Vegan foods high in iron are a necessity to promote healthy bodily functions in the body. If you are on a plant-based diet, you must make it a priority to consume more of these iron-rich foods.
This way, you can prevent certain symptoms linked with iron deficiency such as shortness of breath, irritability, dizziness, headaches, and low energy levels.
Thankfully, vegans can still get iron in their diet. It is only a matter of knowing what these vegetarian iron sources are and make sure you get an adequate amount of these daily. So what exactly are these foods, you may ask? Let’s jump right into it.
Vegan Foods High In Iron – How To Get Iron As A Vegan
Iron comes in two types, which is the non-heme and the heme iron. A vegan iron rich food contains non-heme iron, as it is only available in plants.
If you are able to get up to 18 milligrams per day of iron from these iron rich foods for vegetarians, then you are all good. But then again, you have to be aware of how much iron you really need.
For women and men over 51 years of age, they need up to 8 milligrams of iron daily. The amount goes up among menstruating and pregnant women, which is at 18 milligrams and 27 milligrams, respectively.
However, since non-heme type of iron is not quickly absorbed by the body compared with the heme type, vegans and vegetarians need 1.8 times more iron than omnivores.
To make up for this increase in iron requirement, you may want to add these best vegetarian sources of iron to your daily diet:
A good calcium source for vegans, tofu is also an excellent source of iron. Since it comes from soybeans, you can expect it to have a high iron level, considering that soybeans have 8.8 milligrams per cup.
A 2-ounce tofu, on the other hand, contains 3 milligrams of iron. Natto, which is a fermented soybean, contains 15 milligrams.
2. Peas And beans
A great addition to your salads, beans and peas are also notable sources of iron. You can get up to 4 milligrams of iron from every cooked cup of red kidney, lima, and navy beans.
But if you like to boost your iron levels, there’s chickpeas, which has about 5 to 6 milligrams of iron in them.
For vegans who are a huge fan of lentil soup, then good news for you folks – lentils are another one of those vegan foods high in iron.
In fact, a cup of cooked lentils offers up to 6.6 milligrams of iron. You can also get your fiber, manganese, complex carbs, and protein from this food.
All seeds contain iron but did you know that some seeds have more iron content than others?
This is true with sesame seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds. They offer up to 4 milligrams of iron per couple of tablespoons. That’s a whopping 23 percent of the RDI!
The best part about seeds is that it is easy to consume and incorporate into your diet. You can easily sprinkle them into your salads, add to your smoothies, or make overnight oats with these seeds.
If you like tahini, you can use sesame seeds to make this healthy and tasty dip for your veggie sticks. It’s a great snack that’s nutrient-packed at the same time.
For vegans who are nuts about nuts, you folks are in luck – this food is also an outstanding iron source for non-meat eaters.
Among the best nuts to eat for iron are macadamia, pine nuts, cashews, and almonds. An ounce of these nuts should give you between 6 and 9 percent of your total RDI.
But aside from iron, nuts also provide your body with good fats, minerals, vitamins, fiber, and of course, protein. There are also antioxidants in nuts that help to slow down aging.
When buying nuts, be sure to opt for raw ones instead of roasted or blanched. Raw nuts have more iron and are generally more nutritious than roasted.
A quick go-to snack, nuts can also be turned into nut butters for a tasty and nutritious spread for your sandwiches or dips for your rice sticks, crackers, and vegetable slices.
6. Dark Leafy Greens
Kale, chard, and spinach are among the best sources of vegan iron, as far as non-heme iron goes. The darker the green, the better.
But we would like to caution you regarding taking them raw. In particular, raw spinach and kale are high in oxalates, which prevent the absorption of nutrients.
So to prevent this and to bring down the oxalates level, it is best to eat kale and spinach cooked. A quick steam or boil should reduce the oxalates content while still providing you with the iron and other nutrients you need.
7. Fortified Foods
Choose foods that are fortified with iron for a quick boost of this mineral in your body.
Compared with plain oatmeal or plain bread, choose these foods with additional iron content in them. You can also find citrus juices and cereals that are fortified with iron, which should be beneficial to vegans like yourself.
Additional Tips On How To Get Iron As A Vegan
If you are not getting the targeted amount of iron from your diet, you can also consider taking supplements.
An iron supplement that has the essential level of this mineral should easily provide you the amount you need. There are different brands in the market noted for their effectiveness, so it may be worth looking into this as an option to get iron as a vegan.
Just be sure that you check the labels and that there are absolutely no animal products used in the capsule and the actual supplement. This way, you can rest assured that you are not only getting your iron needs but also adhering to your preferred way of eating, which is a plant-based diet.