Does Beef Broth Have Iron? Exploring the Nutritional Value of This Pantry Staple

Beef broth is a versatile kitchen staple used to enhance the flavor of soups, stews gravies, rice dishes and more. But besides imparting savory umami taste, does beef broth also provide important nutrients like iron?

As it turns out, the iron content of beef broth can vary substantially depending on factors like preparation method and ingredients used. Some types of beef broth offer a decent amount of iron, while others contain only minimal amounts.

Read on to learn more about the nutritional profile of beef broth, how much iron it typically provides, and how to get more iron in your diet if you don’t eat much red meat.

What is Beef Broth?

Beef broth is a liquid made by simmering beef bones, meat, and vegetables in water This extracts flavor, nutrients, and collagen from the ingredients

There are a few main types of beef broth:

  • Homemade: Simmering bones, meat, veggies makes a nutrient-rich broth.

  • Canned: Convenient ready-to-use broth made from beef extract. Lower in nutrients.

  • Boxed: Shelf-stable concentrated broth diluted with water. Nutrition varies by brand.

  • Bone broth: Simmered for 24+ hours to extract more collagen and nutrients from bones.

Preparation method, ingredients used, and cooking time affect the nutritional value of the finished beef broth.

Iron Content in Different Types of Beef Broth

The iron content of beef broth can range quite a bit. Here are the typical amounts for different varieties:

  • Homemade beef broth: 1 cup provides approximately 1-3mg iron

  • Canned beef broth: 1 cup contains about 0.5-1mg iron

  • Boxed beef broth: 1 cup offers around 0.5-2mg iron

  • Beef bone broth: 1 cup has about 1-5mg iron

As you can see, homemade beef broth made by simmering meat, bones, and vegetables tends to be highest in iron. Beef bone broth is also a good source due to its extended cooking time.

Canned and boxed varieties tend to contain less iron since they are made from beef extract rather than simmered beef. But check the labels, as some packaged broths are enriched with iron.

Is the Iron in Beef Broth Heme or Non-Heme?

There are two forms of iron found naturally in food:

  • Heme iron: Found only in meat and seafood. Easier for the body to absorb.

  • Non-heme iron: Found in plant foods and fortified items. Not absorbed as easily.

The iron in beef broth comes primarily from the beef ingredients used to make it. Therefore, beef broth contains mostly heme iron, which offers higher bioavailability than plant-based non-heme iron sources.

This makes the iron in beef broth more effectively utilized by the body compared to the iron found in plant foods. Even small amounts of heme iron can make a difference.

Health Benefits of Iron in Beef Broth

Iron is an essential mineral that serves many important functions in the body:

  • Transports oxygen in the blood to cells and tissues

  • Supports energy levels and metabolism

  • Needed to make hemoglobin, myoglobin, and some enzymes

  • Helps regulate cell growth and differentiation

  • Plays a role in proper immune function

  • Supports cognitive abilities like learning and memory

Consuming enough bioavailable iron, like the heme iron in beef broth, ensures sufficient iron levels for these critical processes. Iron deficiency can lead to unwanted symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, and frequent illness.

Tips for Getting More Iron in Your Diet

If you don’t consume red meat, getting sufficient iron in your diet requires some strategic planning. Here are some tips:

  • Cook with iron-rich beef broth rather than water for dishes like rice, quinoa, oatmeal, etc.

  • Add vitamin C foods (citrus, tomatoes, bell peppers) to meals to enhance iron absorption.

  • Eat iron-fortified cereals and grains like bread, pasta, rice. Check labels.

  • Enjoy iron-rich veggies like spinach, swiss chard, collard greens, broccoli.

  • Eat legumes like lentils, chickpeas, beans, and tofu.

  • Include iron-rich fruits like raisins, prunes, dried apricots.

  • Consider taking an iron supplement if diet alone can’t meet needs.

Focusing on bioavailable heme iron sources like beef broth while also eating plenty of non-heme iron foods can help maintain optimal iron status.

Does Beef Broth Have Benefits Beyond Iron?

In addition to providing iron, beef broth delivers other vitamins, minerals, and beneficial compounds:

  • Collagen – Supports skin, joint, and gut health. Broths simmered for hours have more.

