What Fish Are High In Iron?

Top 10 Iron-Rich Fish List (What Fish Are High In Iron?)

Fish is one of the most nutritious and flavorful foods out there. It contains an abundance of nutrients, can be prepared in various ways, and fits a wide variety of diets.

There are many types of fish available, all containing different nutrients, so you can add the kinds you want to your diet to up your intake of specific nutrients.

For example, a lot of fish types are high in iron. So, if you’re looking to consume more high-iron foods, fish is a great way to do that.

Iron is an incredibly important nutrient that aids in various bodily processes, so it’s important to consume enough of it. If you enjoy eating fish, there’s some good news for you as many fish varieties are high in this mineral.

Fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, and salmon are especially high in iron, but leaner kinds like cod and trout also pack a good dose of this micronutrient.

The most iron-rich fish

1. Tuna

Tuna is very high in iron, both in fresh and canned form. A one-cup serving of canned tuna contains around 2.0 mg of iron, and one fillet of tuna cooked by using dry heat contains around 1.6 mg of iron.

This is a very good amount, especially considering that the type of iron in tuna is heme iron, which is more easily absorbed.

Tuna also comes with other health benefits. This type of fish is low in fat but high in protein, making it a wonderful addition to any diet aimed at keeping a healthy weight or even losing some.

It’s also rich in many omega-3 fatty acids, particularly those important for eye and brain health.

2. Haddock

One haddock fillet contains around 2.0 mg of iron. This type of fish is very low in calories, low in fat, but incredibly high in protein.

In fact, a single serving provides you with nearly 70% of your daily need for protein. Aside from these nutrients and high iron content, haddock is also low in mercury, which means that it comes with fewer risks than other fish types and seafood.

Haddock is also very high in selenium – a mineral that acts as a powerful antioxidant, helping flush out harmful free radicals out of your body and prevent oxidative stress and damage to your cells.

Most fish are rich in this mineral, but haddock ranks as the best source for selenium. 

3. Mackerel

Mackerel shares many characteristics and nutritional values with tuna, so these two are often compared.

Mackerel is a big, oily fish with a mild taste and is most often consumed canned but can also be bought in fillets.

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A one-cup serving of canned mackerel contains 3.9 mg of iron, while a dry-heat cooked fillet has 1.4 mg.

This value makes canned mackerel very high in iron, but remember that the healthiest way to consume fish is when it’s fresh.

This type of fish is also rich in vitamin B12, providing you with nearly three times as much of this nutrient as you need per day.

This vitamin helps keep your blood and nerve cells healthy and helps make DNA. Mackerel contains other nutrients that contribute to the good absorption of this micronutrient, so you might get more of it by eating this delicious fish.

4. Sardines

One can of sardines in oil contains approximately 2.7 mg of iron. They can be found fresh, but they go bad very quickly, so they’re usually found canned.

They also don’t contain high levels of mercury, so they might be safer to consume, especially if you enjoy fish or are pregnant.

Sardines are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease, inflammation, and blood clots.

Eating sardines may also protect those who had a heart attack or other cardiovascular condition in the past.

This type of fish is high in fat, so the fatty acids are very diverse, providing you with various health benefits.

5. Salmon

Half a fillet of dry-heat cooked wild salmon contains 1.6 mg of iron. To get this amount of iron and other essential nutrients, make sure to choose wild instead of farmed salmon.

In fact, farmed salmon contains half the iron that wild salmon does, among other nutrients. Salmon is also one of the most popular kinds of fish available and can be cooked in various ways and with many ingredients.

Salmon is especially high in heart-healthy fats, which may help prevent cardiovascular issues, lower your risk of heart attacks, and prevent blood clots.

These healthy fatty acids may also lower ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, so it’s a good idea to enjoy this type of fish a couple of times a week.

6. Trout

One trout fillet contains around 1.2 mg of iron. Trout fillets are rather small, so you’re most likely to eat more and get more iron.

