Although there are high iron levels in lots of non-vegan food, such as meat, it’s a myth that vegans are bound to suffer from iron deficiency. But, did you know that beans are high in iron and as an added bonus, also reduce the likelihood of heart disease. It is important for vegans to target such foods though, as iron is easy to overlook when there is no meat in your diet. Definitely doable though!
Legumes are a fantastic source of Iron, most containing 6.6mg in just one cup. The most common legumes are chickpeas, lentils, black beans, soybeans, tempeh, and lima beans. The best reason to consider them for a source of your iron in your vegan diet is how easily they can be incorporated into many different types of meals.
#2 Hemp seeds
Hemp seeds are a great source of iron. 3 tablespoons provide 4 mg, which is 20% of the recommended daily value. It’s important to pair non-heme iron (iron that comes from plant sources rather than animal sources) wit vitamin C for maximum absorption. Sprinkling hemp seeds on a Brussels sprouts slaw is a great option.
You can also add hemp seeds to smoothies, granola, or salads. Strawberries, citrus, and bell peppers are other rich sources of vitamin C to pair with your hemp seeds. Consider a strawberry smoothie, a salad with grapefruit sections, or quinoa stuffed peppers as some of the many places you can incorporate hemp seeds. If 3 tablespoons seems like a lot, divide the dose over different meals or snacks. You can see that it’s easy to find lots of ways to enjoy hemp seeds.
Tel Aviv is known as the Vegan Capital of the World, a haven for vegans serving endless plant-based food and products. Due to the climate and culture, one of the most iconic vegan-friendly foods consumed in Israel is hummus, which is one of the best vegan foods rich in iron.
The ever popular dish served across the country is made from chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, salt, garlic and olive oil. Both chickpeas and tahini (made from sesame paste) are high in iron, and when combined with the vitamin C in lemon juice become most potent and ideal for the body to absorb.
For a vegan food that’s going to give you that iron boost that you need, look no further than spinach. This superfood is touted for its high iron content among other essential nutrients. Spinach also contains vitamin C which is necessary for aiding iron absorption.
Tofu is derived from soybeans, which are a kind of legumes. ¾ of a cup, which is the serving size of tofu, amounts to 3.5 mg of iron. Tofu is pure protein, which along with the iron richness, makes it a great vegan food.
100 g of pumpkin seeds contain around 17 mg of iron. They are also rich in calcium, which makes them an excellent addition to the vegan diet.
Another surprising source of calcium, broccoli is a versatile vegetable which has numerous nutritive components. The great thing about broccoli is that the iron is combined with a very high amount of Vitamin C, which makes the iron absorption much stronger.
These little fruits pack a large nutritional punch, with a whopping 46% of your RDI in iron, in just an ounce of these dried fruits. They are also high in Vitamin C, which helps with the uptake of iron, providing 131% in the same serving.
Delicious as a substitute for minced meat and a great legume to incorporate in your diet. Just 100 grams of boiled lentils provide 18% of your day’s iron.
Quinoa is a great substitute for rice, perfect in salad recipes. One cup of cooked quinoa provides 21% of your RDI in iron.
#11 Dark Chocolate
Going vegan you start to develop a taste for dark chocolate, more so once you realise that it can be a form of iron, as well as zinc and magnesium in smaller amounts. A mere 1 ounce serving of dark chocolate provides 19% of the RDI of iron.