Iron Foods Vegetarian
Esha Dhawan
Jun 24, 2024

Iron, a vital mineral essential for oxygen transport and overall energy production, plays a crucial role in maintaining good health. For vegetarians, who may not consume iron from animal sources, it's essential to focus on plant-based foods rich in this nutrient. Let's explore the diverse array of vegetarian iron-rich foods available and learn how you can integrate them into your diet effectively for optimal well-being.

What is Iron and Why is it Necessary?

Iron is a crucial mineral that our bodies need to function properly. It plays a vital role in the production of haemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Without enough iron, you may experience fatigue, weakness, and a compromised immune system. Iron also supports metabolism and helps maintain healthy cells, skin, hair, and nails.

Iron comes in two forms: heme and non-heme. Heme iron is found in animal products and is more easily absorbed by the body, while non-heme iron is found in plant-based foods and requires more effort from the body to absorb.

For vegetarians, focusing on non-heme iron sources and enhancing their absorption is key to maintaining healthy iron levels.

List of 10 Foods Containing Iron For Vegetarians

Here are ten vegetarian iron-rich foods that a vegetarian person can incorporate into their diet to ensure they meet their daily iron requirements while also ensuring overall health and well-being.

1. Amaranth
2. Anjeer
3. Khapli Wheat
4. Quinoa
5. Lentils
6. Pumpkin Seeds
7. Spinach 
8. Tofu
9. chickpeas
10. Blackstrap Molasses

1. Amaranth

One of the many popular choices for vegetarian iron foods is Amaranth, a nutritious grain that is high in iron. It can be used in porridge, salads, or as a rice substitute. One cup of cooked amaranth provides about 5.2 mg of iron. It's also gluten-free, making it a great option for those with gluten sensitivities.

2. Anjeer (Dried Figs)

Dried figs are a sweet and iron-rich snack. They can be eaten on their own or added to cereals and desserts. A half-cup of dried figs provides about 1.5 mg of iron. Besides iron, figs are rich in fibre and other essential minerals.

3. Khapli Wheat

Khapli wheat, also known as emmer wheat, is an ancient grain high in iron. It can be used in baking or as a substitute for regular wheat. One cup of cooked khapli wheat provides about 3.1 mg of iron. It is also high in protein and dietary fibre.

4. Quinoa

Another grain that an iron-rich diet for vegetarians may include is Quinoa which is high in iron and a complete protein. It can be used as a base for salads or served as a side dish. One cup of cooked quinoa benefits your health by providing about 2.8 mg of iron. It's also gluten-free and contains all nine essential amino acids.

5. Lentils

One of the very common and versatile iron-rich foods in veg include Lentils. They can be used in soups, stews, and salads. One cup of cooked lentils provides about 6.6 mg of iron. Lentils also offer a good amount of protein and fibre, making them a staple in vegetarian diets.

6. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a crunchy snack that is high in iron. They can be eaten raw, roasted, or added to granola and salads. One ounce of pumpkin seeds provides about 2.5 mg of iron. They are also rich in healthy fats, magnesium, and zinc.

7. Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green that is high in iron and other nutrients. It can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in various dishes. One cup of cooked spinach provides about 6.4 mg of iron. It's also a great source of vitamins A and C, calcium, and magnesium.

8. Tofu

Tofu, made from soybeans, is a great iron source for vegetarians. It can be used in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries to smoothies. A half-cup serving of tofu provides about 3.4 mg of iron. Tofu is also high in protein and can be a versatile addition to meals.

9. Chickpeas

The next iron-rich veg food is Chickpea. Chickpeas can be used in hummus, salads, and stews. One cup of cooked chickpeas provides about 4.7 mg of iron. Chickpeas are also high in fibre and can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

10. Blackstrap Molasses

Among the many meatless iron-rich foodsis Blackstrap molasses, a byproduct of sugar cane processing. It can be used as a sweetener or in baking. One tablespoon of blackstrap molasses provides about 3.5 mg of iron. It is also rich in calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

How Much Iron Do You Need?

Now that we know the many iron-enriched foods for vegetarians, the amount of iron you need depends on your age, sex, and life stage. Generally, adult men need about 8 mg of iron per day, while adult women need 18 mg due to menstruation.

Pregnant women require even more, around 27 mg per day, to support the increased blood volume and the needs of the developing foetus.

For vegetarians, it is also crucial to avoid consuming foods and drinks that can inhibit iron absorption, such as coffee, tea, and foods high in calcium, during meals rich in iron. Spacing these out can help maximise iron uptake from plant sources.

The Takeaway

Vegetarians can meet their iron needs by incorporating a variety of iron-rich foods into their diets. By including foods like amaranth, dried figs, lentils, spinach, pumpkin seeds, tofu, chickpeas, khapli wheat, etc., you can ensure that you get enough iron to support your health. A well-planned vegetarian diet, rich in diverse iron sources and supportive nutrients, can effectively prevent iron deficiency and its associated health issues.

Discover a world of iron-rich, plant-based goodness at Amala Earth. Explore a range of mindful eating products and delicious options to support your healthy vegetarian journey. Visit Amala Earth today.

FAQs on Iron-Rich Foods For Vegetarians

How can I increase my iron levels as a vegetarian?

To increase your iron levels, include more iron-rich vegetarian foods like lentils, spinach, and pumpkin seeds in your diet. Pair these with vitamin C-rich foods to enhance absorption. Also, avoid consuming coffee, tea, and high-calcium foods during iron-rich meals.

What vegetarian food is the highest in iron?

Lentils are one of the highest iron-rich vegetarian foods, providing about 6.6 mg of iron per cooked cup. They are versatile and can be included in various dishes such as soups, stews, and salads.

What food is high in iron for vegetarians?

Foods high in iron for vegetarians include amaranth, dried figs, lentils, spinach, pumpkin seeds, tofu, chickpeas, quinoa, blackstrap molasses, and khapli wheat. Incorporating these into your meals can help you meet your daily iron requirements.

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