iron rich foods vegetarian

Iron Rich Foods – Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian Options

Iron is the most vital mineral for our body, and that’s the reason in your daily diet iron-rich foods, vegetarian and non-vegetarian, should be included.

Deficiency of iron will cause headache, low energy, anemia, shakiness, and difficulty breathing.

Iron is found in two various forms, haem & non-haem. Haem is located in, animals and non-haem are found in plants. However, non-haem is not absorbed by the body entirely, and vitamin C is needed to absorb.

That’s why people who eat iron-rich food, vegetarians, and vegans need 1.8 more iron according to RDI than people who eat non-veg food.

Iron absorption

Since for vegetarians and vegans, iron absorption is more complex, and they need the help of vitamin C or ascorbic acid.

Vitamin C has been shown to increase iron-rich foods vegetarians and vegans by 2 to 3 times.

Some examples of foods rich in vitamin C:

Any fruit or vegetable will supply some vitamin C, but good sources include:

  1. Spinach
  2. Broccoli
  3. Kiwi
  4. Cabbage
  5. Tomato
  6. Citrus fruits
  7. Capsicum
  8. Strawberry

Nutrients That Slow Iron Absorption


Tannins are plant complexes known as polyphenols. It is commonly present in tea, coffee, red wine, peppermint tea, and cranberries.

Even though tannins have some benefits, but it does inhibit the iron absorption.

If you are eating iron-rich foods, vegetarian and vegans, you should not drink or eat the above-mentioned foods just before or after your meal.

Say, you have your lunch at 1 pm, then drink your tea before 12 pm or 3 pm.

However, if your regular diet has many foods that are high in vitamin C, you do not need to avoid tea or coffee.


If you are taking a lot of zinc supplements, then it can hinder your iron absorption process.


Calcium is extremely vital for your bones, but it does inhibit the absorption process.

To avoid this, do not take calcium supplements while eating high in iron foods at the same time.

8 Benefits of Iron

Treats Anaemia

To treat anemia, iron is needed the most. It is one of the most common iron-deficient illnesses in the globe. Anemia happens when hemoglobin is lower than the usual range.

Indications of anemia include exhaustion, faintness, shortness of breath, heart palpitation, and a general sense of fatigue and dizziness.

Reduces Exhaustion

Iron might help achieve inexplicable exhaustion, which will affect both women and men.

Even if somebody does not have anemia, low iron will still decrease energy. This is particularly common in ladies, especially when they are pregnant.

Fatigue from lack of iron causes sleepiness. It causes weariness that inhibits a being’s everyday routine, and daily events may feel draining and less pleasurable.

Individuals with minor iron experience weakness that lasts for weeks or longer. Foods consist of iron, and supplements help a lot; even if you cook on cast iron, it will be beneficial.

Boosts Haemoglobin

The principal purpose of iron is to make hemoglobin, a red blood cell protein, which main work is to transfer oxygen to the blood.

Additional hemoglobin is significant since people lose blood in various ways, specifically from wounds. However, women tend to suffer from anemia more as they lose blood every month due to PMS.

Boosts Immunity

Iron plays a significant role in improving the immunity function. It helps hemoglobin, which offers oxygen to cells, organs, and tissues. Moreover, the body’s capability needs to fight viruses and other micro-organisms.

Therefore, the lower iron level can damage the immunity system and the curing procedure.

Proper Sleep Schedule

Researchers have said that there is a link between less iron in the body and sleep issues, including sleepless nights, insomnia, and sleep apnea.

Another research stated disturbed sleeping schedule in autistic kids improves when they have more iron in their diet.

Recovers Muscle Stamina

Low iron in the body is directly linked with muscle metabolism.

Muscle metabolism and low iron are linked. Suitable levels of iron aid to offer the essential oxygen for muscle stamina and contraction.

Moreover, muscle fatigue is another sign of anemia.

Lack of iron makes the muscles weakness easier. Low iron will make the muscle tissues sore and inflamed, causing pain.

Iron-rich hemoglobin aids to lessen pain since it treats the affected tissues.

Boost Concentration

Researches stated that a drop in cognitive level is related to low iron levels. Thus, a low iron level makes a person inattentive, and the effects are almost seen instantly.

However, once the iron level is at an average level, the person’s concentration boots.

Reduces Bruising

Some individuals bruise or get wounded easily; they suffer from iron deficiency.

That is because hemoglobin influences the function and making of platelets; they control blood clotting.

Constant injury is a sign that inner clotting is not working properly. Thus, iron supplement drinks are needed if you bruise yourself frequently.

Iron Rich Foods Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian

Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

Potatoes consist of significant quantities of iron, typically concerted in the skin.

Moreover, a 300 grams large unpeeled potato has 3.3 milligrams of iron, which is 19% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).

Sweet potatoes have a little less iron than potatoes, but it still 2.2 milligrams for 300 grams of sweet potatoes. That is 12% of the RDI.

Potatoes also have dietary fiber, and one bowl of potato has 45% of pyridoxine, vitamin C, and potassium of the RDI.


Seeds like flaxseeds, pumpkin, sesame, and hemp have the most amount of iron in them. This is a great iron-rich food for vegetarians and vegans.

2 tablespoons of these seeds have 1.3 to 4.3 milligrams of iron, 24% of the RDI.

