Best Iron Rich Foods For Vegetarians & Meat-Free Ways To Get Iron Into Your Diet

Iron’s as important for your health as many other nutrients you might be aware of like protein, fiber, and Vitamin C. Iron is a mineral responsible for many things in the body – everything from carrying oxygen to our lungs, to aiding in metabolic function, and a host of enzymatic processes our bodies need to even function.  if you’re a woman between the ages of 19-50, the rec commended daily intake (RDI) for iron is 18mg a day – and according to Dr Ivany, most of us aren’t getting enough. Here’s a primer of some meat-free sources, whether you’re a vegetarian looking for something beyond spinach, or if you’re looing for an iron-rich side to all that protein you’ve been consuming.

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Milo : Just 4tsp of this nostalgic drink is equal to 6mg of iron, so with a few other sources throughout the day, a cup of milo might be a better start to your day than you might have realised. We’re not complaining about this one, but like all good things remember: everything in moderation.

Sun Dried Tomatoes : Besides their mouth-watering taste, one of the best things about sun dried tomatoes is their high iron content. One cup contains nearly 30 percent of your recommended daily iron intake. Another great thing is that you can use them in so many ways. Sun dried tomatoes make a tasty addition to omelets, pasta sauce, pizza, sandwiches, salads, and so much more. They’re also high in healthy lycopene, antioxidants, and vitamin C, so add them to your diet for a health boost all around.

Add Some Lentils :Beans and lentils (a legume) are both great sources of iron. If you love beans, then eat plenty of them, but if you don’t, then be sure to try lentils instead. Lentils are possibly one of the best sources of iron in a vegan diet, containing 8 percent of your needs in just a 1/4 cup serving. Add a little to a lunch salad, cook some up with some of your favorite condiments to serve as a side dish, or even use it in replacement to meat in a “meaty” sauce or “meat”loaf. They’re also great in a curry-spiced soup!

Cereal : Wheat Bix and All Bran are some of the highest plant-based iron sources. These cereals are a great way to get your iron intake in the morning, plus you’ll can spend the rest of the morning satisfied and energised. Just 30g of each will yield over 3mg of iron.

Dried Peaches : If you’re trying to get more iron in your diet, opt for dried fruit as opposed to fresh. 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.

Try Some Spirulina : This superfood (when bought from a reputable brand that does routine testing for contaminants) is rich in some of the most important nutrients your body needs, iron being one of those. Containing 80 percent of your daily iron needs in a TEASPOON, spirulina can easily be added to a smoothie. Just be sure not to consume too much of this superfood. A little will go a long way, not to mention, it’s more cost-effective to use the recommended serving size of one teaspoon and eat other iron-rich foods in addition to this superfood algae. Spirulina also contains Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6, iodine, and Vitamin A. All of these are important for metabolic health, muscle health, immune health, and brain health.

Liquorice : Liquorice is probably the most unexpected form of iron on Dr Jess’ list . A serving of 50g will get you 4.4mg of iron, compared to say, 100g of oysters, which will only get you 4mg. Maybe we will finally venture into the confectionary aisle this week without feeling guilty.

Some more choices include tofu  and rolled oats . Also, did anyone ever tell you that just one slice of wholegrain bread has the same amount of iron as 100g of chicken?

Now, we’re not suggesting you all go vegan but a diet with more variety that’ll up your energy levels? That’s something we can all get behind.

Brown Rice : 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.

Eat Your Greens : Greens won’t provide all the iron you need each day, but they are a good source of iron and important parts of a healthy diet. No matter if you eat them cooked or raw, greens promote better health. Try a variety of greens to see which ones you like. Keep in mind that the darker the green is, the more iron it contains (kale, spinach, collards, etc.).  Aside from salads andgreen smoothies, greens provide warmth to soups, wraps, and a variety of cooked entrees.

Oats : Oats are another good source of iron, with 8 percent in a 1/2 cup serving. If you’re a gluten-free eater, go with certified gluten-free oats, and look for the ELISA certification (which is one of the strictest testing method for gluten-free foods). Oats are a simpler grain to digest than many other grains and can be cooked up savory or sweet, or enjoyed raw and soaked overnight for easier digestion and a sweeter flavor. Oats also contain B vitamins and magnesium that assist in a healthy metabolism that will boost the benefits of iron.

Raisins : Like other dried fruits, 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.

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