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This type of fish is low in calories and fat but high in protein, so it will help you stay full after eating for a longer period of time.

A diet high in protein-rich foods is also good for keeping your muscles healthy and preventing weakness and fatigue.

Trout is also a great source of manganese – a mineral with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Moreover, along with other minerals and vitamins, manganese may help regulate blood sugar levels, which is beneficial for people struggling with type 2 diabetes. 

7. Bass

One fillet of bass provides you with 1.2 mg of iron. Just like with trout, though, the fillets are very small, so most people eat more, taking in additional iron.

Bass is a little less popular fish, but it has impressive health benefits. Because of that, it might be a good idea to look into adding it to your diet.

8. Carp

A single fillet of carp has 2.7 mg of iron. Aside from this impressive amount of iron, carp is very nutritionally balanced, containing many vitamins and minerals like selenium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6.

Additionally, carp is very high in phosphorus, which is a mineral that keeps your bones and teeth healthy while helping your muscles contract.

Phosphorus is particularly beneficial after working out for quicker muscle recovery.

9. Halibut

Half of a halibut fillet contains 1.7 mg of iron. This is a good amount considering the caloric profile of this type of fish. In addition, halibut is high in various B vitamins, especially niacin.

This vitamin improves blood fat levels, reduces blood pressure, and even boosts brain function, making it a particularly important nutrient to load upon.

Halibut also makes for a great source of magnesium. This mineral, along with niacin, helps relax your muscles and prevent cramps.

Many people take supplements containing these two nutrients to ensure a good night’s sleep as well, so they have multiple benefits for your physical health and wellbeing.

10. Herring

One fillet of herring contains 2.0 mg of iron. Herring is a fatty fish, which is beneficial for iron absorption.

Studies show that taking in iron from fatty fish helps it absorb better and make it more efficient at keeping your red blood cells healthy.

As a result, even though it’s caloric, it’s a good idea to eat herring from time to time.

Additionally, this fatty fish contains a huge dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which help balance out the levels of omega-6 fatty acids in your blood.

This can help with cholesterol levels regulation and the prevention of various cardiovascular conditions, including heart attacks and high blood pressure.

All fish types are incredibly nutritious, but some are especially rich in certain nutrients, such as iron. The kinds of fish listed above can help you load up on this important mineral and avoid several health conditions.

What’s more, fish is very easy to prepare and can be served with a wide variety of other ingredients, such as healthy veggies and whole grains.

What is iron good for?

Iron is one of the most important minerals everyone should have in their diet. It’s mostly found in red blood cells as it plays a vital role in forming them and keeping them healthy.

Because of that, adding iron-rich fish to your diet can help prevent anemia and even treat its symptoms, such as fatigue, weakness, irregular heartbeats, and shortness of breath.

The iron found in fish is heme iron, which is easier for your body to absorb than non-heme iron found in plants.

While both types of iron are beneficial for your health, it’s important to consume a good dose of heme iron to ensure proper absorption of this mineral.

Because of that, adding fish like salmon or tuna to your diet can help increase your iron intake more than taking iron in from plant-based foods.

According to a certain study, there is a connection between poor sleep quality and sleep issues, such as restless sleep, sleep apnea, insomnia, and iron intake.

For example, consuming more iron-rich foods can help you sleep better, which, in turn, reduces fatigue and weakness throughout the day.

Heme iron in fish may also aid in keeping your energy levels up, so it’s a good idea to include it in a healthy, balanced diet.

RDAs for Iron
AgeMaleFemalePregnancyLactation
0-6 months0.27 mg0.27 mg
7-12 months11 mg11 mg
1-3 years7 mg7 mg
4-8 years10 mg10 mg
9-13 years8 mg8 mg
14-18 years11 mg15 mg27 mg10 mg
19-50 years8 mg18 mg27 mg9 mg
51+ years8 mg8 mg
RDAs for nonvegetarians. The RDAs for vegetarians are 1.8 times higher than for people who eat meat.