Do you follow a vegetarian diet plan? Do you worry that your diet might not provide you with the correct iron intake? Well then, it is time you start reading our blog! We will tell you all the beneficial vegetarian iron sources that will benefit your health massively. Start scrolling down to know the iron-rich foods listed below!
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Why Do You Need Iron-Rich Foods?
Your body needs iron as it plays a crucial role in body functions. If you are deficient in iron, it can lead to several health problems.
You can get anemia, irritability, headaches, shortness of breath, low energy levels, and iron deficiency dizziness.
Iron-rich foods are found in two types – non-heme and heme. Non-heme iron is present in all plant sources. And you get heme iron content when the animal sources of foods.
On average, your body requires around 18 milligrams of iron in a day. But it can vary from one person to another.
For example, Post-menopausal women and men, in general, need eight milligrams of iron in a day. But women who have their period require around 18 milligrams of iron daily. On the other hand, pregnant women need approximately 27 milligrams of iron a day.
Also, it is essential to know that heme iron can absorb into the human body with ease. But non-heme takes time to absorb into your body. So, it is vital for vegan and vegetarian diets to include 1.8 times more iron.
And to do that, we are here to help! Today, we have got for you vegetarian iron sources to give your body the perfect nutrition! Hang in there, and you’ll know all the iron-rich foods!
Vegetarian Iron Sources
Iron is essential for your body. But it is always best to avoid consuming vegan iron supplements to provide yourself the deficit nutrient. And to do that, you need to include all the vegetarian iron-rich foods. Check out the following:
If you are making the highest iron-rich foods list, indeed, legumes should top the diet chart. It contains loads of nutrients that provide you the perfect iron-boost! Here are the following legumes rich in iron:
Soybeans, Tofu, Natto, and Tempeh
Soybeans and all their products are the vegetarian iron sources that give your body the perfect nutrition.
One cup of soybeans can provide you 8.8 milligrams of iron. So, it can meet up to 49% of your daily iron requirement. However, natto is a fermented soybean product that gives you 15 milligrams of iron. Consequently, it supplies you with a higher amount of daily iron intake.
But tempeh or tofu contains around 3 to 3.6 milligrams of iron. So, it meets about 20% of your daily requirement.
Apart from supplying you with a sufficient amount of iron, you can also get plenty of other nutrients from soy and its products. Soy and its products contain magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and protein.
Lentils count among the iron-rich sources of food. One cup of cooked lentils will give you around 6.6 milligrams of iron. It will meet up to 37% of your daily requirement.
Lentils also provide you with complex carbs, folate, protein, manganese, and protein. One cup of lentils in the cooked form can give you around 18 grams of protein.
Peas and Other Beans
Beans like white, navy, red kidney, and lima follow the iron content of soybeans. One cup of cooked beans can provide you with 6.6 milligrams of iron. All of which meets around 24 to 37% of your daily iron intake.
Black-eyed peas and chickpeas are the items that must top the highest iron-rich foods list. One cup of these peas can meet almost 29% of your daily recommended intake.
Plus, you can get other nutrients as well. Some of the nutrients black-eyed peas and chickpeas contain are manganese, potassium, plant-compounds, phosphorus, folate, fiber, and complex carbs.
Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and nuts are among the vegetarian iron sources. These do not only contain vast amounts of iron but also provides you with many more nutrients.
So, let us check out what they are! Here are the following:
Flaxseeds, Sesame, Pumpkin, and Hemp seeds
Flaxseeds, hemp, sesame, and pumpkin contain lots of iron. Two tablespoons of all these seeds will provide you with 1.2 to 4.2 milligrams of iron that will meet 7 to 23% of the daily iron requirement.
Few products are made out of these seeds that are potent in supplying you with an adequate iron amount. For example, consuming two tablespoons of tahini is a sesame seed paste that can provide you with 2.6 milligrams of iron. All of which gives you around 14% of your daily intake.
On the other hand, hummus that is chickpeas paste gives you 3 milligrams of daily iron intake. That will meet up to 17% of the daily iron intake.
Apart from iron, seeds also give you sufficient amounts of plant compounds, antioxidants, selenium, zinc, magnesium, calcium, fiber, and plant protein.
Plus, you can also get omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids from these seeds. Hemp seeds can give you two fats that are beneficial for your health overall.
Pine nuts, Cashews, and Other Nuts
Nuts and their butter are vegetarian iron sources. Nuts like cashews, pine, macadamia, and almonds all contain around 1 to 1.6 milligrams of iron. So, it meets approximately 6 to 9% of your daily recommended intake.
Nuts also supply you with healthy fats, minerals, vitamins, fiber, and protein. Plus, you can also get essential plant compounds and more.
Always keep note that roasting or blanching nuts will destroy the nutrient content of the nuts. So, consider purchasing the unblanched and raw varieties.
And if you prefer nut butter, try to choose the natural varieties to avoid consuming added salt, sugars, and added oils.
Vegetables are always a potent inclusion into one’s diet. There are loads of nutrients that keep you in optimal health. Even though vegetables are the non-heme iron sources, it does provide you with vitamin C that boosts iron absorption.
