Iron is a vital nutrient for the body. Lack of iron causes many health problems like shortness of breath, dizziness, irritability, anemia, headaches, and low energy. Iron is also important for strong bones. There are two forms of iron- heme and non-heme. Non-heme iron compound is found in vegetarian foods. The average daily iron intake requirement of a person is 18 mg, but it can vary depending on gender and age. Including iron content in your daily diet is very crucial.
Here we have a list of iron-rich vegetarian foods that you can include in your diet if you are planning to increase iron content in your body. These iron-rich fruits, vegetables, foods, and nuts altogether will fulfill your required daily iron intake. Read to know more.
- Olives- If you didn’t know this earlier, let me tell you that olives are a part of the fruit family. Olives have a high content of iron, around 3.3 mg per 3.5 ounces (or 100 grams). It contains 18% of the daily iron intake required by the body. Olives are also a great source of healthy fats, soluble Vitamin E and A and also fiber. Olives are also known to provide various health benefits like reducing the risk of heart diseases.
- Prune Juice- Prunes are commonly used to help in relieving constipation because they have a mild laxative effect on the body. Did you know Prunes are iron-rich fruit? One cup prune juice contains about 3 mg of iron content, which makes it 17% of the required daily iron intake. Prune Juice is also a good source of potassium, vitamin c, fiber, manganese, and vitamin B6.
- Mulberries- Mulberries have a very impressive nutritional value apart from being an iron-rich fruit. Mulberries make up for 14% of daily required iron intake. One cup of mulberries contains 2.6 mg of iron. Mulberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C, makes 85% of the required daily intake of Vitamin C. mulberries are loaded with antioxidants and minimizes the risk of heart diseases, cancer, and diabetes.
Iron-rich vegetables- Vegetables make up the best iron-rich foods. Vegetable has high iron content in comparison to eggs and meat. Vegetables are a rich source of Vitamin C, which increases the iron absorption in the body. Here is a list of iron-rich vegetables and vegetable-derived foods list.
· Potatoes- Potatoes have a lot of iron, most of which are concentrated in the potato skin. An unpeeled potato contains 3.2 mg of iron. It contains 18% of the daily iron intake required by the body. Sweet potatoes, which belong to the potato family, contains 2.1 mg of iron. Potatoes are also a good source of Vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and Vitamin B6.
· Leafy Green Vegetables- Green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, collard, Swiss chard, beet greens are rich in iron. One cooked cup of these green vegetables contain 2.5-6.4 mg iron. These green leafy vegetables make up for 14-36% of the required daily iron intake.
Consuming leafy green vegetables can be a little difficult for some people, its best to consume 100 grams cooked in any form. Some more green vegetables which are high in iron quantity are cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. One cup of these cooked vegetables contain 1-1.8 mg iron.
· Mushrooms- There are certain kinds of mushrooms which are rich in iron. one cup of cooked white mushrooms contains 2.7 mg of iron and make up for the 15% of required iron intake in the body. Oyster mushrooms contain two times more iron than the white mushrooms.
· Tomato paste- Tomatoes are another iron-rich vegetable. Dried or concentrated tomatoes contain way more iron quantity than the raw tomatoes. Half a cup of tomato paste contains 3.9 mg iron, which is 22% of the required daily iron intake. At the same time, 1 cup of tomato sauce contains 1.9 mg iron that is 11 % of the RDI. Sun-dried tomatoes provide 2.5 mg iron in every half cup.
Tomatoes are also a great source of Vitamin C, and as we know, vitamin c increases the iron consumption capacity of the body. Tomatoes are a good antioxidant source that helps in minimizing sunburn.
Iron-rich Nuts– Seeds and nuts are an excellent source of Iron-rich vegetarian foods. If you want to increase your daily iron intake, include the following iron-rich foods, nuts, and seeds in your daily diet.
· Pumpkin seeds, Hemp, Sesame and Flax seeds- Sesame, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp are rich in iron. Two tablespoons of these seeds contain around 7-23% of the required daily iron intake. Foods derived from these iron-rich seeds should be a part of your diet. Some of the examples of seeds derived food products are, Tahini, a sesame seeds paste contains 2.6 mg iron.
Chickpea paste called Hummus contains around 3 mg iron in half a cup. These seeds are also a good source of calcium, plant protein, fiber, calcium, zinc, magnesium, selenium, antioxidants, and other healthy plant compounds.
· Pine Nuts, Cashews, and other Nuts- nuts contain a great amount of iron and other healthy vitamins and minerals. These particularly contain non-heme iron. Iron content in almonds, cashews, macadamia, and pine nuts is around 1-1.6 mg in one ounce. Nuts are also a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, good fats, and minerals.
These also contain antioxidants. Roasting these nuts is not a great idea if you want to keep the nutritional value intact. You can nuts butter, without added sugars, and oils. Include these nuts in your daily diet to increase iron consumption.