Iron is an important mineral that is essential to ensure the proper growth and development of our body. In addition, it is used to make hemoglobin and some hormones in our body. There are two different types of iron found in the food we eat and they are heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is animal-derived and non-heme iron is plant-derived.
Even though iron can be taken in the form of supplements, we can ensure enough iron intake from dietary sources. People following a vegan diet can obtain non-heme iron in dried fruits, dried beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, dark green leafy vegetables, and wholegrain cereals.
Vegan Foods With Iron
There is a popular misbelief that following a vegan diet will not provide you with adequate iron. However, this is not true; people following vegan meal plans are no more likely to develop anemia due to iron deficiency than the general population. As per many studies, people following a vegan meal plan typically consume adequate quantities of iron as their diet is rich in vitamin C that can improve the absorption of non-heme iron. Some of the vegan-friendly sources of iron are discussed below.
Lentils are commonly available in three types: green, red, and brown. A cup of lentils can provide you 6.6 mg of iron. In addition to iron, lentils are also high in fiber and potassium.
Beans are a perfect iron-rich addition to your vegan meal. A cup of kidney beans contains 5.2 mg of iron, the same quantity of lima beans will provide you with 4.5 mg of iron and a cup of soybeans can offer 4.5 mg of iron.
Tofu and tempeh are soy-based products and these are considered an integral part of a vegan meal. Among both, tofu has a higher iron content of 12 mg per cup. A cup of tempeh can provide you with 4.5 mg of iron.
A cup of cooked spinach can provide you with 6.4 mg of iron. Adding spinach to your vegan meals, whether sautéed in a dish, eaten raw, or added to smoothies, can be a very easy way to have iron from your plant-based diet.
This leafy green vegetable is renowned and liked by many due to its rich nutrient profile. It can be sautéed, eaten raw, or steamed. 4 mg of iron is present in a single cup of cooked swiss chard.