Milk is widely used because it is high in nutrients and protein. But is cow's milk also high in iron? What about goat milk and non-dairy alternatives?
Table of Contents
- Is milk high in iron?
- How much iron is in milk?
- Nutritional Facts: Milk, 1% fat (1 cup/244 g)
- Can you get enough iron from drinking milk?
- Is skimmed milk high in iron?
- Is non-fat milk high in iron?
- Is buttermilk high in iron?
- Is chocolate milk high in iron?
- Is goat milk high in iron?
- Can you take in too much iron from milk?
- Does milk lower your iron?
- What drinks are high in iron?
- Recommended intakes for iron
- Frequently Asked Questions
Is milk high in iron?
Milk isn't high in iron and, in fact, has almost no iron at all. You can, however, grab fortified milk with added vitamins and minerals, including iron, to make milk a good source of iron.
However, you need to know that milk, because it's rich in calcium, can hinder iron absorption, but that shouldn't be a risk factor for healthy individuals.
How much iron is in milk?
Cow's milk doesn't have any iron and is, therefore, a bad way to boost your iron intake. There are, however, many types of fortified milk on the market that can help you up your iron intake.
But, in general, milk is a less-than-ideal way of getting iron from foods and drinks and can even harm your iron intake. More on that below.
Nutritional Facts: Milk, 1% fat (1 cup/244 g)
- 103 Calories
- Total Fat 2.4 g
- Saturated Fat 1.5 g
- Sodium 107.4 mg
- Total Carbohydrate 12 g
- Dietary fiber 0 g
- Sugar 13 g
- Potassium 366 mg 10% DV
- Protein 8 g
- Vitamin C 0% DV
- Calcium 30% DV
- Iron 0% DV
- Vitamin B6 5% DV
- Vitamin B12 18% DV
- Magnesium 6% DV
The recommended daily intake of iron for adult women is 18 mg. For adult men, that's only 8 mg. See more in the chart below.
Can you get enough iron from drinking milk?
Unfortunately, milk is a very poor source of iron. Because of that, you can’t get enough of this mineral just from drinking this dairy beverage.
On the other hand, you can increase your intake of iron by consuming milk with iron-rich foods. For example, fortified breakfast cereals, oatmeal, and whole-wheat bread are great sources of iron.
So, if you eat or drink milk along with these foods, you’re more likely to get a significant amount of iron that you wouldn’t get from just drinking milk.
Is skimmed milk high in iron?
A one-cup serving of skimmed milk contains about 0.1 mg of iron, which is still a very low amount that doesn’t help you reach your daily need for this mineral.
Luckily, skimmed milk is a great choice for people who want to consume more protein but avoid taking in too much fat.
This kind of milk contains just 4% of your daily need for fat but about 16% of your daily need for protein in a one-cup serving.
Skimmed milk also contains vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin, calcium, and many other nutrients.
In fact, some brands of skim milk are also fortified with protein and other vitamins, further increasing your intake of nutrients.
Is non-fat milk high in iron?
One cup of non-fat milk contains 0.1 mg of iron, so it’s still not a good source of this mineral. The only improved benefit of non-fat milk as compared to whole milk is that it contains very little fat, so it’s lower in calories.
It’s also rich in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, and vitamin B12—just like all other types of milk.
But unfortunately, non-fat milk won’t help you increase your intake of iron.
Is buttermilk high in iron?
One cup of buttermilk provides you with 0.1 mg of iron, the same amount as regular milk. So, it’s also not a great source of this mineral.
On the bright side, buttermilk is much lower in calories than regular milk, and it also provides you with more probiotics, which are important for the health of your digestive system.
Buttermilk also contains protein, riboflavin, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Is chocolate milk high in iron?
One cup of chocolate milk contains about 1.2 mg of iron, or around 7% of your daily need for this mineral. This is slightly more than regular, plain milk because of the presence of cocoa, which is high in iron.
But remember that this only applies to homemade chocolate milk and hot chocolate.
Store-bought or commercially sold chocolate milk is much lower in iron. So, it doesn’t make for a great choice for upping your intake of this mineral.
