Iron is a mineral. It is an essential component of hemoglobin, the red blood pigment that transports oxygen in the body. Iron is also a component of myoglobin, a protein that stores oxygen in the muscles. In addition, iron is needed for the functioning of the immune system and cognitive development in children.

There are two forms in which iron is present in food: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is found in animal products and is more easily absorbed by the body than non-heme iron. Non-heme iron is found in plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables. On this page, we introduce iron-rich fruits, which you can also see in descending order in the table.

Higher Iron Requirements even in Fitness

If you regularly engage in sports, you may have a higher iron requirement than inactive individuals. During exercise, there can be an increased production of red blood cells, which are needed for the transport of oxygen to the muscles and organs. Iron deficiency can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, and reduced performance. So make sure you consume enough iron-rich foods, including fruits.

In addition, the following groups of people usually have higher iron requirements: pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, women of childbearing age, and people with heavy bleeding (e.g., due to injuries or menstruation).

Fruits with High Iron Content

Fruit is not the best plant source of iron, as its iron content is lower compared to other foods. However, there are some types of fruit that can contribute to iron intake. In particular, dried fruits have a high presence of iron according to the table. The following list shows iron-rich fruit and dried fruits:

  • Bananas contain iron, potassium, and fiber according to the table.
  • Apricots and peaches contain iron and vitamin C, which enhances the body's iron absorption.
  • Dates are rich in iron and fiber, making them a perfect healthy snack.
  • Figs contain iron and fiber, and they are a good choice as a snack or ingredient in cereals or salads.
  • Raisins are dried grapes and a good source of iron. They can be eaten as a snack or used as an ingredient in baked goods and cereals.
  • Blackcurrants contain iron and vitamin C, and they are a good choice as a snack or ingredient in cereals and smoothies.
  • Raspberries are another type of fruit that contains iron according to the table. They are also rich in fiber and antioxidants.
  • Kiwis have a higher presence of iron, as well as vitamin C and fiber. One kiwi can contain up to 3% of the recommended daily intake of iron.
  • Pineapple contains iron and bromelain, an anti-inflammatory compound.

Keep in mind that dried fruit contains a lot of fructose. Consuming too much fructose can have negative effects on your health.

In addition, relying solely on iron-rich fruits will not be sufficient to meet your daily iron needs. Therefore, also incorporate other iron-rich foods listed in our tables along with their respective iron contents:

Get More Iron From Fruits

There are some tips on how your body can absorb more iron. This list reveals three tricks on how it can extract more iron from iron-rich fruits:

  • Combine iron-rich foods with vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruits, strawberries, or kiwis. Vitamin C helps increase iron absorption. For example, you could prepare a fruit salad with iron-rich fruits like apricots, peaches, or figs along with vitamin C-rich fruits.
  • Avoid consuming iron-rich fruits together with caffeinated beverages like tea or coffee. Caffeine can inhibit iron absorption.
  • The amino acids methionine and cysteine can also contribute to improving iron absorption. Vegan foods rich in methionine include nuts and seeds. Cysteine is found in similar foods as methionine but can also be synthesized by the body from methionine. It is advisable to combine iron-rich fruits with methionine and cysteine.

Iron-Rich Fruits in Your Diet

Here are some tips on how to incorporate iron-rich fruits into your vegan diet:

  • Combine iron-rich fruits with other iron-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, beans, lentils, or whole grains.
  • Eat fruits as a snack or as a side dish to your meals. For example, you can have a fruit salad for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.
  • Add iron-rich fruits like bananas, apples, or berries to your cereal. This not only increases your iron intake but also boosts the nutritional value of your breakfast.
  • Create smoothies or juices using iron-rich fruits and combine them with other iron-rich ingredients like spinach or kale.
  • Use iron-rich fruits in recipes such as smoothie bowls or fruit pancakes.
  • Dried fruits like apricots or figs have a particularly high iron content. They are a convenient and energizing snack option, especially when you're on the go.
  • Use iron-rich fruits as a natural and healthy sugar alternative in baking recipes or as a sweet ingredient in sauces or dressings.