Iron in Fruits: The 5 Fruits Richest in Iron

While red meat, viscera, and lentils contain significant amounts of iron, you can also find it in fruits such as oranges or pomegranates. This vital micronutrient for our body is the main component of haemoglobin, the protein responsible for delivering oxygen to our tissues.

Our body stores little iron, and a prolonged deficit can lead to iron deficiency anaemia. This condition often occurs in children, women of childbearing age, and the elderly. To prevent and treat this disorder, you should follow an iron-rich diet or, in certain cases, take a supplement like Sundt® liposomal iron.

Key Facts

  • Iron is an essential micronutrient and the main component of haemoglobin, which is responsible for distributing oxygen to tissues. Haem iron is of animal origin, while non-haem iron is obtained from fruit and other plants.
  • The fruits with the most iron are coconut, currant, and pomegranate. Also found in many fruits, vitamin C is essential for better absorption.
  • Certain foods interfere with the assimilation of the iron present in fruits. These include coffee, tea, and foods high in calcium. Iron deficiency is treated with a proper diet, although some nutritional supplementation may be necessary.

Which Fruits Are Richer in Iron?

Iron is found in a wide variety of animal and plant-based foods. The liver and kidneys of chicken, beef, and pork contain high levels of this micronutrient, as do clams, lentils, and pistachios, amongst many others. But what fruits are the richest in iron? (1, 2)

FruitsMilligrams of iron per 100 g
Coconuts2.10 – 3.32 mg
Currants1.53 – 5.20 mg
Blueberries0.74 – 2.20 mg
Peaches0.34 – 6.80 mg
Dates0.90 – 3 mg
Grapes0.09 – 2.30 mg
Mangoes0.35 – 1.50 mg
Chestnuts0.91 – 1.06 mg
Pomegranates0.30 – 1 mg
Strawberries0.41 – 0.8 mg
Custar apples0.22 – 0.6 mg

Coconuts

The coconut is not exactly a fruit, but the seed of the fruit of the coconut tree (Cocos Nucifera). The name of this plant that belongs to the palm family means “the tree that provides all the necessities of life” in Sanskrit. The name is completely correct, as the coconut contains numerous nutrients, including a large amount of iron (2.43 mg/100 g).

You can eat the coconut in pieces or grated, as an ingredient in certain recipes. We also extract coconut milk, which is very nutritious, and coconut oil, typically used in cosmetics and by the food industry. One hundred grams of coconut provides almost 14% of the recommended daily amount of iron for an adult woman (18 mg/day) (3).

Currants

Currants are small, round, red berries with a slightly sweet-sour taste. Three varieties exist, black, red, and white, all of which have significant amounts of minerals and vitamins. They are commonly used to prepare jams, juices; and sweets, although you can also eat them raw. One hundred grams of blackcurrant juice provides up to 5.2 mg of iron (1).

a hand holding a coconut
Coconut, currant, and pomegranate are the fruits with the most iron. (Source: Araque: YTaV4GzC3l0/ Unsplash.com )

Blueberries

Blueberries are small fruits that are low in calories but very rich in nutrients such as vitamins, fibre, and minerals like iron. The iron content varies depending on how you consume this fruit, but it generally ranges from 0.74 to 2.20 mg/100 g. Blueberries have many benefits, including antioxidant properties (4).

Grapes

The fruit of the vine has traditionally been one of the Mediterranean diet’s main components. Its nutrients include sugars such as glucose and fructose, B vitamins, vitamin C, and up to 0.26 mg/100 g of iron. The absorption of this non-haem iron is enhanced by the large amount of vitamin C found in the grapes (10.08 mg/100g).

In addition to fresh grapes, you can also eat raisins, a food that can provide up to 2.59 mg of iron per 100 g. This is almost a quarter of an adult man’s recommended daily allowance. During the drying process of the fruit, however, a lot of the vitamin C that promotes the absorption of iron is lost (3).

image of grapes in purpple back ground
Iron is an essential micronutrient and the main component of haemoglobin, which distributes oxygen to tissues. (Source: Gumeniuk: Y9WTwredge0/ Unsplash.com )

Pomegranates

The red pearls of this delicious fruit are rich in vitamins C, E and the B group, as well as iron (0.3 mg/100 g), potassium, and copper, among other nutrients. Pomegranate is recommended to prevent intestinal disorders, stomach acidity, and anaemia. It contains high levels of copper (70 µg/100 g), a micronutrient that, together with vitamin C, facilitates the assimilation of iron (3).

Other iron-rich fruits

Dried fruits like apricots (2.7mg/100g) or prunes (0.90mg/100g) are particularly rich in iron. Persimmon is also known for its iron content. This delicious fruit contains 2.5 mg per 100 g, in addition to high amounts of vitamin C to promote the absorption of this mineral.

Quince is another fruit with a high iron content, with around 0.64 mg/100 g. Peaches can provide up to 0.40 mg of iron per 100 g and also contain vitamin C, A, and magnesium. One of the most popular fruits in the world, the banana, provides up to 0.4 mg of iron per 100 g, along with magnesium, potassium, and vitamins C and B6 (7).

Image with many peaches
Dried fruits like apricots (2.7mg/100g) or prunes (0.90mg/100g) are particularly rich in iron. (Source: Zeks: P_n9OZOcGrw/ Unsplash.com)

Iron-Rich Fruits: What You Need to Know

Iron is an essential part of haemoglobin, the blood protein that distributes oxygen to tissues. It is also part of myoglobin, which is responsible for storing it. In addition, it plays a vital role in neurological development and the immune system, amongst other key functions. That is why a diet rich in iron is essential. Let’s have a closer look at iron in fruits.

How is the iron contained in fruits?