So, let us check out the iron-rich vegetables below:
Collard, Swiss chard, kale, beet greens, and spinach are the potent vegetarian iron sources.
When you eat one cup of these cooked leafy greens, you will get around 2.5 to 6.4 milligrams of iron. All of which will supply you with 14 to 36% of the daily recommended intake.
Your body will get 1.1 times more iron content from spinach than red meat in every 100 grams of consumption.
Some more iron-rich vegetables are Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage. If you consume one cup of these veggies, you will be getting around 1 to 1.8 milligrams of iron that meets 6 to 10% of your daily iron intake.
When you are making a list of iron-rich vegetables, you cannot miss out on potatoes. You can get loads of iron and many other beneficial nutrients from potatoes.
One unpeeled large potato will supply you with around 3.2 milligrams of iron that will help you meet 18% of your daily iron intake. But sweet potatoes do not contain as much iron as white ones. One large-sized sweet potato weighing approximately 295 grams will have only 2.1 milligrams of iron that meet 12% of your daily requirement.
Apart from iron, you can also meet your potassium, vitamin B6, C, and fiber requirements from potatoes.
Few specific mushroom varieties are among the vegetarian iron sources. If you consume one cup of white mushrooms cooked, you will get around 2.7 milligrams of iron. That will help you meet everywhere 15% of the daily iron requirement.
On the other hand, shiitake mushrooms contain low amounts of iron, while oyster mushrooms offer twice iron than white mushrooms.
Palm’s hearts are among the tropical veggies high in manganese, potassium, fiber, folate, vitamin C, and fiber. The food item possesses large amounts of iron. One cup of palm hearts will supply you with 4.6 milligrams of iron that will meet 26% of the daily recommended intake.
You can incorporate this veggie by tossing it on the grill, stir-frying, or adding it roasted into your salads. It is a versatile veggie that fits well when baked and eaten with toppings.
Not everyone thinks that fruits are among the iron-rich foods. But to your surprise, fruits have rich iron content. So, what are the fruits rich in iron:
Prunes are known to have slight laxative properties. So, you can relieve constipation by consuming prunes. Also, they are rich in iron as well.
Prune juice gives your body about 3 milligrams of iron that help meet up 17% of your daily requirement.
Prune juices also provide you with manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
People usually miss out on olives and do not consider them as fruits. But they are a fruit that possesses a sufficient amount of iron. Every 100 grams of olives can provide you with 3.3 milligrams of iron that helps you meet around 18% of the daily intake. Plus, fresh olives are rich in fat-soluble vitamins like E and A. You can also provide yourself with healthy fats and fiber by consuming olives.
Olives also possess several essential plant compounds that keep you away from various health problems. You can consume olives to keep you away from the chances of having heart problems.
Mulberries contain a high nutritive value. One cup of mulberries can provide you with 2.6 milligrams of iron that meets 14% of your daily iron requirement. Alongside, you can meet 85% of your daily vitamin C requirement by consuming mulberries.
You can also provide your body with loads of antioxidants that can keep you away from cancer, diabetes, and several heart problems.
Whole grains are potential vegetarian iron sources. It also provides you with several other nutrients that are essential for your health overall. You can reduce the chances of heart ailments, obesity, and type 2 diabetes by consuming whole grains.
So, let us check out what are the whole grains that supply you with loads of iron content:
Amarnath is a pseudocereal. That’s because it is among the grains that are not grown from grasses. One cup of Amarnath provides you with 5.2 milligrams of iron that meets 29% of your daily requirement.
Amarnath is the complete plant protein source that supplies you with magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, fiber, and complex carbs.
Spelled is one of the potent vegetarian iron sources. You can consume one cup of cooked spelled and provide yourself with 3.2 milligrams of iron. All of which will meet 18% of your daily iron requirement and give you 5 to 6 grams of protein. This protein supply is 1.5 times more than any other grains.
You can also get plenty of other nutrients such as zinc, selenium, fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and complex carbs. You should keep in mind that Spelt contains more minerals than any other grains.
We all know that one of the most nutritious breakfast options is oats. It is delicious, and you can add it to your diet at ease.
By consuming one cup of cooked oats, you will provide yourself with 3.4 milligrams of iron that will meet 19% of your daily iron requirement. Plus, you will get vast amounts of folate, zinc, magnesium, fiber, and plant protein.
Oats also contain beta-glucan, which is a soluble fiber that provides you with several health benefits. You can keep your gut healthy, reduce the chances of diabetes and cholesterol by consuming oats. Plus, it helps in keeping you full for long that may help in weight loss.
Similar to amaranth, quinoa is also a pseudocereal that is loaded with nutrients. You can provide yourself with minerals, vitamins, complex carbs, fiber, and protein by consuming quinoa.
One cup of cooked quinoa contains around 2.8 milligrams of iron that help meet 16% of your daily requirement. You can also get antioxidants that lower the chances of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
As we finish the list of vegetarian iron sources, you will be able to curate your diet plan well. Add all these iron-rich foods to provide yourself the perfect nutrition. All the foods mentioned above not only supply you with iron but also contains loads of other nutrients.
So, include the list of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes to keep yourself away from consuming the vegan iron supplements.