In addition, chocolate milk made with cocoa contains a lot of vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B12, calcium, selenium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
It’s also a good source of protein and fiber, so it helps keep your digestive system healthy.
So, drinking hot chocolate can be beneficial for your health—as long as you do so in moderation.
Is goat milk high in iron?
Like cow's milk, goat's milk is low in iron. A cup of goat milk has only 0.1 mg of iron. That's barely 1% of the RDA for men and even less than 1% for women.
However, goat's milk is high in calcium, vitamin D, potassium, magnesium, and some other vitamins and minerals.
Can you take in too much iron from milk?
Unless you're drinking heavy amounts of fortified milk, it's impossible to take in too much iron from regular milk. As we already know, milk has barely any iron and is a great source of nutrients other than iron.
Does milk lower your iron?
Milk and other dairy products can inhibit iron absorption. That's because calcium, casein, and whey block iron receptors. Because of that, both heme iron (from animals) and non-heme iron (from plants) are affected.
If you're taking iron supplements, don't take them with milk. It's better to drink orange juice because of its high vitamin C content, which helps absorb iron.
What drinks are high in iron?
We already learned that milk stinks when it comes to iron, but there are other drinks out there that have higher iron content. Let's see what some of them are.
Spinach is a good source of iron. Take a bunch of spinach and make a glass of spinach juice or smoothie. That will net you as much as 9.2 mg of iron in one serving.
Apart from iron, spinach juice is also an excellent source of vitamins A and K, as well as folate.
Spinach is also high in vitamin C, which actually helps in iron absorption, so your body is more likely to take in most of the iron in spinach juice.
To spice the juice up a bit, add some fruit, such as apples, oranges, or raspberries. These will not only improve the taste but also help you load up on even more nutrients.
The most common ingredients contain celery, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, wheatgrass, cucumber, parsley, and mint.
Depending on the vegetables you use to make the green juice, it can have from 2 mg to even 8 mg of iron per glass.
You can also add a couple of sweet fruits to make the juice less bitter and more sweet, which is a good idea to add even more vitamins and minerals to your drink. You might also want to add some lemon juice to your green juice to increase its vitamin C content, thus improving iron absorption.
Recommended intakes for iron
Your recommended daily intake of iron depends on your age and sex. It was developed by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies.
|RDAs for Iron|
|0-6 months||0.27 mg||0.27 mg|
|7-12 months||11 mg||11 mg|
|1-3 years||7 mg||7 mg|
|4-8 years||10 mg||10 mg|
|9-13 years||8 mg||8 mg|
|14-18 years||11 mg||15 mg||27 mg||10 mg|
|19-50 years||8 mg||18 mg||27 mg||9 mg|
|51+ years||8 mg||8 mg|
Frequently Asked Questions
Whole milk is low in iron and isn't a good source of this important mineral. It can further inhibit iron absorption due to high calcium and protein content.
Nonfat, just like whole fat milk, isn't rich in iron unless you choose a fortified version. Fortified nonfat milk is readily available and has high amounts of vitamin D, B12, iron, and other nutrients.
A cup of Ensure milk is full of iron. In fact, it has 4.5 mg of iron which is 25% of RDA for women and 56% for men.
Powdered milk has more iron than regular liquid milk. A cup that contains 128 g of powdered milk has 0.5 mg of iron or almost 3% of RDA for women and 6% for men.
A cup of Oatly isn't high in iron as it only contains 0.3 mg of iron. There are far better non-dairy alternatives with more iron in them.
Silk original almond milk has 0.5 mg of iron per one-cup serving. That's almost 3% of RDA for women and 6% for men and isn't high but is more than what regular milk has.
Milk is a rather poor choice for people looking to increase their intake of iron, as it doesn’t contain too much of it in a single serving. Plus, most types of milk are low in this mineral unless they contain some iron-rich additives.
On the bright side, milk is still nutrient-dense and high in protein. So, even though it doesn’t contain too much iron, it’s still a great way to load up on many other nutrients.