Iron deficiency is more common than you might realize and can lead to fatigue, low energy, dizziness, among other more severe problems if it persists. Here are some tips to make sure you’re getting enough!

1. Women need more

If you’re a woman, your body needs 18 mg of iron a day, an amount many women just aren’t getting. In fact, depending on the source, 10 to 20 percent of women are iron deficient, and this number jumps much higher in athletes (40 percent) and teenage girls (75 percent).

A second tip for women: Pay extra attention to your iron consumption just before and during your period because you lose iron in your blood during this time. 

2. Spinach isn’t enough

Although we have been told to eat our spinach to get more iron, there is only 2.71 mg of iron in 100 grams of spinach. This means you need to eat close to 700 grams of spinach a day! That’s one giant salad!

3. Animal and plant-based iron aren’t created equal

If you’re plant-based, you actually need closer to 32 mg of iron a day because plant-based (or non-heme) iron isn’t absorbed as well by your body as animal-based (or heme) iron. As a result, it’s often a good idea for those who avoid eating animal products to take an iron supplement (of course, consult with a health professional first).

4. Winner winner chicken liver dinner!

Other than spinach, five foods high in iron include beef, oysters, pumpkin seeds and lentils, and the big winner: chicken livers!

- Beef: 100 grams has 2.4 mg of iron.

- Oysters: 75 grams of cooked oysters have between 3.3 and 3.9 mg of iron

- Pumpkin seeds: One-quarter cup has 4.7 mg of iron

- Lentils: Three-quarter cup of cooked lentils has between 4.1 and 4.9 mg of iron

- Chicken livers: 75 grams of chicken livers have between 6.2 and 9.7 grams of iron.

5. The Vitamin C Boost

Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron a bit more efficiently, so consider taking a vitamin C supplement to make sure you’re maximizing the iron your body is using. 

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