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How much Iron do you need each day? - Divya Subramanian

Updated: Oct 10, 2020

Iron - deficiency anemia is the most common type of this disease and occurs when one doesn’t have enough iron which causes there to be a lack of red blood cells in the body. Iron makes something called hemoglobin, which is a part of a red blood cell. Hemoglobin delivers oxygen throughout the body and without it, one becomes very fatigued and weak easily. So how much iron do you need a day?

Life Stage Recommended Amount

Birth to 6 months 0.27 mg

Infants 7-12 months 11 mg

Children 1-3 years 7 mg

Children 4-8 years 10mg

Children 9-13 years 8 mg

Teen boys 14-18 years 11 mg

Teen girls 14-18 years 15 mg

Adult men 19-50 years 8 mg

Adult women 19-50 years 18 mg

Adult 51 years and older 8 mg

Pregnant teens 27 mg

Pregnant women 27 mg

Breastfeeding teens 10 mg

Breastfeeding women 9 mg

As shown in the chart, pregnant women and teens need to include much more iron in their diets than the average person, so if you fall into these categories, make sure that there is enough iron in your diet. Without the right amount of oxygen in your body, your organs are at risk of being damaged and your heart will work too hard to compensate for the lack of oxygen.


Fortified breakfast cereals (18 milligrams per serving)

Oysters (8 milligrams per 3-ounce serving)

Canned white beans (8 milligrams per cup)

Dark chocolate (7 milligrams per 3-ounce serving)

Beef liver (5 milligrams per 3-ounce serving)

Spinach (3 milligrams per ½ cup)

Tofu, firm (3 milligrams per ½ cup)

Kidney beans (2 milligrams per ½ cup)

Canned tomatoes (2 milligrams per ½ cup)

Lean beef (2 milligrams for a 3-ounce serving)

Baked potato (2 milligrams for a medium potato

Note :

If you are looking for more ways to include iron in your diet, check out Sophie Umansky’s post from last week that include lot's of healthy and delicious ways to get your daily iron intake!

Sources: - NIH - Office on Women’s Health

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