DV. Raisins make a great addition to a trail mix and work well in rice puddings or stuffed pancakes.
1 cup of coconut meat: 1.94 mg iron (11% DV)
Is it a nut? A fruit? It’s coconut! A cup of slippery sweet and juicy coconut meat from this drupe has 1.94 mg of iron (11% DV) Enjoy it in Asian style desserts or try adding to salads for a twist. It even lends itself well to curries. If that’s too experimental for you, then consider this – an ounce of unsweetened desiccated coconut has 0.94 mg (5.2% DV). So you can add it to your baking or whip up a batch of lamingtons. If you want a simpler way to use coconuts, just take the cream and whip up a quick Thai curry with vegetables. A cup of coconut cream has 5.47 mg of iron (30.4%DV) so it will go a long way.
4. Dried Apricots
1/2 cup of apricots: 1.73 mg iron (9.6% DV)
Dried apricots have a strong sweet-sour taste and work well in tagines, compôtes, and stews. You can also sprinkle some on your muesli and add them to bread, stuffing, and salads. Half a cup of dried apricots will give you 1.73 mg of iron, meeting 9.6% DV.
1 cup of cooked red tomatoes: 1.63 mg iron (9% DV)
Yes, they are technically fruits! While raw tomatoes do not have not too much iron, one cup of plain, cooked tomatoes can give you 1.63 mg of iron, meeting 9% DV. Even better, try tomato paste and sundried tomatoes which concentrate the nutrition so you end up getting much more out of a smaller serving. A cup of tomato puree, for instance, has 4.45 mg of iron – that’s nearly 25% DV of iron. Use the puree as a base for your pasta sauce, stews, or curries. If you enjoy sundried tomatoes, half a cup of them has 2.5 mg of iron (14% DV).
1 cup of cooked pumpkin: 1.40 mg iron (7.7% DV)
Pumpkins are a great source of nutrition and fiber. One cup of cooked pumpkin will give you 1.40 mg of iron, which is 7.7% of your daily value. Add it to soups and stews for a creamy flavor. And let’s not forget everybody’s favorite sweet treat – pumpkin pie! Just one slice of it can get you 1.97 mg of iron – that’s about 10.9% DV.
5 large olives: 0.75 mg iron (4% DV)
Widely found across the Mediterranean, olives can lift the flavor of any salad. And not to forget how they well they work in a creamy pasta or as a pizza topping. You can also combine them with anchovies and capers to make a yummy tapenade. Or chop them up and add to pasta and salads. Five large olives will give you .75 mg of iron – that’s 4% of your DV.
- 1/2 cup of pitted prunes (87 grams) : 0.81 mg iron (4.5% DV)
- 1 cup of prune juice (256 grams) : 3.02 mg iron (16.7% DV)
Prunes or dried plums are also a great source of iron. Half a cup of pitted prunes will give you 0.81 mg of iron, which is 4.5% of your daily value. Use them in both sweet and savory dishes for a deep, rich flavor. Think stews, compotes, and spiced fruit cakes, muesli, and bread. And if you want to get in an extra dose of iron, try some prune juice. One cup of juice adds up to 3.02 mg or 16.7% DV iron.
5 pitted dates: 1.1 mg iron (6% DV)
These rich, decadent ripe fruit can also add to your iron intake. One pitted date can give you 0.22 mg. Eat about 5 and you get 1.1 mg of iron (6% DV). They make a great snack and can even be used to sweeten your cereal. They also make a great addition to biscuits, cakes, and other desserts. And they pair well with cheese too!
1 wedge of watermelon: 0.69 mg iron (3.8% DV)
What’s summer without delicious watermelons? Add chunks to your fruit salad or toss them with mint and feta to make a refreshing tummy filler. A wedge of yummy watermelon will provide you with 0.69 mg of iron, meeting 3.8% of your DV. A handy tip to make sure you’re getting ripe watermelon: tap on them and you should hear a hollow sound. And if you buy cut slices, pick ones with black rather than white seeds.
1 peach (medium size): 0.38 mg iron (2.1% DV)
Bite into a fresh, juicy peach on a summer day and everything’s just peachy! These fruits come loaded with nutrients, including iron. One medium sized peach will give you 0.38 mg or 2.1% DV of iron. Caramelize peaches on a griddle or poach them in wine. You can also puree them for a summery cocktail or use them in sorbets. They work well in crumbles, tarts, and pies as well. Avoid storing these fruits in the fridge as this can make their flesh mealy or floury.