Iron is a mineral that is necessary for our survival. There are many very important roles of this mineral including transporting oxygen, producing energy, growth and development, healthy cells, immune activity, and brain function.
Unfortunately, 30% of people suffer from iron-deficient caused anemia.  Getting enough iron is vital and should be a priority.
So the real question is: Can you get enough iron on a plant-based or vegan diet? And the answer is: Yes. There are plenty of plant-based foods high in iron.
First off, let’s look at how much iron we really need to survive.
7-12 months: 11 milligrams daily
1-3 years: 7 milligrams daily
4-8 years: 10 milligrams daily
8+ years: 8 milligrams daily
*Women need 18 milligrams of iron per day and that decreases to 8 milligrams per day once they hit the age of 51.
Heme VS Nonheme Iron
Did you know there are two different types of iron? There’s heme and nonheme.
Heme iron is made from hemoglobin and can be found in animal flesh. While nonheme iron is found in plants. While it’s true that heme iron is absorbed quicker by the body, it’s not without risk. A high blood level of stored iron may increase heart disease and insulin resistance. Plus, heme iron is also accompanied by steroids, hormones, dietary cholesterol, saturated fats, and antibiotics.
There are some dietary variables that can inhibit the absorption of iron. These include tannic acids from tea, phytates in legumes and whole grains, fiber, coffee, cacao, calcium in dairy, turmeric, chilies, tamarind, and coriander.
To increase plant-based iron absorption, include vitamin c with your nonheme iron-rich foods. For example, add tomatoes to your spinach salad or strawberries in your green smoothie to get the greatest amount of absorption.
Vitamin A and beta-carotene may also help increase absorption.
- Iron Rich Fruits For a Plant-Based Diet
- Calcium Rich Fruits For A Plant-Based Diet
- List Of Vegan Protein Sources
Plant-Based Foods High In Iron
|Kombu, dried, 8g dry weight||22.1 mg|
|Tofu, firm, ½ cup||6.6 mg|
|Dulse, dried 8g dry weight||6.4 mg|
|Soybeans ½ cup cooked||4.4 mg|
|Dark chocolate, 1 oz||3.9 mg|
|Nori, dried 8g dry weight||3.7 mg|
|Blackstrap molasses, 1 TB||3.6 mg|
|Lentils, ½ cup cooked||3.3 mg|
|Spinach, ½ cup cooked||3.2 mg|
|Tahini, 2 TB||2.7 mg|
|Pumpkin seeds, 2 TB||2.5 mg|
|Sun-dried tomatoes, ½ cup cooked||2.4 mg|
|Chickpeas, ½ cup cooked||2.4 mg|
|Prunes, ½ cup||2.4 mg|
|Navy beans, ½ cup cooked||2.3 mg|
|Lima beans, ½ cup cooked||2.2 mg|
|Black beans, ½ cup cooked||2.2 mg|
|Raisins, ½ cup||1.6 mg|
|Beet greens, ½ cup cooked||1.4 mg|
|Tempeh, ½ cup||1.3 mg|
|Sunflower seeds 2 TB||1.2 mg|
|Peas, ½ cup cooked||1.2 mg|
|Prunes, ¼ cup||1.2 mg|
|Collard greens, ½ cup cooked||1.1 mg|
|Cashews, 2 TB||1 mg|
|Barley, pearled ½ cup cooked||1 mg|
|Brussel sprouts, ½ cup cooked||.9 mg|
|Apricots, ¼ cup||.9 mg|
|Raisins, ¼ cup||.8 mg|
|Soy milk ½ cup||.55-.9 mg|
Did you find this list of foods high in iron useful? Please share with anyone who needs this list and let me know what other kinds of posts you’d like to see in the comments below!