Does Salmon Have Iron? The Health Benefits of Fish

Salmon is a popular fish that is often consumed for its health benefits. It is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

So, does salmon have iron? Yes, salmon is a reasonably good source of iron. In a 100-gram fillet, there is enough iron for a woman to receive approximately 6% of her daily recommended amount of iron.

In this blog post, we will discuss the health benefits of salmon and why it is essential to include this fish in your diet.

About Salmon

Does Salmon Have Iron? The Health Benefits of Fish
Salmon in the freshwater. Credit: canva

What is salmon?

Salmon is a pinkish-orange fish that belongs to the family of Salmonidae. It is found in the cold waters of the North Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Salmon is a popular food fish because it is rich in omega-three fatty acids and protein.

Omega-three fatty acids are beneficial for the heart and brain. They can also help to reduce inflammation in the body. Salmon is also a good source of vitamin D, which is essential for bone health.

Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair. It is also necessary for the production of enzymes and hormones.

Types of salmon

There are three main types of salmon- Atlantic, Pacific, and chinook.

Atlantic salmon is the most common type of salmon found in supermarkets. It is also the most farmed type of salmon.

Pacific salmon is wild-caught and has a higher fat content than Atlantic salmon.

Chinook salmon, also known as king salmon, is the largest type of salmon. It is also the most expensive.

Coho salmon, Sockeye salmon, and Pink salmon are also types of salmon that are commonly consumed.

Fresh and wild salmon is the best type of salmon to purchase.

Does Salmon Have Iron?

salmon sashimi
Salmon sashimi. Credit: canva

Does salmon have high iron content?

Yes, salmon is a reasonably good source of iron, although it is not the highest compared to several other fish.

In 100-gram salmon fillets, there is enough iron for a woman to receive approximately 6% of her daily values recommended amount of iron.

The iron in salmon is heme iron, an iron form that is readily absorbed. Salmon contains greater amounts of iron than sources of non-heme iron like grains and legumes.

Furthermore, because muscle meats such as salmon absorb more iron from non-heme iron meals, they may help you absorb more iron from them.

Salmon is a decent option for a healthy diet due to these reasons, along with the high amount of beneficial fat it contains and the fact that it is low in calories.

The iron content of salmon

The type of salmon that has the highest iron content is Chinook salmon.

Chinook salmon, also known as King salmon or Alaskan salmon, is the largest and most valuable species of Pacific salmon in North America. It is healthiest when caught in the wild.

Here is the list of several types of salmon and their iron level per 100 grams servings:

  • Chum salmon: 0.6 mg
  • Atlantic salmon: 0.3 mg
  • Chinook salmon: 0.9 mg
  • Coho salmon, cooked: 0.4 mg
  • Sockeye salmon: 0.5 mg
  • Pink salmon: 0.5 mg

Source include: USDA

Benefits of iron

Iron is an essential mineral that the body needs to function properly. It is found in every cell in the body and has many essential roles.

  • Iron is necessary for the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood. It is also needed to produce myoglobin, a protein that helps muscle cells store oxygen.
  • Iron is essential for the metabolism of energy, and it plays a role in the immune system.
  • A lack of iron can lead to anemia, a condition where there are not enough red blood cells in the body. Anemia can cause fatigue, weakness, and pale skin. Severe anemia can be life-threatening.
  • Pregnant women and young children are at a higher risk for iron-deficiency anemia because of their increased need for iron. The body needs more iron during periods of growth, such as infancy, childhood, and adolescence.
  • Women of childbearing age are also at a higher risk for iron-deficiency anemia because they lose iron during menstruation.

How much iron do you need per day?

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), here’s how much recommended intake of iron for different groups of people per day:

  • Non-pregnant women aged 19 to 50: 18 milligrams of iron
  • Pregnant Women: 27 mg
  • Women, age 51 and older: 8 mg
  • Men, age 19 and older: 8 mg
  • Infants and children: 7 to 16 mg, depending on age

Around 20% of women, 50% of pregnant women, and 3% of men do not have enough iron in their bodies. In many situations, increasing iron intake is the answer.

You can get iron from food, iron supplements, or a combination of both. Good sources of iron include meat, poultry, fish, beans, lentils, spinach, and fortified foods.

What Fish Is High In Iron?

mahi mahi
Mahi mahi. Credit: canva

Fish with high iron content

Fish is a highly nutritious ingredient, and certain varieties like tuna are exceptionally high in iron.

