5 plant foods high in iron | Why iron is so important

5 plant foods high in iron | Why iron is so important

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Before I get into 5 plant foods high in iron, do you realize just how important it is that you get enough iron in your diet daily? And even more so if you are pregnant.

Many people don’t realize the important role iron plays in our body.

One of irons main roles is to help our red blood cells transport oxygen all over our body.  Iron also has an important role in certain cell processes that produce our body’s energy.

Do you every wonder why you could be feeling so tired and fatigued for no reason? It’s possible your body could be lacking iron.

Iron and pregnancy

The recommended daily iron intake for adults is between 19.3-20.5mg for men and 17.0 – 18.9mg for women.

Around 50% of pregnant women don’t get enough iron.

During pregnancy it is recommended that women should increased iron intake by an extra 10-20mg per day.

This is because your body uses your iron stores to make extra blood (hemoglobin) for your baby. It also transports oxygen from your lungs, around your body and to your baby, therefore it is extremely important that you increase your iron intake during pregnancy.

Pregnant women should consult their doctor to make sure they get the right iron supplement. 

Plant foods high in iron

Signs of iron deficiency

There are many your body could be lacking in iron. Here are some of the more common signs that you could be iron deficient.

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dry and damaged hair and skin
  • Restless legs
  • Brittle fingernails
  • Swelling and soreness of the mouth and tongue

If you feel you could have an iron deficiency you should consult your doctor.

5 Plant foods high in iron

These are 5 of the best plant foods high in iron that you can include in your diet daily.

1. Soybeans and other beans

Soybeans are packed full of iron.

Including soybeans in your diet or consuming foods derived from soybeans such as tofu, tempeh and natto is a great way to boost your iron intake.

Soybeans contain around 8.8mg of iron per cup or 49% of the RDI

Natto, whcih is a fermented soybean product contains 15mg or 83% of the RDI.

168g of tofu and tempeh contain around 3.6mg of iron or 20% of the RDI

2. Silverbeet or Chard

Chard, also known as silverbeet is a highly nutritious leafy green vegetable.

It contains relatively high levels of magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and potassiumVitimans C,A,E & K 

It contains high levels of nitrate which is shown to lower bloody pressure. 

Silverbeet contains around 2-2.5mg of iron per cooked cup. 

3. Spinach

Spinach is another highly nutritious food that is very low in calories. 

100g of spinach contains 2.7mg of iron or 15% of the RDI. 

The iron from spinach is non-hemo iron which the body doesn’t absorb as well, but it is rich in vitamin C which is important because vitamin C significantly increases iron absorption.

4. Lentils

Lentils are another high iron food. They are part of the legumes group, and all legumes contain reasonably high amounts of iron.

Lentils contain 6.6mg of iron per cooked cup, or 37% of the RDI.

Lentils also contain high amounts of protein, fiber, complex carbs and folate.

5. Oats

Oats are a great way to get your daily fix of iron early in the morning! Oat’s are a tasty breakfast option or to ad to smoothies.

One cup of cooked oats contains around 3.4mg of iron or 19% of the RDI.

Oats can also give a feeling of fullness, reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels and promote gut health  because of the soluble fiber it contains called beta-glucan.

6. Nuts & Seeds

Nuts and seeds are an easy way to get some of your daily iron intake.

Pumpkin, hemp, sesame and flaxseed are the highest in iron.

They contain between 1.2-4.2mg of iron  per table spoon or 17% of the RDI.

Nuts and seeds are super easy to include in your diet. Add them to oatmeal, smoothies, sprinkle over eggs on toast, salads, stir fry, or even just as snack.

Pine nuts, macadamia nuts, cashews and almonds contain the highest amounts of iron in the nut family. 

To ensure you get the maximum amount of nutrients from nuts, eat them raw. 

Roasting or blanching can decrease the nutrient content. 

They contain between 1-1.6mg of iron per ounce or 6-95 of the RDI. 

7. Spelt

Spelt is an ancient grain containing 3.2mg of irion per cooked cup, or 18% of the RDI.

Spelt is also high in protein as well as containing complex carbs, fiber, magnesium, zinc, selenium and B vitamins. 

Iron supplements

Depending on your lifestyle, schedule and diet, it can he hard to make sure you are meeting your daily nutrient requirements with the food we eat.

That’s why supplements exist!

As an addition to consuming plant foods high in iron, supplements are an easy way to boost your iron intake and ensure you are always getting enough in your diet.

Speaking of supplements, you might enjoy my article on 5 Important supplements all women should take

Here are Amazon’s most recommended iron suplements.

Nature Made Iron 65mg

  • Color derived from Natural Source – No Synthetic Dyes
  • No Artificial Flavors. No Preservatives. No Yeast or Starch. Gluten Free
  • Vital for red blood cell formation
  • Helps support collagen production
  • May help with iron-deficiency anemia

Vitron-C Iron plus vitamin C 

  • High potency iron vitamin for iron deficiency; boosts energy by helping to fight fatigue in users with low iron levels
  • Only iron supplement brand that contains carbonyl iron—Provides gradual and gentle iron absorption which may minimize common side effects
  • Gluten Free, Vegan Certified, free of all major food allergens

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