Foods Containing Iron & Zinc

Updated February 21, 2017

Iron and zinc are two of the most important minerals for the functioning of our bodies. Iron helps stop the growth of toxic free radicals in our cells and zinc helps with a wide variety of body functions, including sexual organ growth, and has roles in our metabolism, RNA and DNA. Getting iron and zinc in your diet is important to living a healthy life.

Red Meat

Red meat is one of the richest sources of iron and zinc. Red meat is high in protein and protein itself is high in iron and zinc, so one of the quickest ways to get a good dose of iron and zinc is through red meat. However, red meat should always be eaten sparingly since it is very high in cholesterol when compared with other iron and zinc providers, and is also very high in fat. Red meat should take up a minority of your diet when compared to fruits, vegetables, grains and beans.

Fish and Other Seafoods

Fish are also high in protein which makes them high in iron and zinc. However, fish is much lower in cholesterol than red meat, and fish tends to have less fat than red meat as well. Eating fish also helps you avoid goitre. A few fish that are high in zinc and iron include oysters, crabs, lobsters and flounders. Unfortunately, due to pollution, fish should be eaten sparingly as well. Many fish have traces of mercury that can be left in the body.

Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes are another good source for iron and zinc. Unlike red meat and zinc, beans and legumes have almost no fat or cholesterol and have many essential vitamins and minerals. As with any plant, there may be residue of weed killers and bug repellents. All beans and legumes should be washed before eating. A few beans and legumes that are high in iron and zinc include chickpeas, baked beans, kidney beans and peas.


Vegetables should form the major food group in your diet. They have the least fat, the least cholesterol and offer the most vitamins and minerals per serving. Many vegetables are high in iron and zinc. As mentioned before, vegetables may have chemical residue left on them. Wash every vegetable thoroughly before cooking. A few vegetables with high levels of iron and zinc include boiled spinach, asparagus and boiled broccoli.

Grains, Bran and Wheat

Carbohydrates are one of the most important energy suppliers in our body. Many of the carbohydrates you eat should consist of grain, bran or wheat. Grain, bran and wheat are high in iron and zinc. The products that are made with these can often be high in calories, so choose your products carefully. A few products that contain high levels of iron and zinc include brown rice, raisin bran, oatmeal, instant oatmeal, any fortified cereal and any wheat breads.

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About the Author

Eric Benac began writing professionally in 2001. After working as an editor at Alpena Community College in Michigan and receiving his Associate of Journalism, he received a Bachelor of Science in English and a Master of Arts in writing from Northern Michigan University in Marquette.