6 iron-rich foods that are completely plant-based and vegan
Iron is an essential mineral for proper growth and development . Your body uses it to make hemoglobin and some important hormones !
Two types of iron are found in food: heme (i.e. heme, of animal origin) and non-heme (of vegetable origin).
While it can be taken as a supplement, there is already enough iron available in our food sources. Vegans, for example, can find non-heme iron in dried beans and
legumes , leafy green vegetables , dried fruits , nuts , seeds , grains
, and whole-grain breads .
Why is it so important to take iron?
Your body needs iron to function properly: getting too little will lead to a deficiency , with long-term consequences that are not pleasant at all.
It's also true, however, that too much stuffs: taking iron in excess can cause poisoning. The average amount of iron a vegan person needs is about 32 milligrams per day for women and 14 milligrams per day for men .
Vegans need 1.8 times more iron than meat eaters. Do not fear! Even for vegans and vegetarians it is perfectly possible to fill the pantry with vegetable and cruelty-free
foods rich in this important mineral: read on to find out which ones.
Iron plays an important role in proper bodily functions, including:
Good blood production
Iron is found in red blood cells, in a metalloprotein called hemoglobin , which carries oxygen in the blood from the lungs to the tissues. This improves heart health, respiratory function, and the effectiveness of the immune system.
Skin, hair and nails appear stronger and healthier thanks to the synthesis of collagen , a protein necessary for healthy joints and skin. This synthesis is favored precisely by iron, which also participates in the synthesis of myoglobin , the protein that helps muscles receive, store and transport oxygen.
Iron promotes the synthesis of certain proteins essential for energy metabolism. The right amount of iron improves overall energy and increases concentration. Low iron levels can lead to an iron deficiency called anemia . Symptoms of anemia include:
- pale or sallow skin;
- shortness of breath;
- dizziness or lightheadedness;
- cold hands and feet;
Vegan and vegetarian foods containing iron
There is a widespread misconception that the vegan diet is iron deficient. However, vegans are no more likely to develop iron deficiency anemia than the general population.
Vegans and vegetarians who eat a variety of diets typically consume adequate amounts of iron because their diets are rich in vitamin C , which enhances the absorption of non-heme iron.
Here are 6
plant -based, cruelty-free , plant-based, iron-rich vegan foods
to add to your pantry now, for vegans, vegetarians, and flexitarians.
1. Black Molasses
Black molasses is a known source of non-heme iron. Just 2 tablespoons contain 7.2 milligrams of iron. However, molasses contains significant amounts of sugar, so intake should be limited.
Lentils come in three varieties: brown, green and red . Lentils are not only high in iron, but they're also high in potassium , fiber , and folate , which are B vitamins. One cup contains about 6.6 milligrams of iron.
Did you know that on Mindful Morsel you can find lentil pasta ? Here she is!
Lentil pasta for all tastes: tubetti , penne andfusilli !
What other iron-rich vegan foods are there?
3. Tofu and tempeh
Tofu and soy tempeh products are an integral part of a vegan diet. Tofu has a higher iron content of 6.6 milligrams per half cup. One cup of tempeh contains 4.5 milligrams of iron.
One cup of cooked spinach
contains 6.4 milligrams of iron. Adding spinach to meals, whether it's stir-fried, pureed or eaten raw, is an easy way to include more iron in your diet.
Beans are a great source of iron . Kidney beans (5.2 milligrams/cup), soybeans (4.5 milligrams/cup) and lima beans (4.5 milligrams/cup) have the highest iron content.
is a green leafy vegetable rich in vitamins and minerals. This multi-beneficial veggie can be steamed, sautéed or eaten raw – but it's less bitter when cooked! One cup of cooked chard contains 4 milligrams of iron.
Did you know that all of these plant foods are high in iron? Do you still believe that those who follow a vegan diet are deficient in this important mineral?
For further information on vegan nutrition, read our articles on spirulina algae
, on how to create a plant-based pantry
and reduce food waste at home and beyond