  • Glutamine – Amino acid important for intestinal health and immunity.

  • Chondroitin sulfate – Supports joint flexibility and mobility.

  • Hyaluronic acid – Boosts skin hydration and may ease joint pain.

  • Electrolytes – Minerals like sodium, potassium, magnesium.

  • Vitamins – Small amounts of B vitamins, vitamin C.

  • Antioxidants – Compounds that reduce oxidative stress in the body.

So while not excessively high in any one nutrient, beef broth offers a range of health-supportive compounds.

Common Questions About Beef Broth Nutrition

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the nutritional value of beef broth:

Does beef broth have protein?

Yes, beef broth contains small amounts of protein derived from the beef and meat used to make it. A 1-cup serving of homemade beef broth provides 2-3 grams of protein.

Is beef broth low FODMAP?

Yes, beef broth is considered low FODMAP at a serving of 1 cup. The term “FODMAP” refers to types of carbohydrates that can trigger digestive issues like bloating and gas in some people. Beef broth is low in these FODMAP carbohydrates.

Does beef broth have healing properties?

Beef broth has long been used as a nourishing food to help fight illness and recover from sickness. Modern research confirms broth’s anti-inflammatory properties, immune-supporting nutrients, and electrolytes can be healing. Broth is especially soothing for sore throats.

Is beef broth keto-friendly?

Yes, beef broth is keto-friendly. With only 1-2 grams of carbs and no sugar per cup, broth can be included as part of a ketogenic diet. Use for cooking keto-friendly grains like cauliflower rice.

Does beef broth promote sleep?

The glycine in collagen-rich bone broth may help improve sleep quality. Glycine has been shown in studies to help regulate the body’s circadian rhythms and core body temperature, promoting better sleep.

The Bottom Line on Beef Broth Nutrition

While not extremely high in any particular nutrient, beef broth provides a range of vitamins, minerals like iron, and beneficial compounds like collagen. The heme iron is especially valuable for those reducing red meat intake.

Homemade and bone broth offer the most nutritional benefits. But even canned and boxed varieties provide an easy way to add flavor along with some nutrients to dishes.

Enjoy beef broth in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet. With its stellar taste and nutritional profile, broth is a pantry staple worth savoring.

Is Bone Broth Healthy? Myth Busting With Dr. Nagra


What broth is high in iron?

Most of us know that liver is rich in iron and folate. Organ meats such as chicken liver, turkey legs and goat bone broth help in increasing the haemoglobin levels of an anemic person.

How much iron is in beef stock?

Protein (g)
Iron, Fe (mg)
Magnesium, Mg (mg)
Phosphorus, P (mg)
Potassium, K (mg)

Does beef soup have iron?

Stock and broth by definition are almost entirely water. You could make it at home, from cows you raised yourself, and it’s still not going to have much iron content. Even soups with actual chunks of beef in them are going to be low in iron compared to solid foods.

What minerals are in beef bone broth?

One study analyzed the nutrients in beef bone broth and found that its primary minerals include sodium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Trace amounts of iron, copper, zinc, and other minerals are also present. But, none of the minerals were found to supply more than 5% of the daily value (DV).

Which is better, chicken or beef bone broth?

Bone Broths are rich in specific amino acids such as arginine, glutamate (expressed as glutamine), hydroxylysine, hydroxyproline and proline. A maintained level of increased nitric oxide production, produced from arginine, is known to improve cardiovascular health, ensure muscle growth, and strengthen the immune system. Chichen broth (especially its feet part) is the best source of a specific combination of amino acids, known as collagen. Collagen has several potential benefits, including improved skin health and relief of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis symptoms.

Is beef broth a high-protein food?

Although beef is rich in dietary protein, however, beef broth is not a high-protein food. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 1 cup of ready-to-serve beef broth provides almost 3 grams of protein. The recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for protein is 56 grams for men and 46 grams per day for women, notes the Institute of Medicine.

Is beef broth good for You?

Commonly used in soups and cooking, beef broth provides you with some beneficial nutrients, is low in calories and can make certain cuisine more palatable. Because beef broth is high in sodium, however, use it in moderation to help reduce your risks for high blood pressure and heart disease.

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