There are two types of iron: haem iron and non-haem iron. The former is found in food of animal origin, while the latter is present in plants. Haem iron is easily and quickly absorbed, with the body assimilating up to 30%. Non-haem iron, on the other hand, is more difficult to absorb.

Hand holdina smothee
Consume your fruit juice as soon as you squeeze it. (Source: Socialcut: BECRn_dXyaw/ Unsplash.com )

How can I promote the assimilation of iron from fruit?

We must include foods and habits that enhance the absorption of non-haem iron from fruit in our diet. Here are some tips to boost the absorption of iron in fruit and other foods (5).

  • Vitamins A and C. Foods containing vitamins A and C facilitate iron absorption as long as they are consumed at the same time as iron-rich foods.
  • Don’t store your fruits for too long. Store them dry and in protective bags in the fridge.
  • Drink your fruit juice as soon as you squeeze it.
  • Eat fruit with skin whenever possible.

What foods hinder the absorption of iron from fruits?

Calcium makes the absorption of iron difficult. This is why you should avoid eating foods rich in iron and those containing calcium, such as milk, yoghurt or cheese, during the same meal. Wholemeal foods contain phytates, a substance found in cereal husks. It is also considered to be an inhibitor of iron absorption.

You should also avoid eating iron-rich fruits with coffee and tea. Tea contains polyphenols, compounds which interfere with the assimilation of iron but that have powerful antioxidant properties. Cocoa, nuts, and olive oil are also rich in polyphenols. As of today, studies have been unable to determine what causes coffee to disrupt the assimilation of iron (5, 6).

plat with food rich in iron and a ghad taking some of it
Iron is an essential part of haemoglobin, the blood protein that distributes oxygen to tissues. (Source: Lark: aAgD6OBNXF0Q/ Unsplash.com)

How can I supplement the iron in fruits with dietary supplements?

The iron levels in our diet are sometimes insufficient, in which case it may be necessary to take a nutritional supplement. Sundt‘s liposomal iron, for instance, is 100% vegan and free of genetically modified substances. In addition, each capsule contains 35 mg of vitamin C to facilitate its absorption.

To promote the assimilation of both haem and non-haem iron, you can add drops of Sundt‘s liposomal vitamin C to your meals. As well as promoting the absorption of iron, vitamin C stimulates the formation of collagen and strengthens the immune system. Drink it with water or juice before meals to help you absorb iron from meat and plant-based foods.


Our Conclusions

Iron is one of the most abundant trace elements in our body. A lack of it can lead to iron deficiency anaemia, a condition which primarily affects women of childbearing age. If you are prone to anaemia, you should know that many fruits – outlined in our article – are also rich in iron.

Non-haem iron of plant origin is an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans, but you should follow a number of recommendations. Avoid certain foods to ensure that the iron contained in fruit provides maximum bioavailability, for example. Taking Sundt‘s liposomal iron or vitamin C supplements also contributes to combating anaemia.

Did you find our article interesting? We’re sure that you learnt a thing or two about iron in fruits. Help us spread the word by sharing our article on your social media. We’ll also be happy to answer any question you might have, so feel free to leave us a comment below.

(Source of featured image: Boule13: 20004789/ 123rf.com)

References(7)

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28 Nutrients: Iron, Fe (mg) [Internet]. National Institutes of Health; 2015 [cited 10 November 2020].
  2. What's In The Foods You Eat Search Tool: USDA ARS [Internet]. Ars.usda.gov. 2020 [cited 10 November 2020].
  3. Pamplona Roger J. Salud por los alimentos. Madrid: Safeliz; 2013.
  4. Aldaba Márquez J, Herrera Victoria C. Funcionalidad del Arándano Azul [Internet]. Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas; 2016 [cited 10 November 2020].
  5. Cardero Reyes Yusimy, Sarmiento González Rodolfo, Selva Capdesuñer Ana. Importancia del consumo de hierro y vitamina C para la prevención de anemia ferropénica. MEDISAN [Internet]. 2009 dic [citado 2020 Nov 11]; 13(6).
  6. Mennen, L. I., Walker, R., Bennetau-Pelissero, C., & Scalbert, A. (2005). Risks and safety of polyphenol consumption. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 81(1 Suppl), 326S–329S. [cited 11 November 2020].
  7. 200 Fruits Highest in Iron, Fe [Internet]. myfooddata. 2020 [cited 11 November 2020]. A
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USDA National Nutrient Database
USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28 Nutrients: Iron, Fe (mg) [Internet]. National Institutes of Health; 2015 [cited 10 November 2020].
Go to source
Scientific article
What's In The Foods You Eat Search Tool: USDA ARS [Internet]. Ars.usda.gov. 2020 [cited 10 November 2020].
Go to source
Scientific article
Pamplona Roger J. Salud por los alimentos. Madrid: Safeliz; 2013.
Go to source
Scientific article
Aldaba Márquez J, Herrera Victoria C. Funcionalidad del Arándano Azul [Internet]. Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas; 2016 [cited 10 November 2020].
Go to source
Scientific article
Cardero Reyes Yusimy, Sarmiento González Rodolfo, Selva Capdesuñer Ana. Importancia del consumo de hierro y vitamina C para la prevención de anemia ferropénica. MEDISAN [Internet]. 2009 dic [citado 2020 Nov 11]; 13(6).
Go to source
Scientific article
Mennen, L. I., Walker, R., Bennetau-Pelissero, C., & Scalbert, A. (2005). Risks and safety of polyphenol consumption. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 81(1 Suppl), 326S–329S. [cited 11 November 2020].
Go to source
Scientific article
200 Fruits Highest in Iron, Fe [Internet]. myfooddata. 2020 [cited 11 November 2020]. A
Go to source