A 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of canned tuna contains about 1.4 mg of iron, approximately 8% of the DV.

Besides tuna, mackerel, mahi-mahi, and sardines are a few other examples of iron-rich fish that you can also include in your diet.

Salmon vs. tuna

Tuna is the winner in minerals, containing higher levels of magnesium, phosphorus, iron, selenium, choline, and manganese.

However, salmon is richer in calcium, potassium, and copper. Salmon is also a little higher in sodium.

Tuna and salmon have nearly equal amounts of zinc.

List of fish and its iron content

Here is the list of types of fish and their iron content per 100 grams servings:

  • Skipjack tuna: 1.6 mg
  • Yellowfin tuna: 0.9 mg
  • Haddock: 0.17 mg
  • Mackarel: 1.4 mg
  • Sardine: 2.92 mg
  • Halibut: 0.66 mg
  • Sea Bass: 0.88 mg
  • Mahi Mahi: 1.1 mg
  • Snapper: 0.2 mg
  • Tilapia: 0.7 mg
  • Swordfish: 0.5 mg

Source include: USDA

List of Iron-Rich Food

steak
Steak (red meat). Credit: canva

What foods have the most iron?

Here are 12 healthy foods that are high in iron:

Shellfish

Shellfish is especially rich in iron. Oysters, clams, and mussels contain the most iron per serving of any food.

These shellfish are also high in zinc, copper, and selenium.

Spinach

Raw spinach is a leafy green vegetable that is high in iron. It also contains magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

Beef Liver

Beef liver is an excellent source of iron. It is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin B12, and copper.

Red Meat

Red meat is a good source of iron. It is also rich in protein, B vitamins, and zinc.

Cooked Lentils

Lentils are an excellent plant-based source of iron. They are also high in fiber, folate, and manganese.

Tofu

Tofu is an excellent plant-based source of iron. It is also a good source of calcium and magnesium.

Legumes

Legumes are an excellent plant-based source of iron. They are also high in fiber, folate, and potassium.

Chickpeas

Chickpeas are an excellent plant-based source of iron. They are also high in fiber, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are an excellent plant-based source of iron. They are also a good source of magnesium, zinc, and copper.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a grain that is high in iron. It is also a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, and copper.

Turkey

Turkey is a good source of iron. It is also a good protein, B vitamins, and zinc source.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is a good source of iron. It also contains magnesium, copper, and manganese.

Fish

Fish is a good source of iron. It is also a good source of protein, vitamin B12, and selenium.

How Your Body Uses Iron in Food

Absorption of iron 

When you eat foods with iron, your body absorbs the iron into your bloodstream.

The amount of iron absorption from food depends on how much iron is in the food, as well as other factors such as:

  • Your age
  • Your sex
  • Whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • If you have any medical conditions that affect how your body absorbs iron
  • The type of food you eat (for example, meat is a better source of iron than plants)
  • How much iron do you have in your body (for example, people with low levels of iron absorb more iron from food than people with normal levels)
  • How much non-heme iron is in the food (for example, cooked food has more non-heme iron than raw food)
  • If you are taking any medications that affect how your body absorbs iron

Your body uses the iron in food to make hemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body.

Iron is also used to make myoglobin, a protein that helps your muscles store and use oxygen.

Your body needs iron to make enzymes and other proteins involved in many chemical reactions in your body.

If you don’t have enough iron, you can develop iron deficiency anemia. This is a condition where your blood does not have enough hemoglobin, and as a result, your body does not get enough oxygen.

Iron deficiency anemia can cause fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath, and other symptoms. If you think you might have iron deficiency anemia, talk to your doctor.

Heme iron vs. Non-heme iron

There are two types of iron in food: heme iron and non-heme iron.

Heme iron, which makes up 40 percent of the iron in meat, poultry, and fish, is well absorbed. Non-heme iron, 60 percent of the iron in animal tissue, and all the iron in plants (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts) is less well absorbed.

To improve the absorption of non-heme iron, consume foods rich in vitamin C at the same time as foods containing non-heme iron.

Cooking food also increases the amount of non-heme iron that your body can absorb.

FAQs

Does a chicken have iron?

Yes, chicken is a good source of iron. It is also a good protein, B vitamins, and zinc source.

Do eggs have iron?

Yes, eggs are a good source of iron. They are also a good source of protein, vitamin A, and B vitamins.

Does cheese have iron?

Yes, cheese is a good source of iron. It is also a good source of protein, calcium, and phosphorus.