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Top 10 Iron Rich Foods For Children

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Dried apricotsIron is one of the most important mineral required for the growth and development of children. Children are extremely prone to Iron deficiency, and if they are not given ample of Iron Rich Foods they would suffer from anemia. Apart from being an integral part of blood (for oxygen transport), iron also is also essential for the regulation of cell growth and differentiation, and a part of many proteins and enzymes. The symptoms of iron deficiency in children are fatigue, decrease in performance at school, slow cognitive and social development, difficulty in maintaining body temperature, decreased immunity, increased susceptibility to infection, and glossitis (inflamed tongue). On the other hand, excessive intake can cause ‘iron toxicity’, so keep those iron supplements away from children unless prescribed.


Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)

Find out exactly how much iron does your kids need from the table below, that gives the dietary iron intake prescribed for children (RDA), based on their age and gender.



RDA (mg/day)

Infants 0 to 6 months


Infants 7 to 12 months


Children 1 to 3 years


Children 4 to 8 years


Children 9 to 13 years


Boys 14 to 18 years


Girls 14 to 18 years




Food Sources of Iron

Iron is found in two forms in it’s dietary sources, namely ‘heme’ iron from animal sources and ‘non-heme’ iron from other sources. Absorption of iron in the body is higher from ‘heme’ sources. The heme sources of iron are organ meat, meat, fish, poultry, and seafood. The non-heme sources of iron are oatmeal, soybean, lentils, beans, molasses, tofu, spinach, dried fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, fortified food products, Sand whole grains.


Top 10 Iron Rich Foods


  1. Liver: Liver is the best source of iron, especial duck liver (Foie Gras) provides 30.5mg/100g serving, followed by pork liver, chicken liver, turkey liver, lamb liver, and beef liver. 
  2. Dried herbs: Dried herbs are an unusual source of iron. Tyme is the riches source followed by parsley, spearmint, black pepper, marjoram, cumin Seed, dill, oregano, bay leaf, coriander, basil, turmeric, savory, anise seed, fenugreek seed, tarragon, chervil, and rosemary.
  3. Cocoa Powder and Chocolate: One of the innumerable health benefits of chocolate is its iron content. Cocoa powder and unsweetened baking chocolate contains higher amount of iron compared to sweetened milk chocolates.
  4. Calms, Oysters, and Mussels: Seafood is a rich source of heme iron. Clams provide the most iron with 28mg per 100g serving, followed by oysters (12mg/100g), and mussels (6.72mg/100g).
  5. Roasted pumpkin and Squash Seeds: These seeds are iron rich and provide around 15mg of iron per 100g serving.
  6. Sesame Butter and Seeds: Sesame seeds contain 14.8mg of iron per 100g, and tahini, the butter made from it can provide upto 1.3mg of iron per 100g.
  7. Caviar: Fish eggs are expensive, but are also very good sources of iron (3.3mg of iron per ounce).
  8. Sun Dried Tomatoes: Tomatoes can be salted and sun-dried at home to make these. They can be added to a variety of sandwiches, pastas, and other recipes, and they provide 9.1mg of iron per 100g.
  9. Sunflower seeds: These are rich in many vitamins and minerals, and iron (5.3/100g) is one among them.
  10.  Dried Apricots: Children love apricots; they can also be added to many desserts. 20 dried apricots provide 6.3 mg of iron.


How To Incorporate it in Children’s Diet

If your children consume non vegetarian foods, include as many heme rich food sources as possible in the form of sandwiches, burgers, pate, pizza, wraps, etc. If not, include non heme food sources in their diets, along with plenty of foods rich in Vitamin C, as vitamin C aids in iron absorption.


Note: Children, especially ones under 2 yrs are prone to food intolerance and allergy. Introduce any new food slowly and cautiously. If you are aware of you child's food allergies avoid the any food that contains that particular allergen completely.


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Top 10 Iron Rich Foods For Children