Iron in Meat Chart

If you are told you have iron deficiency, don’t worry; you are not alone! Iron deficiency is common in developed and developing countries, especially in children and women.

Iron usage in the body is crucial for children’s physical and cognitive development; it also affects the performance and stamina of adults. Hence a diet rich in iron foods along with supplements is the best way to cover the daily iron requirement. 

Nutritionists suggest that people who are anemic should consume more meat to quickly cover up the iron deficiency. However, various forms of heart have different iron content, so it may take time to decide which is the best source of iron.

There are also vegan iron sources for people who avoid meat. In this article we will be discussing iron content in the different types of meat, iron in meat charts, and the forms of meat that have the highest and lowest iron content.

iron in meat chart

Iron Rich Meat

To be a good source of iron, the food group should contain at least 10% of the nutrition’s daily value (DV). Food groups with high iron content will have at least 20% of the daily recommended iron. Meat is a dietary source rich in iron, easily absorbed by the body.

Meat contains haem iron absorbed two to three times more efficiently than non-haem iron. The redder the meat, the higher its iron content; hence look for color in the food to find foods that increase iron. Let’s have a look at meat sources rich in iron.

Organ Meat

Animal organs meat has the highest iron perfect for people who are anaemic. A small serving of organ meat, such as cooked liver, contains 11 mg of iron. A small serving of pan-fried liver contains 5.2mg of iron.


Another meat high in iron is beef, as its small serving can have between 10% to 24% of the daily recommended iron intake, depending on its cut and preparation. 


Poultry is also a good source of iron, especially if you prefer dark meat over light meat. Turkey, duck, and chicken are the most widely consumed forms of poultry worldwide. Turkey has the most iron content, and chicken has the lowest iron content of the three poultry types. 

Lamb And Seafood

Lamb has iron content similar to beef, as a small portion of cooked lamb contains 2.3mg of iron which is 13% of the daily recommended iron intake. Seafood is a food source rich in iron, as it can provide up to 40% DV.

Seafood includes fish, oysters, shrimp, clams, octopus, mussels, squid, and more. The iron content in fish depends on the type of fish and its cut. However, even a small serving of most seafood fulfils 10% of DV.

Iron content In Meat Chart

MeatServing SizeIron Content
Pan fried chicken liver3 oz11 mg
Pan fried beef liver3 oz5.3 mg
Beef patty3 oz2.2 mg
Roasted dark turkey3 oz2 mg
Duck3 oz2.3 mg
Roasted dark chicken3 oz1.1 mg
Lamb3 oz2.3 mg
Oysters3.5 oz4.5 mg
Shrimp3 oz2-3 mg
Crabs3 oz2-3 mg
Anchovies3 oz3.9 mg
Sardines3 oz2 mg
Tuna3.5 oz1 mg
Herring3 oz0.95 mg
Mackerel3.5 oz1.6 mg

Iron In Fish Vs Beef

Beef and fish are full of nutrients and iron and offer tons of benefits for their consumption. Beef and fish contain proteins vital for body functions, growth, and development. However, it would be a healthy choice to cut back on beef and increase beef in your diet.

Beef has higher iron content than fish; despite this, various health organizations suggest cutting back on beef consumption. Beef is high in saturated fats, which is unsuitable for heart health and may result in several heart diseases. 

On the other hand, fish has lower iron content than beef but has high good fat content and Omega 3, which is excellent for heart health.

The American Heart Association recommends a 3.5 ounce serving of fish every week. Substituting beef with fish as a source of iron may be better for health. 

Also read: Sodium Rich Foods list

Iron in Seafood

Most seafood has the advantage of offering vital nutrients such as iron in a low-calorie package. Some forms of seafood that are low in iron can be paired with vegetables to increase for better nutrient absorption and benefits. 

Mollusks such as Clams, Oysters, Octopus, Mussels, and cuttlefish have a higher iron content and can satisfy 75% to 150% of a man’s and a third of a woman’s daily iron requirement. Oysters have the highest iron in seafood, providing 4.6mg per 3.5 ounces. 

Fishes are also good sources of iron, such as Tuna and Mackerel, with 1 and 1.6mg of iron for every 3.5oz, respectively. Herring and Pike are also among the larger fin fishes with high iron content. Anchovies are the fish with the highest iron content of 3.9mg for a 3oz serving. Sardines are not famous but are rich in iron, with nearly 2 mg of iron for every 30z servings.


Is beef or chicken higher in iron?

Beef is a good source of iron compared to chicken and other food types. 3 oz of sirloin steak fulfils the half-daily iron requirement for men.
Chicken has an iron content lower than beef but varies according to the type of meat you consume.
If you are consuming chicken liver, it has a high iron content similar to beef. When we talk about poultry, dark meat has high iron compared to light meat but is not equivalent to beef.

What meats contain the least iron?

Chicken has the lowest iron content of other food types. A 3oz serving of chicken offers only 1.1mg of iron. Salmon is meat with low iron content, as a 3oz serving provides 0.68mg of iron.

Also read: Meat Cooking Temperature Guide


A wise man once said you are what you eat; the food we eat affects our health and our body and soul. Hence, it’s essential to choose the food we eat carefully. 

People who carefully design their meals to have a balanced diet full of iron, vitamins, and other essential nutrients tend to live longer and happier lives.

I am sure by now you are convinced of the various advantages of consuming an iron-rich diet. Make sure to consult iron in the meat chart when deciding what to eat.