Iron when it comes to meat?

I'm a bit confused on this subject so if someone could please help clarify for me. The main types of meat I eat are turkey and ham. I also eat chicken and hotdogs but it is not very often. Turkey, ham, and chicken are all listed on websites for iron rich foods. Yet the ground turkey I buy at the store has only 8% iron for a 4 ounce serving (which most people eat I assume) and the chicken has only 4% iron for a 3 ounce serving I believe. I can get 9% iron from eating 3 oreo cookies. So this really doesn't make any sense to me. Are turkey, ham, and chicken rich in iron or not? Because when you need to get over 100% a day, these don't seem like rich sources. I can get 25% in cereal. I know red meat such as beef has a lot of iron but I don't like beef. The only beef I eat is hotdogs which have 4% (there's more iron in the buns I buy). So if someone could please offer advice, that would be much appreciated. Thank you!


  • RodaRose
    RodaRose Posts: 9,562 Member
    Instead of looking at %, count mg. You need about 18 mg of iron per day.
  • habit365
    habit365 Posts: 174
    I looked into this once, and realized that it is pretty difficult to get 100% of the RDA of iron with an average unfortified diet, even one that includes a generous amount of red meat. My bloodwork is always fine on iron so I figure I must be getting enough.

    Meat has the heme type, which is better absorbed than the non-heme type from plants or fortified foods, so if you are a vegetarian or get much of your iron from vegetarian sources your iron consumption goals will be higher (so the 25% from the fortified cereal would be more like 13%).

    Here's a list if you wanted to expand your food to include more higher iron items.