Even foods made from these ingredients are great, too. 2 tablespoons of tahini, a food that has sesame seeds, has 2.7 milligrams of iron. It is 15% of the RDI.

Likewise, hummus, which has chickpeas is had a lot of iron too. ½ cup of hummus has 3 milligrams of iron, which is 17% of the RDI.

Seeds are also rich in fiber, antioxidants, selenium, protein, magnesium, zinc, and calcium.

They even contain omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids. Specifically, hemp seeds are rich in these 2 types of fatty acids.


Nuts have quite a bit of non-haem iron in them.

30 grams of cashew, almond, macadamia nut, and pine nut have 1.7 milligrams of iron or 10% of the RDI.

Similarly, all the nuts are also rich in healthy fats, protein, fiber, anti-oxidant, minerals, and vitamins as seeds. They also have valuable plant compounds.

However, it is important to remember that you need to eat the nuts raw cause if you roast the nuts, then the nutrient level drops.

Nut butter is a great iron source, too but do not choose any flavored ones as they have added sugar and preservatives.

Leafy Greens

Spinach, collard, beet greens, and swiss chard are all fall under leafy greens. One cup of cooked leafy green has 6.5 milligrams of iron, 37% of the RDI.

For instance, 100 grams of raw spinach has 1.2 times additional iron than that of 100 grams of red meat, whereas 2.4 times extra than that of the same quantity of salmon.

Also, 3.1 times more than the same quantity of boiled egg and 3.7 times more than 100 grams of chicken.

Cabbage, brussels sprouts, and broccoli also fall under leafy greens. A cup of cooked veggies has 1.9 milligrams of iron, which is 11% of the RDI.

iron rich foods vegetarian

Tofu and Soybeans

Soybeans and foods made from soybeans are rich in iron.

A cup of soybeans has 8.9 milligrams of iron, which is 50% of the RDI.

A cup of natto, a fermented soybean, has 17 milligrams of iron that is 84% of the RDI.

Likewise, 170 grams of tempeh or tofu has 4 milligrams of iron, 20 % of the RDI.

Moreover, soybeans have a high amount of protein (almost 20 grams) per cup and are also packed with magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.


Lentils are iron rich foods, vegetarian and vegan. A cup of cooked lentils has 6.7 milligrams of iron, which is 38% of the RDI.

The exact amount also consists of 19 grams of protein, which is 51% of the RDI.

Lentils have a noteworthy quantity of complex carbohydrates, manganese, fiber, and folate as well.


One cup of cooked oatmeal has 3.5 milligrams of iron, 20% of the RDI. It also has fiber, folate, plant protein, magnesium, and zinc.

Moreover, oatmeal has soluble fiber, known as beta-glucan; it regulates gut health, maintains cholesterol, controls blood sugar levels, and boosts energy and mood.


Raw tomatoes have deficient iron in them. But once they are concentrated and dried, they have a lot more iron.

For example, 120 milliliters of tomato paste or puree has 4 milligrams of iron or 24% of the RDI, whereas the same amount of raw tomato only has 0.6 milligrams of iron.

Even 240 milliliters of tomato sauce has 2 milligrams of iron, which is 12% of RDI.

Sun-dried tomatoes also are a high source of iron. Only ½ cup has 2.6 milligrams of iron or 15% of the RDI.

They are also rich in vitamin C, which helps to absorb iron for vegetarians and vegans.

Lycopene, an anti-oxidant present in iron, also helps to reduce sun burn.


Some varieties of mushrooms are super high in iron.

For example, a cup of cooked white mushroom has 2.8 milligrams of iron or 14% of the RDI.

Oyster mushrooms are also very high in iron and are almost 2 times more than white mushrooms.

However, shiitake and portobello mushrooms have a lot less iron quantity.


Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate has a lot more nutritional value than milk chocolate.

30 grams of dark chocolate has 3.5 milligrams of iron or 19% of the RDI.

Moreover, they also consist of fiber, manganese, copper, magnesium, and powerful anti-oxidants, protecting the body from various illnesses.

Dark chocolate improves blood flow, raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels, improves brain function, and lowers heart disease risk.

Beans and Peas

Various beans and peas also have a huge amount of iron in them.

A cooked cup of navy beans, red kidney, lima, and white beans have 6.7 milligrams of iron, which means 38% of the RDI.

Though, chickpeas and lobia (black-eyed peas) contain the most quantity of iron in them. A cup of cooked lobia or chickpea has 30% of the RDI or 5.3 milligrams of iron.

Moreover, they contain folate, plant compounds, manganese, fiber, complex carbohydrate, and phosphorus, all good for the body.

Peas and beans help reduce weight, control cholesterol, maintain blood sugar levels, and lower blood pressure.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is high in fat, but it is rich in iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium.

120 milliliters of coconut milk has 3.9 milligrams of iron or 22% of the RDI.

Coconut milk helps maintain strong bones, relaxes the muscle, is good for the nerves, and keeps blood sugar levels.

Some other high iron foods are prune juice, olives, apricots, quinoa, amaranth, palm hearts, wheat, and barley.

Final thoughts

Iron is important for our body. This mineral is found in many foods, and we have mentioned some of the most iron-rich foods, vegetarian and non-vegetarian, in the above list.

Moreover, the foods listed here are also rich in other nutrients, which will benefit people and keep them healthy.

Try to incorporate them into your daily diet, and you will achieve your daily iron consumption.