If you love your nuts and are wondering if you can rake in some vital nutrients as well, you thought right! Typically, while foods like meat, seafood, and leafy greens rank high on the iron quotient, nuts can also contribute to meeting your daily quota of this mineral. Here’s a look at how much iron your favorite munchies chalk up.
Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells which transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of your body. Iron also supports metabolism and is needed for normal cellular functions, growth and development, and the synthesis of connectives tissues and certain hormones.
Recommended Dietary Intake Of Iron Is 8 Mg–18 Mg
The recommended intake of iron for adult men aged 50 and under is 8 mg, while for women that age it is 18 mg. If you’re pregnant, you need to increase intake to 27 mg. All adults, male and female, over 50 need to have just 8 mg of iron a day. If you are vegetarian, you need to have 1.8 times the recommended value to get enough of this mineral. That’s because meat contains a form of iron known as heme iron which is more readily used by your body than the non-heme iron found in plant foods.
In the list of nuts given below, the daily value is pegged at 18 mg. The percentage of the daily value (% DV) met by a typical serving size is also given so you can easily figure out how to meet 100% of your requirement.1
1. Cashew Nuts
1 oz of cashew nuts: 1.89 mg iron (10.5% DV)
Cashew nuts are at the top of the nutty charts when it comes to iron content – an ounce meets 10.5% DV with 1.89 mg of iron.2 These mild, crumbly treats make a great snack. Chow down a handful just like that or toast them to bring out that moreish flavor. Cashews also work a treat in salads, stir-fries, and curries.
2. Pine Nuts
1 oz of pine nuts: 1.57 mg iron (8.7% DV)
With their buttery sweet flavor, pine nuts can make a besotted fan out of any nut lover. Technically seeds, they work well in salads or your breakfast granola. Toast them to up the crunch factor and boost their flavor. They’ll give you a decent hit of iron too, with an ounce accounting for 1.57 mg of the mineral and meeting 8.7% of your DV.3 Blitz them up into a creamy pesto, add a handful to a fragrant pilaf, or just sprinkle some on your cookie batter. These tiny little fellows won’t disappoint!
1 oz of hazelnuts: 1 mg iron (5.5% DV)
Also known as filberts or cobnuts, hazelnuts make a great snack whether you have them raw or roasted. Of course, roasting makes them slightly more mellow and sweeter. You can get in 1 mg of iron with an ounce of these nutritious nuts – that’s 5.5% of your DV.4 Chop some up for your morning muesli or add to crumbles and cakes. Or how about a heavenly hazelnut sauce with garlic and parsley to go with your pasta or chicken dish? Hazelnut flour can even be used for baking when you want that extra oomph.
1 oz of peanuts: 1.30 mg iron (7.2% DV)
Peanuts aren’t actually nuts but legumes. But they’re nutritionally quite similar to nuts and they’re just as good for your heart as other nuts so they’ve sort of earned their spot here.5 An ounce of peanuts can deliver 7.2% of your DV with 1.3 mg of the mineral.6 Roast them for a crunchy, filling snack or add a generous handful to salads or stir-fries for texture.
1 oz of pistachios: 1.11 mg iron (6.1% DV)
The exotic pistachios are nut royalty and can happily take the spotlight in finger foods, warm salads, or exotic pilafs. An ounce of these rich nuts will account for 6.1% of your DV with 1.11 mg of iron.7 A handful of roasted pistachios can sort out your mid-morning hunger pangs. Or sprinkle them on a bowl of ice cream for some tantalizing crunch. Baked goodies get along superbly well with pistachios too, so roll out some biscotti, pound cakes, or tarts with this crowd pleaser.
1 oz of almonds: 1.05 mg iron (5.8% DV)
Adding a few slivers of sweet, fragrant almonds can take any recipe up a notch or two. They work well in chicken and fish dishes, so how about some creamy almond chicken or almond-crusted baked fish with a touch of smoked paprika? Almonds also make a great addition to stews, soups, and curries. That’s not all – versatile almonds work a treat as milk, butter, and even almond meal for baking. And, of course, these delicious nuts also deliver a shot of iron. An ounce of almonds can give you 1.05 mg of iron. That’s 5.8% of your DV for this critical mineral right there.8
1 oz of walnuts: 0.82 mg iron (4.5% DV)
Walnuts have a slightly bitter flavor and taste great whether you have them raw or roasted. Pies, cakes, biscuits all do well with a touch of crumbly walnut flavor. An ounce of walnuts will give you 0.82 mg of iron, helping you meet 4.5% of your DV.9
1 oz of butternuts: 1.14 mg iron (6.3% DV)
Butternuts, walnut’s close cousin, will give you a slightly higher dose of iron. An ounce will deliver 1.14 mg of iron, which is 6.3% of your DV.10 Butternuts blend seamlessly into puddings, breads, and sauces in traditional American recipes, so feel free to experiment!
9. Macadamia Nuts
1 oz of macadamia nuts: 1.05 mg iron (5.8% DV)
Buttery, rich, and smooth, macadamia nuts also have iron power to offer you. An ounce of these fine nuts will give you 5.8% of your DV with 1.05 mg of iron.11 Work them into biscuit and cakes or add them to your trail mix. And did we mention they pair really well with coconut and white chocolate? Whip up some yummy macaroons and gooey tarts to make the most of this flavor combo.
1 oz of pecans: 0.72 mg iron (4% DV)
Delicious, versatile pecans are a crowd pleaser raw or roasted. This buttery powerhouse of nutrients works well in sweet as well as savory dishes. So whether it’s a deadly southern style pecan pie, some candied pecans with a sprinkle of cinnamon, or a pecan, wild rice, and squash salad, this is one nut that rakes up the brownie points. An ounce of pecans delivers 0.72 mg of iron, which is 4% of your DV.12
11. Brazil Nuts
1 oz of brazil nuts: 0.69 mg iron (3.8% DV)
Wholesome Brazil nuts also have some iron to offer. An ounce of Brazil nuts will help you meet 3.8% of your DV for iron by delivering 0.69 mg of the mineral. Munch on 4–5 nuts when the hunger pang strikes. You could even take it up a notch by roasting the nuts with some salt and butter or spices that you enjoy. They also pair beautifully with chocolate, so the next time you make some chocolate brownies, you know what to add! Just be careful not to go overboard with Brazil nuts because they are high in selenium and having too much may result in side effects related to excess selenium intake you’d want to avoid.
Seed Power, Too!
Apart from the nuts on this list, some seeds do really well when it comes to their iron quotient. Toss these nutritious seeds into your trail mix along with the nuts or sprinkle them on your cereal, salads, or stir-fries. Here’s how they fare on iron per ounce. Even if you don’t have an ounce of these, a generous smattering should do the trick in adding to your iron intake.
- Pumpkin and squash seeds give you 2.50 mg of iron (13.8% DV).13
- Sesame seeds give you 1.8 mg of iron (10% DV).14
- Flaxseeds give you 1.62 mg of iron (9% DV).15
- Sunflower seeds give you 1.48 mg of iron (8.2% DV).16