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TABLE 3

Foods to Increase Iron Intake and Iron Absorption

Elemental Iron, mg
Commercial baby food,a heme iron  
    Meat  
        Baby food, lamb, junior, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 1.2 
        Baby food, chicken, strained, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 1.0 
        Baby food, lamb, strained, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 0.8 
        Baby food, beef, junior, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 0.7 
        Baby food, beef, strained, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 0.7 
        Baby food, chicken, junior, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 0.7 
        Baby food, pork, strained, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 0.7 
        Baby food, ham, strained, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 0.7 
        Baby food, ham, junior, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 0.7 
        Baby food, turkey, strained, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 0.5 
        Baby food, veal, strained, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 0.5 
Commercial baby food,a nonheme iron  
    Vegetables  
        Baby food, green beans, junior, 1 jar (6 oz) 1.8 
        Baby food, peas, strained, 1 jar (3.4 oz) 0.9 
        Baby food, green beans, strained, 1 jar (4 oz) 0.8 
        Baby food, spinach, creamed, strained, 1 jar (4 oz) 0.7 
        Baby food, sweet potatoes, junior (6 oz) 0.7 
    Cereals  
        Baby food, brown rice cereal, dry, instant, 1 tbsp 1.8 
        Baby food, oatmeal cereal, dry, 1 tbsp 1.6 
        Baby food, rice cereal, dry, 1 tbsp 1.2 
        Baby food, barley cereal, dry, 1 tbsp 1.1 
    Table food, heme iron  
        Clams, canned, drained solids, 3 oz 23.8 
        Chicken liver, cooked, simmered, 3 oz 9.9 
        Oysters, Eastern canned, 3 oz 5.7 
        Beef liver, cooked, braised, 3 oz 5.6 
        Shrimp, cooked moist heat, 3 oz 2.6 
        Beef, composite of trimmed cuts, lean only, all grades, cooked, 3 oz 2.5 
        Sardines, Atlantic, canned in oil, drained solids with bone, 3 oz 2.5 
        Turkey, all classes, dark meat, roasted, 3 oz 2.0 
        Lamb, domestic, composite of trimmed retail cuts, separable lean only, choice, cooked, 3 oz 1.7 
        Fish, tuna, light, canned in water, drained solids, 3 oz 1.3 
        Chicken, broiler or fryer, dark meat, roasted, 3 oz 1.1 
        Turkey, all classes, light meat, roasted, 3 oz 1.1 
        Veal, composite of trimmed cuts, lean only, cooked, 3 oz 1.0 
        Chicken, broiler or fryer, breast, roasted, 3 oz 0.9 
        Pork, composite of trimmed cuts (leg, loin, shoulder), lean only, cooked, 3 oz 0.9 
        Fish, salmon, pink, cooked, 3 oz 0.8 
Table food, nonheme iron  
    Oatmeal, instant, fortified, cooked, 1 cup 14.0 
    Blackstrap molasses,b 2 tbsp 7.4 
    Tofu, raw, regular, ½ cup 6.7 
    Wheat germ, toasted, ½ cup 5.1 
    Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified at different levels, 1 cup ∼4.5 to 18 
    Soybeans, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, ½ cup 4.4 
    Apricots, dehydrated (low-moisture), uncooked, ½ cup 3.8 
    Sunflower seeds, dried, ½ cup 3.7 
    Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, ½ cup 3.3 
    Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained, ½ cup 3.2 
    Chickpeas, mature seeds, cooked, ½ cup 2.4 
    Prunes, dehydrated (low-moisture), uncooked, ½ cup 2.3 
    Lima beans, large, mature seeds, cooked, ½ cup 2.2 
    Navy beans, mature seeds, cooked, ½ cup 2.2 
    Kidney beans, all types, mature seeds, cooked, ½ cup 2.0 
    Molasses, 2 tbsp 1.9 
    Pinto beans, mature seeds, cooked, ½ cup 1.8 
    Raisins, seedless, packed, ½ cup 1.6 
    Prunes, dehydrated (low moisture), stewed, ½ cup 1.6 
    Prune juice, canned, 4 fl oz 1.5 
    Green peas, cooked, boiled, drain, ½ cup 1.2 
    Enriched white rice, long-grain, regular, cooked, ½ cup 1.0 
    Whole egg, cooked (fried or poached), 1 large egg 0.9 
    Enriched spaghetti, cooked, ½ cup 0.9 
    White bread, commercially prepared, 1 slice 0.9 
    Whole-wheat bread, commercially prepared, 1 slice 0.7 
    Spaghetti or macaroni, whole wheat, cooked, ½ cup 0.7 
    Peanut butter, smooth style, 2 tbsp 0.6 
    Brown rice, medium-grain, cooked, ½ cup 0.5 
Elemental Iron, mg
Commercial baby food,a heme iron  
    Meat  
        Baby food, lamb, junior, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 1.2 
        Baby food, chicken, strained, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 1.0 
