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10 Best Iron-Rich Foods For Vegetarian Health

Iron is an essential mineral for health. Although red meat and seafood are good sources of iron, many plant-based foods are also rich in these minerals. Lots of vegetables, fruits, and other foods contain an iron called nonheme iron which most people in the United States take iron from. The type of iron in animal products is called heme iron.

Although the body can absorb it more easily, hum iron is not necessary for the human diet. By choosing the right foods, people who eat vegetarian or non-vegetarian foods can meet their daily iron needs without the need to take supplements.

In this article, we list the best iron-rich vegetarian foods. We provide some tips to help maximize the absorption of iron from nonheme sources.

Iron-Rich Foods Vegetarian


Lentils are rich in iron, protein, and fiber, making them a great addition to a healthy diet. Each cup of cooked lentils contains 6.59 mg (mg) of iron and 17.86 g (g) of protein. Lentils contain many more nutrients, including B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

Research suggests that regular lentil pulses reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity, cancer, and heart disease. People can include brown, red, or green lentils in lentil soups, stews, vegetables, salads, and other foods.

Cannellini beans

Cannelini beans, or white kidney beans, provide 5.2 milligrams of iron per cup. As with lentils, the protein and fiber content in beans makes them a healthier alternative. They contain many more essential minerals and plant compounds. Several studies support the adoption of beans to reduce the risk of heart disease and related conditions.

Other types of beans, including the following, contain large amounts of iron per cup:

  • Garbanzo beans or lentils: 4.74 mg
  • Black eye peas: 3.59 mg
  • Red Kidney Beans: 3.59 mg

Beans are a versatile food and they work well with many food ingredients including tacos, peppers, soups, salads, and bean sprouts.


Tofu is a bean curd that is made by manufacturers by condensing milk from soybeans. It is popular among vegetarians and non-vegetarians because it contains significant amounts of protein, iron, and calcium. Half a cup of tofu contains 6.65 mg of iron and about 10 grams of protein.

Some studies have suggested that soy products reduce the risk of heart disease, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. Temp and NATO are other soy products that contain iron and can provide additional health benefits.

Tofu is available in several different forms including firm, soft and silken. People can grill or fry tofu to use as a meat substitute, add soft tofu to casseroles and mix cocoa powder and sweet blended silk tofu to make a delicious chocolate dessert.

Fortified cereals

Various breakfast bowls of cereal, including oats, contain iron that manufacturers add during processing. Protected grains are an important source of this mineral, providing about half of all dietary iron in America.

People should look for daily breakfast cereals that contain 100 percent of the daily value of iron per serving.

Although these cereals are generally suitable for vegetarians, vegans should check to see if vitamin D is added to the product to ensure that not all vitamin D sources are vegetarian.

Dark chocolate

Although the chocolate tradition is traditionally a sweet national dish, serving 3 ounces of dark chocolate provides 7 milligrams of iron.

Cocoa is one of the best sources of flavonoid antioxidants, which can provide heart benefits, protect nerves, boost immunity and improve cognitive function and mood. Although dark chocolate is an iron-rich food, it is high in calories, so people should enjoy it as an occasional treat.

Baked potatoes

Potatoes, especially their skins, are a good source of iron. A medium-sized potato provides 2 mg of iron to its skin. Potatoes are a staple food in many cultures and can benefit health in many ways. These are sources of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, resistant starch, vitamin C, and potassium.

For a full meal, people can top the baked potato with cottage cheese, hams, beans, or lentils and serve it with vegetables or salads. It is best to avoid adding lots of butter, oil, or cheese to potatoes as it increases the amount of fat and calories in food.


Spinach is low in calories but high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. One cup of cooked spinach provides 6.43 mg of iron.

Most people find it easier to add more soybeans to their diet by adding raw or steamed vegetables to soups and stir-fries. Raw couches can also be an ingredient in smoothies and salads.

Dried apricots

One cup of dried apricot half contains 4.1 mg of iron. Dried fruits are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They make the ideal breakfast because they are easy to eat on the go.

However, dried fruits are high in sugar and calories. To avoid the effects of weight gain or excessive sugar, people should enjoy moderately dried apricots.

Hulled hemp seeds

A 3-tablespoon serving of Huld Hamp seeds contains 2.36 mg of iron and 9 grams of protein. These seeds are one of the few plant-based sources of omega-3 fats, which are essential for heart and brain health.

A 2018 study reported that horn seed extraction demonstrated antioxidant effects in laboratory tests. These antioxidant benefits, combined with the omega-3 content of seeds, can protect against heart problems and neurodegenerative diseases.

People can sprinkle horn seeds on oatmeal, yogurt, or desserts or mix them in a smoothie for a breakfast rich in iron and protein.

Blackstrap molasses

Blackstrap molasses is a byproduct of sugar production. Unlike sugar, molasses retains nutrients derived from sugarcane, which include calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B-6.

This concentrated syrup is a good source of iron, providing 3.6 mg per tablespoon. However, to avoid eating too much sugar, it is better to limit the consumption of blackstrap molasses.

People usually use blackstrap molasses in baked goods and raw desserts as a glass for vegetables or to sweeten oatmeal.

How much iron do you need?

The National Institutes of Health recommends that women over the age of 50 and all adult men receive 8 mg of iron daily.

Women between the ages of 19 and 50 should take 18 milligrams a day, while pregnant women need 27 milligrams of iron for fetal health.

However, some sources suggest that vegetarians and vegetarians may have 1.8 times more of these amounts because the body does not absorb nonheme iron as easily as heme iron.

Low iron intake or absorption can lead to iron deficiency anemia.

Symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Fragile nails
  • Poor appetite

Anyone who is experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor.

In addition to being a source of vitamin C, eating iron-rich foods can increase the amount of iron your body receives from plant-based sources.

Good sources of vitamin C include:

  • Bell pepper
  • Broccoli
  • Boiled watermelon
  • Cauliflower
  • Citrus fruits
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes

They should avoid foods, beverages, and supplements that reduce iron absorption up to 2 hours before and after iron-rich foods.

These include:

  • Black tea
  • Calcium supplement
  • Coffee
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Menthol tea
  • Red wine


How do vegetarians increase iron?

1. Fortified breakfast cereals, both hot and cold. 2. Blackstrap molasses. 3. Green leafy vegetables. 4. Dried beans, such as black and kidney beans, and lentils. 5. Whole grains. 6. Enriched rice or pasta. 7. Pumpkin seeds. 8. Prune juice.

What drink is high in iron?

Prune juice is made from dried plums, or prunes, which contain many nutrients that can contribute to good health. Prunes are a good source of energy, and they don't cause a rapid hike in blood sugar levels. Half a cup of prune juice contains 3 mg or 17 percent iron.


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