7 plant-based foods that provide your daily iron fix without eating red meat
Are you feeling tired, weak and depleted? Are your skin, hair and nails feeling brittle or lacklustre? Are you always cold and struggle to stay warm? Chances are, you could be low on iron – a mineral that helps to carry oxygen around the body, and is essential for growth, healing and development.
And you are not alone. Low iron is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies around, especially effecting women, and those who follow a plant-based or vegetarian diet. But while meat is rich in heme iron – which is better absorbed then the plant derived non-heme protein – it is possible to boost your iron intake in other ways as well – read on to find out how.
- Legumes: Legumes – including and their many derivatives (tofu and tempeh), are an excellent source of iron. A cup of cooked lentils can provide up to 37% of your RDI, while a half-cup of cooked beans provides up to 10%. To maximise the body’s absorption of the iron, consume legumes with foods high in Vitamin C.
- Leafy greens: Leafy greens are amongst the most iron rich foods around, often containing more than meat and fish. Add to your meals and you’ll be getting between 14-36% of your RDI of iron. These foods often increase in nutritional value when consumed cooked, so steam some spinach, add a squeeze of lemon and you have the perfect iron-rich side dish.
- Seeds: Seeds are a great healthy snack that can be consumed throughout the day. For an iron boost, opt for which are richest in this essential nutrient, containing between 7-23% of the RDI. Of course, this includes seed derivatives such as tahini – which provides 14% of the RDI.
- Oats: Get an iron fix in the morning by eating oats for breakfast. A cup of cooked oats will provide around 19% of your RDI, and if you add some berries or other Vitamin C-rich fruits, you’ll be helping that precious iron absorb. Other whole grains that are high in iron include amaranth, .
- Vegetables: You can’t go wrong with vegetables. They often contain more iron than red meat and as an added bonus, they also contain Vitamin C which is essential to help the iron absorb in the body. Vegetables that are particularly high in iron include
- Nuts: Nuts are another great source of non-heme iron, especially almonds, cashews, pine nuts and macadamia nuts, which provides between 6-9% of your RDI. When consuming nuts – – make sure you opt for the most natural options without added salt, sugar or flavouring.
- Dark Chocolate: You don’t have to give up your favourite guilty pleasure just because you’re following a healthy iron-rich diet. is a rich source of iron, containing up to 18% of your RDI.
If you think you might need an iron boost this winter, head to Prinos to stock up on some of these iron-rich foods that will help you stay energised, strong and healthy throughout the coldest months of the year.
Don’t forget that you can always put your order online at shop.prinos.eu.