        Baby food, lamb, strained, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 0.8 
        Baby food, beef, junior, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 0.7 
        Baby food, beef, strained, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 0.7 
        Baby food, chicken, junior, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 0.7 
        Baby food, pork, strained, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 0.7 
        Baby food, ham, strained, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 0.7 
        Baby food, ham, junior, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 0.7 
        Baby food, turkey, strained, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 0.5 
        Baby food, veal, strained, 1 jar (2.5 oz) 0.5 
Commercial baby food,a nonheme iron  
    Vegetables  
        Baby food, green beans, junior, 1 jar (6 oz) 1.8 
        Baby food, peas, strained, 1 jar (3.4 oz) 0.9 
        Baby food, green beans, strained, 1 jar (4 oz) 0.8 
        Baby food, spinach, creamed, strained, 1 jar (4 oz) 0.7 
        Baby food, sweet potatoes, junior (6 oz) 0.7 
    Cereals  
        Baby food, brown rice cereal, dry, instant, 1 tbsp 1.8 
        Baby food, oatmeal cereal, dry, 1 tbsp 1.6 
        Baby food, rice cereal, dry, 1 tbsp 1.2 
        Baby food, barley cereal, dry, 1 tbsp 1.1 
    Table food, heme iron  
        Clams, canned, drained solids, 3 oz 23.8 
        Chicken liver, cooked, simmered, 3 oz 9.9 
        Oysters, Eastern canned, 3 oz 5.7 
        Beef liver, cooked, braised, 3 oz 5.6 
        Shrimp, cooked moist heat, 3 oz 2.6 
        Beef, composite of trimmed cuts, lean only, all grades, cooked, 3 oz 2.5 
        Sardines, Atlantic, canned in oil, drained solids with bone, 3 oz 2.5 
        Turkey, all classes, dark meat, roasted, 3 oz 2.0 
        Lamb, domestic, composite of trimmed retail cuts, separable lean only, choice, cooked, 3 oz 1.7 
        Fish, tuna, light, canned in water, drained solids, 3 oz 1.3 
        Chicken, broiler or fryer, dark meat, roasted, 3 oz 1.1 
        Turkey, all classes, light meat, roasted, 3 oz 1.1 
        Veal, composite of trimmed cuts, lean only, cooked, 3 oz 1.0 
        Chicken, broiler or fryer, breast, roasted, 3 oz 0.9 
        Pork, composite of trimmed cuts (leg, loin, shoulder), lean only, cooked, 3 oz 0.9 
        Fish, salmon, pink, cooked, 3 oz 0.8 
Table food, nonheme iron  
    Oatmeal, instant, fortified, cooked, 1 cup 14.0 
    Blackstrap molasses,b 2 tbsp 7.4 
    Tofu, raw, regular, ½ cup 6.7 
    Wheat germ, toasted, ½ cup 5.1 
    Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified at different levels, 1 cup ∼4.5 to 18 
    Soybeans, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, ½ cup 4.4 
    Apricots, dehydrated (low-moisture), uncooked, ½ cup 3.8 
    Sunflower seeds, dried, ½ cup 3.7 
    Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, ½ cup 3.3 
    Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained, ½ cup 3.2 
    Chickpeas, mature seeds, cooked, ½ cup 2.4 
    Prunes, dehydrated (low-moisture), uncooked, ½ cup 2.3 
    Lima beans, large, mature seeds, cooked, ½ cup 2.2 
    Navy beans, mature seeds, cooked, ½ cup 2.2 
    Kidney beans, all types, mature seeds, cooked, ½ cup 2.0 
    Molasses, 2 tbsp 1.9 
    Pinto beans, mature seeds, cooked, ½ cup 1.8 
    Raisins, seedless, packed, ½ cup 1.6 
    Prunes, dehydrated (low moisture), stewed, ½ cup 1.6 
    Prune juice, canned, 4 fl oz 1.5 
    Green peas, cooked, boiled, drain, ½ cup 1.2 
    Enriched white rice, long-grain, regular, cooked, ½ cup 1.0 
    Whole egg, cooked (fried or poached), 1 large egg 0.9 
    Enriched spaghetti, cooked, ½ cup 0.9 
    White bread, commercially prepared, 1 slice 0.9 
    Whole-wheat bread, commercially prepared, 1 slice 0.7 
    Spaghetti or macaroni, whole wheat, cooked, ½ cup 0.7 
    Peanut butter, smooth style, 2 tbsp 0.6 
    Brown rice, medium-grain, cooked, ½ cup 0.5 

Note that all figures are rounded.

a

Baby food values are generally based on generic jar, not branded jar; 3 oz of table-food meat = 85 g; a 2.5-oz jar of baby food = 71 g (an infant would not be expected to eat 3 oz [approximately the size of a deck of cards] of pureed table meat at a meal).

b

Source of iron value was obtained from a manufacturer of this type of molasses.

Source of iron values in foods: US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20: Nutrient Data Laboratory home page. Available at: www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl.

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