We're revising Canada's food guide. Participate in the consultation process## (link will open in a new window) to help revise Canada's food guide.


Learn to make healthier food choices by using the Nutrition Facts table on prepackaged foods. Iron is found in the Nutrition Facts table.

What is iron?

Iron is a mineral that is important for your health. Iron plays many different roles in the body:

  • Helps produce red blood cells.
  • Transports oxygen throughout the body.

Did you know?

There are two types of iron: heme and non-heme iron. In the Nutrition Facts table, the nutrition information includes both types of iron.

Where can you find iron?

Iron can be found in:

  • Dried fruits such as apricots, prunes, raisins
  • Eggs
  • Fish and seafood
  • Enriched grain products like breakfast cereal and pasta
  • Legumes such as beans, lentils, peas, soybeans
  • Meat such as beef, lamb, pork, veal
  • Poultry like chicken and turkey
  • Some vegetables like asparagus and spinach

How can you make a healthier choice?

  • Use the % Daily Value (% DV) in the Nutrition Facts table.
  • Remember: 5% DV or less is a little and 15% DV or more is a lot for all nutrients.
  • Iron is a nutrient you may want more of.

Where can you find heme iron?

Heme iron is more easily absorbed by the body than non-heme iron. Heme iron can be found in:

  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Poultry

Where can you find non-heme iron?

Most iron in the diet is non-heme iron. It can be found in:

  • Eggs
  • Fortified grain products like cereal and pasta
  • Dried fruits
  • Legumes such as beans, lentils, peas, soybeans
  • Vegetables

Helpful tips

Your body will absorb more non-heme iron if you eat foods that are high in vitamin C at the same meal. Vitamin C is found in foods such as:

  • Broccoli
  • Citrus fruits and juices such as orange, grapefruit, tangerine
  • Kiwi
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet peppers

Helpful hints at the grocery store

  • Always look at the Nutrition Facts table to choose and compare foods.
  • To get enough iron, choose a variety of foods such as lean meats, fish, poultry, beans and lentils.
  • Eating foods rich in vitamin C may help your body absorb iron from non-heme sources. Put vitamin C-rich foods in your cart. Try citrus fruit, strawberries and sweet peppers.
  • Choose grain products that are fortified with iron.

How is the % DV for iron calculated?

The Daily Value used in nutrition labelling is based on 14 mg of iron for a reference diet.

For example, if a food product has 2 mg of iron, the product would have a % Daily Value for iron of 14%.
(2 mg ÷ 14 mg) × 100 = 14%.

Remember: 5% DV or less is a little and 15% DV or more is a lot for all nutrients.

Date modified: