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Iron-Rich Foods for Seniors

author image ShaeLee Chatterton
ShaeLee Chatterton began writing professionally in 2007. She has written articles for "Women's Health" magazine online and edited for LA Splash Magazine. She is a fitness nutrition coach through the National Exercise and Sports Trainer Association and is certified as a personal trainer by the American Council on Exercise. Chatterton earned a Bachelor of Arts in exercise science and communications at Boise State University.
Iron-Rich Foods for Seniors
A bowl of cereal and yogurt. Photo Credit Aneta_Gu/iStock/Getty Images


There is an increase in the number of older adults diagnosed with anemia after the age of 85 and almost one-third of the anemia can be attributed to either only iron deficiency or combined with Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency. Iron deficiency can cause weakness, anemia, fatigue and damage immunity and cognitive function. Antacid interference, low-caloric intake and decreased stomach acid may reduce iron stores in older adults. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the Recommended Dietary Allowance of iron is 8mg daily for those above the age of 70.


Animal liver may be consumed after baking, broiling, frying, boiling or stir-frying and is a rich source of iron. Liver may also be consumed as spreads, for instance, foie gras, chopped liver and liver pâté. Animal liver is also rich in vitamin A, DHA, arachidonic acid and B vitamins and helps in increasing energy levels, brain power and improve general health.


Beef is a good source of iron for seniors. According to the Food Standards Agency, red meat is the best source of iron. Iron is important for transporting oxygen in the blood to all cells and muscles to avoid fatigue. According to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, beef is the third most important source of iron after fortified cereals and grains. You will want to select lean cuts of meat to avoid consuming unnecessary saturated fat.

Iron-Fortified Cereals

Cereals fortified with iron can benefits seniors. Iron-fortified cereals include General Mills’ Total, Multigrain Cheerios, Kellogg’s Special K and Wheaties. According to the FDA, cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals to supply nutrients that may not be obtained in the average diet. Fortified cereal may contain 4 to 18 mg of iron per ½ cup serving, according to the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinic Authority.

Fortified Grains

A whole range of grain products, like whole grains and rice, bread and pasta, is now being manufactured fortified with iron, giving the body the iron that it lacks in the diet.

Other Food Sources

Other iron rich foods for seniors include pork, chicken, lamb, veal, fish, turkey, eggs, nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables and dried beans.

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