Iron gets used by our bodies to help make the hemoglobin in the red blood cells, which then carry oxygen throughout your system, from our lungs to our muscles and other organs. Blood cells also use hemoglobin to help carry carbon dioxide from other parts of the body to the lungs, where we exhale it out.
It’s not a nutrient that you wanna be lacking. Not getting enough makes it difficult for your blood cells to deliver the oxygen your tissues and organs need. Symptoms you’ll notice can include feeling tired or not having any energy or easily catching infections or getting sick.
So, how does one get iron anyway? While you can correctly guess that the most widely promoted sources of it are, of course, not vegan-friendly, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that there are in fact many that are pretty much so. Get your system the Iron it needs to breathe from a vegan source.
Olives are rich in iron, with 3.3 mg per 100 grams. But they have lots of other health benefits too. They can lower the risk of heart disease, improve your digestion, protects against ulcers, and reduce your risk for colon, skin, and breast cancer.
Lentils are another great source of iron for vegans. Each cup of lentils provides 6.6 mg of iron, nearly 40% of the RDI for iron.
This Lentil Burger is flavorful and nutritious!
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of iron for those following a vegan diet. They are a good option as they can easily be added to food or eaten on their own, even on-the-go. To up the iron content of meals sprinkle some pumpkin seeds on top of dishes like salads, soups, pastas, stews and even vegan-yogurt. You can also grind them in a coffee mill and add to smoothies or make pumpkin seed butter. So many options with such a simple, nutritious food.
Or, as I sometimes do, make chocolate pumpkin seed bark. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds onto a cookie sheet. Melt dark chocolate and pour over pumpkin seeds add some sea salt and hemp seeds and allow to cool before breaking into pieces. Bonus, chocolate and hemp seeds are also good sources of iron!
Dark chocolate contains about 20% of the rdi for iron per ounce! Plus its delicious 🙂 If you eat dark chocolate with a high vitamin C food such as oranges it increases the absorption of iron by 300%.
#5 Soy Beans
Soybeans (and foods derived from soybeans like natto, tofu, and tempeh) contain around 8.8 mg of iron per cup (that’s half of the RDI). Leafy green vegetables: Gram for gram, greens like spinach, kale, collard greens, and chard often have a higher iron content than foods typically associated with high iron, such as meat and eggs. Although vegetables contain non-heme iron (which is less easily absorbed), they are also generally rich in vitamin C, which helps enhance iron absorption.
Lentil Walnut Bolognese as a vegan food high in iron! Lentils are a fantastic source of iron and the Vitamin C from the tomato sauce increases the absorption of iron.
Loma Linda just debuted their line of shelf-stable, plant-based Meal Starters and Meal Solutions. At just $1.99-4.49 per open-and-eat pouch, Loma Linda meals provides quick, heat-and-eat meals. They’re also non-GMO, gluten free and pack 6g-9g of plant-based protein per serving. When going through the nutrient values of our products I noticed they’re all fairly high, about 2-3mg of iron (12-15% of the daily value) but the Hearty Stew has 4mg (20% of DV).
Being vegan means you can’t get Haem iron, which is the type of iron that is more readily absorbed. It’s mostly found in poultry and fish. Tofu contains non-haem iron. If you want to enhance the iron absorption for non-haem iron, you should consume it with vitamin C. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, and so much more.
Contain more iron when cooked than raw. Absorbed better when consumed with a source of Vitamin C (add those fruits and vegetables!).
Beans like soybeans, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas. Not only provides iron, but also protein and fiber.