Iron plays a part in several vital roles in the daily function of your body. Unfortunately, according to the WHO (World Health Organisation), iron deficiency (anemia) is not uncommon, even in developed countries.
Signs of iron deficiency include lowered immunity, upset stomach, difficulty concentrating, memory issues, feeling tired, and challenges regulating body temperature,
The recommended daily amounts of iron vary by gender and age.
Infants and Children: 7-15mg/day
Women Aged 19-50: 18mg/day
Pregnant Women: 27mg/day
Women Aged 50+: 8mg/day
Men Aged 19+: 8mg/day
Note: adults and teens should not exceed 45mg/day. The maximum amount for children under 13 is 40mg/day.
Plant (Vegan) Sources of Iron
Knowing some great plant sources of iron is extremely helpful if you’re sticking to the plant-based diet that we recommend in our protocols, and which many on a healing journey find beneficial.
One cup of cooked spinach packs in 6mg of iron. It also provides Vitamins A, B6, B9, C, E, and K, as well as protein, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and of course, fiber. Raw spinach also delivers iron, but cooking makes the mineral easier to absorb.
2. Chickpeas (Garbonzo Beans)
Chickpeas are part of the legume family and one cup delivers 5mg of iron. They are easy to add to salads or soups, and blending them with olive oil and lemon juice makes a delicious dip. An added benefit is that the lemon juice will make the iron more absorbable.
3. Pumpkin Seeds
You can count on over 2mg of iron and 10g of protein from a ¼ cup serving of these tiny treats. You can add them to baked goods, yogurt, salads, or just grab a handful. They also provide healthy fats and are said to help you get rid of parasites.
Also a legume, soybeans offer 4mg of iron, as well as protein (amino acids), manganese, copper, and fiber.
Lentils are a plant powerhouse, providing 6mg of iron per cup. They are also high in potassium and protein. They are also a very versatile ingredient. You can include them (or use as a foundation) for soups, chilies, and curry.
6. Sesame Seeds
They may be small but sesame seeds are a great source of iron. One cup provides 20mg of iron, as well as Vitamin E and zinc. If you add sesame paste (tahini) to your chickpea dip, you have a double-stack of iron and other essential nutrients.
7. Cooked Tomatoes
Cooking changes the nutritional profile of tomatoes. Half a cup of tomato paste provides almost 4mg of iron. Sun-dried tomatoes offer around 2mg of iron per half-cup. Cooked tomatoes also provide a good source of the antioxidant lycopene.
Those are just a few of the wonderful sources of iron the vegetable kingdom provides. Mixing these sources into delicious recipes guarantees variety and lots of healthy iron intake!