Iron-Rich Foods Every Vegan Needs To Know About

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If you experience fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and have poor concentration, it may be a sign of iron deficiency. Due to no intake of animal products, the iron intake of vegans is usually low. Consume watermelon, berries, lentils, oatmeal, tofu, quinoa, broccoli, and cashews to make up for the iron deficit. To increase iron absorption, eat foods that contain vitamin C and avoid coffee or tea before a meal.

Not consuming animal products can affect your iron intake. Fortunately, there are several other vegan foods that can make up for it.

Iron is primarily required for transporting oxygen from the lungs to different parts of the body. It helps in maintaining the levels of oxygen and is essential for the production of blood.

Men require 19.3–20.5 mg of iron per day and women require 17.0–18.9 mg per day. The average dietary intake of iron in pregnant women is 14.7 mg per day.1

Iron deficiency can lead to headaches, depression, weakness, shortness of breath, inability to concentrate, and chronic fatigue.

Vegan Foods Rich In Iron

Foods that are rich in iron

Include these iron-rich foods in your diet to increase brain and muscle function and boost your energy levels.

  • Watermelon
  • Quinoa
  • Oatmeal
  • Soybeans
  • Pistachio
  • Lentils
  • Collard greens
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Pomegranate
  • Tofu
  • Lima beans
  • Cashews
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Brown rice
  • Prune juice

Certain vegans and vegetarians suffer from an iron deficiency even they have iron-rich foods on a daily basis. It is difficult for the body to absorb iron from a plant-based iron source. However, incorporating foods into your diet that contain vitamin C can help your body absorb iron effectively.2 Additionally, avoid drinking coffee or tea right before a meal as it inhibits iron absorption.3

Iron-Packed Vegan Recipes

1. Quinoa And Spinach Salad

Iron-rich quinoa and spinach salad

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups of halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 ½ cups of chopped spinach
  • 400 grams of cooked white beans
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Instructions 

  • In a saucepan, boil quinoa in 1 cup of water over high heat. Once it boils, allow it to simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add cooked tomatoes, spinach, quinoa, and beans to a bowl, and mix it thoroughly.
  • In another bowl, combine maple syrup, garlic powder, vinegar, salt, and pepper and whisk.
  • Pour this dressing into the other bowl and stir it till all the ingredients combine.

2. Broccoli Soup

Iron-rich broccoli soup

Ingredients 

  • 450 grams broccoli
  • ¾ cup of soaked cashews
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 diced onions
  • 2 stalks of chopped celery
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 3 chopped carrots
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of ground pepper

Instructions

  • Heat some oil in a large pot, add diced onions and saute for a few minutes.
  • Add celery, carrots, broccoli, and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes.
  • Add 5 cups of water, salt, and pepper. Stir and bring it to a boil.
  • Lower the heat, cover the pot and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes.
  • To make cashew cream, blend soaked cashew with a cup of water.
  • In a large blender, blend soup until smooth.
  • Add the cashew cream to the pureed soup and mix well.

3. Prune Juice

Prune Juice

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup dried prunes
  • 5 cups water

Instructions 

  • Remove pits from the prunes and soak them in boiling water for about 24 hours.
  • Blend the prunes along with the water, until it forms a smooth mixture.
  • Sieve it into a container and add more water.
  • Store it in the refrigerator and serve chilled.

Note: Although it is difficult for adults to overdose on iron through foods and supplements, children can overdose on iron supplements, resulting in dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If you are required to take supplements, ensure that you consult your doctor for the right dosage and keep them away from children.

References   [ + ]

1.Iron. National Institutes of Health.
2.Hallberg, Leif, Mats Brune, and Lena Rossander. “The role of vitamin C in iron absorption.” International journal for vitamin and nutrition research. Supplement= Internationale Zeitschrift fur Vitamin-und Ernahrungsforschung. Supplement 30 (1989): 103-108.
3.Morck, Timothy A., S. R. Lynch, and J. D. Cook. “Inhibition of food iron absorption by coffee.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 37, no. 3 (1983): 416-420.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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