A list of the 10 best vegan sources of iron that don’t involve eating meat or dairy products! This list is full of healthy plant-based ingredients high in iron!
Why is Iron Important? …
Iron is found in every single cell in our body. The primary function of iron in our body is the production of hemoglobin. Our hemoglobin molecules, which are essential for carrying oxygen throughout our system. Aside from just being important for oxygen, iron is also stored in our liver, spleen and bone marrow, which can be drawn from in case we need a little extra for hemoglobin production.
Best Vegan Sources of Iron.
Soy tends to get a bad rap in the health world, but it is still a very healthy product. Soy is high in protein and calcium and is also the best vegan source of iron out there. When you’re shopping for soy products, make sure you’re buying ones that are organic and non-GMO and try to limit your intake to a few times per week. If you aren’t sensitive to it already (through a sensitivity test), I think incorporating a little *high quality* soy into your diet is completely fine.
Molasses has been dubbed one of the healthiest sweeteners because it’s rich in quite a few minerals. It has the lowest sugar content of any cane sugar product – it’s actually the byproduct of sugar cane’s refining process and thus is packed with all the nutritional benefits. Black strap molasses contains high amounts of iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, selenium and calcium!
I absolutely love lentils! They’re easy to make, they’re super high in protein, and they taste delicious. Lentils are also high in fiber, they’re a great source of vitamin K, and they also contain a good amount of manganese and phosphorus. In addition, they’re incredibly versatile! You can use them in soups, stews, salads and can now even find lentil-based pasta!
Do I need to explain my love for quinoa? I don’t think so at this point! But quinoa is hands down one of my favorite grains. It’s high in protein and fiber, but it’s also high in a bunch of trace minerals including magnesium, manganese and iron. There are also a million and one different ways to eat quinoa (as proof by this site alone!).
5. Pumpkin Seeds
I don’t eat pumpkin seeds very often, but they’re one of those items I know I could add into my diet more. They’re so easy to just mix into things – whether that’s on top of a salad, tossed in a smoothie or used in a trail mix. They’re very vitamin and mineral rich and are also the highest source of iron in the nut/seed category.
Oh boy, do I love chickpeas! As someone who eats mostly plant-based, chickpeas are a staple in my diet. They’re high in fiber, high in protein and they’re super affordable. They’re also packed with other nutrients like calcium, potassium, phosphorus and yep, iron! Actually, most beans are high in iron, so the amount varies on the type of bean, but since chickpeas are one of the highest, that’s what I’ve highlighted below.
7. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard is a green that really doesn’t get talked about much. I don’t personally eat it frequently, but when I do I actually really enjoy it. I just don’t seem to reach for it at the store. That’s changing going forward though because swiss chard is the has the highest level of ironer than all other greens. I’m definitely going to add this into the weekly dinner rotation!
You know I love me some spinach! Spinach is one definitely a must-have on my staple grocery list, and is an ingredient I eat almost daily. Spinach is high in vitamins and minerals, as well as chlorophyll, calcium, protein, and iron. To me I also think spinach has the mildest taste of all greens, so I find it the easiest to incorporate into my diet. That’s probably why I eat it so much!
I’m obsessed with tahini. I pretty much put it on everything at this point! I especially love tahini in salad dressing, but it’s also fabulous as a drizzle on roasted vegetables, quinoa bowls and even stuffed peppers. Tahini is also super nutritious. It’s high in protein, full of healthy fats, and a great source of calcium and iron.
10. Dried Figs
I’ve raved about my love for figs many times before, and this is just another reason why they’re one of my favorite fruits. Figs are not only delicious, but they’re also high in fiber, vitamin A, B1 and B2 as well as manganese, potassium and calcium! Dried figs are actually higher in calcium than fresh figs, but both are great.
Don’t forget to eat balanced!