Iron deficiency is the most common form of nutritional deficiency – especially among children and pregnant women – according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Not getting enough foods rich in iron can cause iron deficiency anemia and make you more susceptible to illness and infections; it can even cause premature delivery in pregnant women. Many vegetarians and vegans worry about getting enough iron in their diet. Since meat is traditionally thought of as the main source of iron, vegetarians need to find different sources foods rich in iron to help them reach their recommended amount of iron each day.
15 VEGETARIAN FOODS RICH IN IRON
Raisins are nutrient-dense treats that contain large amounts of iron. It’s easy to add a handful of these subtly sweet treats to your cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, or salads as part of a balanced diet. To get the most out of your next handful of raisins, combine them with other healthy foods containing vitamin C. This will make it easier for your body to absorb the iron found in raisins one of good foods rich in iron.
Serving Size (1/2 cup, packed), 1.6 milligrams of iron (9% DV), 247 calories
Dried fruits pack more nutrients, including iron, per serving. Dried peaches make a great breakfast companion, a delicious addition to salads, and an easy snack throughout your busy day. A serving of dried peaches contains about 9% of your daily recommended iron, without weighing you down with lots of sugar and calories.
Serving Size (1/4 cup), 1.6 milligrams of iron (9% DV), 96 calories
These colorful legumes are packed with vitamins and nutrients including iron, protein, and essential amino acids. Plus, they’re easy to cook and make a great companion to many meals. Lentils are traditionally used in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes, but they can spice up your soups, stews, pastas, and more.
Serving Size (1 cup, boiled), 6.6 milligrams of iron (37% DV), 230 calories
Brown rice is one of the most versatile foods on Earth. It’s a staple in several cultures’ cuisines, and it’s widely regarded as an important health food. It’s naturally rich in fiber, it helps rid the body of toxins, and its high iron content also helps fight anemia and fatigue. Cook a serving of brown rice along with your favorite beans or veggies for an iron-rich meal that will keep you feeling full for hours.
Serving Size (1 cup), 0.8 milligrams of iron (5% DV), 216 calories
Potatoes are one of the most versatile foods out there, and they’re also one of the best iron-rich food options for vegetarians. Since potatoes are also packed with vitamin C, it’s easier for your body to absorb the iron it needs. Potatoes work equally well as a side dish and a main attraction, so combine them with other iron-rich foods for a healthy meal any time of the day.
Serving Size (1 medium potato with skin),3.2 milligrams of iron (18% DV), 278 calories
Apricots are an excellent source of iron and other nutrients. They can be consumed raw, canned, cooked, and dried, but dried apricots provide your body with the most benefits and the largest amount of iron. When apricots are dried, they lose their high water and sugar contents without losing their highly nutritious qualities.
Serving Size (1/2 cup), 2 milligrams of iron (8% DV), 78 calories.
Though tofu is typically associated with Asian cuisine, this versatile and nutritious food has made its way to dinner tables around the world. Tofu is highly nutritious and rich in iron and other essential minerals. Fortunately, tofu has a wonderful ability to take on the flavors of the sauces and seasonings it’s prepared with, so learning to love it is as easy as choosing your favorite ingredients and going from there.
Serving Size (1/2 cup), 3.4 milligrams of iron (19% DV), 88 calories
Broccoli is filled with vitamin C. This plays a huge role in helping your body absorb and digest the essential iron. Eating a serving of broccoli every day is a great way to get more iron into your diet.
Serving Size (1/2 cup), 0.3 milligrams of iron (2% DV), 15 calories
By now, most people know that dark chocolate is good for your heart (in moderation). But did you also know that it’s loaded with iron? A 100 gram serving size contains about 35% of your recommended daily intake. Of course, this sweet treat should be eaten in moderation, but it can certainly be enjoyed as part of a balanced, iron-rich diet.
Serving Size (100 grams), 6.3 milligrams of iron (35% DV), 578 calories
Fresh and cooked peas have a slightly sweeter taste than many other vegetables. And like other green veggies, they’re rich in iron and other nutrients. It’s easy to incorporate these tender veggies into your favorite meals, and a mere half-cup serving provides about 7% of the daily recommended value of iron.
Serving Size (1/2 cup), 1.2 milligrams of iron (7% DV), 62 calories
Sunflower seeds are known for their impressive supply of vitamin E, but they also pack plenty of essential minerals, especially iron. A one cup serving supplies nearly half your body’s daily iron needs. Sunflower seeds can be found at your local grocery store year round.
Serving Size (1 cup), 7.4 milligrams of iron (41% DV), 269 calories
Kale is a fat-free super food that will provide your body with a mountain of nutrients and only a handful of calories. Kale helps fight anemia and fatigue with a high iron content. If you have trouble eating it raw, try sautéing it, throwing it in your soup or on a burger, or making delicious kale chips in your oven or food dehydrator.
Serving Size (1 cup), 1.1 milligrams of iron (6% DV), 1.3 calories
Iron deficiency can be greatly reduced by adding oatmeal to your diet. Just a half-cup serving is packed with almost two milligrams of iron. And with loads of other nutrients, oatmeal is a fantastic health food that everyone should be eating more of.
Serving Size (1/2 cup), 1.7 milligrams of iron (8% DV), 154 calories
Beans are good all around; they’re easy on your health and your budget. Black beans, in particular, are loaded with fiber, protein, and iron. That means they satisfy hunger while providing an energy boost that lasts for hours. Vegetarians who are concerned about getting foods rich in iron need only add a one-cup serving of black beans to get about 20% of their daily recommended foods rich in iron intake.
Serving Size (1 cup, boiled), 3.6 milligrams of iron (20% DV), 277 calories
Soybeans are another super food that packs protein, unsaturated fat (the “good fat”), fiber, and minerals such as iron. Another great thing about soybeans is their versatility. Season these nutritional powerhouses to your liking, or add them to soups or chili for a healthy and delicious meal.
Serving Size (1 cup, boiled), 8.8 milligrams of iron (49% DV), 298 calories