Iron is one of the most important nutrients for our bodies. It is necessary to make you strong with healthy hair, nails and skin. People deficient in iron also have weak immune systems and report feeling stressed, tired, sleepy and lethargic. Normally, women need 18 mg of iron per day, and men need 8mg per day. This need can be fulfilled if you have a good diet. Consuming red meat was considered the best way to get iron, but eating meat is not the preference of all. If you are a vegan who wants a balanced diet, here is Katheleen Alleume’s complete vegan health guide outlining vegan foods rich in iron. Have a look.
They are light, easy to digest, and among the best sources of iron for vegans. Whether you eat peas, beans, lentils, soybeans, peanuts or any other legume, you can easily contribute greatly to your need for iron. If you don’t like eating legumes directly, consume foods made from them, like tofu, natto, tempeh etc.
Fruits & Vegetables
The mainstream media harps about the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables, and often people get desensitised to the information due to it. However, as a vegan, you get all your nutrition from plant-based foods, and they are the best for boosting your immunity. Thus, focus on eating iron-rich fruits and veggies like beets, dates, dried apricot, spinach, fenugreek, kale, tomatoes, etc.
Dark Chocolate & Coconut Milk
You don’t have to sacrifice your taste buds and sweet craving because you can get iron from dark chocolate and coconut milk. You can consume these items by baking something delicious. Just make sure to use whole coconut milk.
Nuts & Seeds
Do you like snacking? Turn this habit to your benefit by snacking on nuts and seeds rich in iron and antioxidants. You can buy a pre-mixed nuts & seeds pack or make one at home by combing a variety of them that you like. Seeds the richest in iron are pumpkin, sesame, hemp and flaxseed. Nuts that are a good source of iron are almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts and pine nuts.
They are delicious, and you can get 2.7 mg of iron from a cup of cooked white mushrooms. Thus, if you haven’t added this iron-rich food to your daily diet, then do it now to avoid getting anemic.
If you don’t know what a palm heart is, you should because it can have a whopping 4.6 mg of iron in one cup. It is a vegetable that is low in calories and high in fibre. You can find it with canned or pickled veggies. This food is rich in iron and has good amounts of zinc, carbohydrates, vitamin B6, and many other nutrients.
Increase Iron Absorption
Knowing which foods are good sources of iron is important, but you must eat them with other things to increase iron absorption. Here are tips on how to achieve that.
- Include vitamin C in your diet because it increases iron absorption by acting as a reducing agent. Also,
- It is best if you can have something citric with a portion of iron-rich food.
- Cook in cast iron pans and pots as it naturally fortifies your food with iron.
- Avoid drinking tea or coffee right before or after taking iron-rich foods. You should give a gap of at least an hour.
- Like tea and coffee, don’t consume calcium-rich foods with iron as it decreases the nutrient’s absorption by 50%.
- Avoid taking iron and calcium supplements together because not only does it affect absorption, but it also causes stomach upset.
- Make sure your vitamin B intake is good to promote more blood production. It is often termed folate and plays a huge role in keeping your hemoglobin up.
The Bottom Line
Eating a balanced diet with iron-rich foods is crucial to living a healthy life. Your body cannot be strong and robust if your diet is low in iron and other nutrients. Thus, use this guide if you are a vegan and need to make your diet balanced with iron-rich foods. Eating adequate amounts of iron is essential and a habit that can change your life.