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The usual adult Western diet provides 15 - 20 mg of iron per day with around 90% in form of non-haem and 10% as haem iron (Yiannikourides & Latunde-Dada, 2019). Haem iron is part of haemoglobin and myoglobin in red meat, fish or poultry. It exhibits high bioavailibility varying between 13% and 35% and is nearly unaffected by dietary inhibitors. Non-haem iron intake occurs mostly through consumption of vegetables, fruit, cereals and legumes, but is less bioavailable (2 ‑ 20%) compared to haem iron (Abbaspour et al., 2014).

Despite its lower bioavailability, non-haem iron is the most common constituent of dietary iron for humans due to its high abundance (Abbaspour et al., 2014). Examples for iron contents in different food products are shown in the table 575-0.1-01.

Table 575-0.1-01: List of iron contained in different foods. Modified after (Baker & Greer, 2010, Souci & Fachmann, W., Kraut, H., 2008, Lesjak & K S Srai, 2019).

Food

Iron form

Elemental iron [mg/100g]

Chicken liver

haem

7.4

Beef liver

haem

6.9

Beef

haem

1.7

Lamb

haem

1.6

Chicken

haem

1.2

Pork

haem

1.0

Red beans

non-haem

6.7

Soybeans

non-haem

6.6

Oatmeal

non-haem

4.2

Tofu

non-haem

3.7

Spinach

non-haem

3.4

Lentils

non-haem

2.1

Chickpeas

non-haem

3.0

Broccoli

non-haem

0.7

 

Table 575-0.1-01: List of iron contained in different foods. Modified after (Baker & Greer, 2010, Souci & Fachmann, W., Kraut, H., 2008, Lesjak & K S Srai, 2019).

Food

Iron form

Elemental iron [mg/100g]

 

Food

Iron form

Elemental iron [mg/100g]

Chicken liver

haem

7.4

 

Soybeans

non-haem

6.6

Beef liver

haem

6.9

 

Oatmeal

non-haem

4.2

Beef

haem

1.7

 

Tofu

non-haem

3.7

Lamb

haem

1.6

 

Spinach

non-haem

3.4

Chicken

haem

1.2

 

Lentils

non-haem

2.1

Pork

haem

1.0

 

Chickpeas

non-haem

3.0

Red beans

non-haem

6.7

 

Broccoli

non-haem

0.7

 Table 575-0.1-01: List of iron contained in different foods. Modified after (Baker & Greer, 2010, Souci & Fachmann, W., Kraut, H., 2008, Lesjak & K S Srai, 2019).

Iron form: haem

Iron form: non-haem

Food

Elemental iron [mg/100g]

Food

Elemental iron [mg/100g]

Chicken liver

7.4

Red beans

6.7

Beef liver

6.9

Soybeans

6.6

Beef

1.7

Oatmeal

4.2

Lamb

1.6

Tofu

3.7

Chicken

1.2

Spinach

3.4

Pork

1.0

Lentils

2.1

 

 

Chickpeas

3.0

 

 

Broccoli

0.7

 

Dietary iron


The usual adult Western diet provides 15 - 20 mg of iron per day with around 90% in form of non-haem and 10% as haem iron (Yiannikourides & Latunde-Dada, 2019). Haem iron is part of haemoglobin and myoglobin in red meat, fish or poultry. It exhibits high bioavailibility varying between 13% and 35% and is nearly unaffected by dietary inhibitors. Non-haem iron intake occurs mostly through consumption of vegetables, fruit, cereals and legumes, but is less bioavailable (2 ‑ 20%) compared to haem iron (Abbaspour et al., 2014).

Despite its lower bioavailability, non-haem iron is the most common constituent of dietary iron for humans due to its high abundance (Abbaspour et al., 2014). Examples for iron contents in different food products are shown in the table 575-0.1-01.