Iron In A Vegan Diet

A great way to guarantee you’re absorbing enough iron from plant foods is to eat a significant source of vitamin C with meals (such as an orange or orange juice), and avoid tea and coffee when eating.

Iron Man and WALL-E

Your body needs iron to be healthy and strong. It is needed to make proteins, such as haemoglobin and myoglobin. Popeye, however, wasn’t entirely accurate; while spinach does contain iron, it doesn’t have significant amounts of it – just 2.71mg in 100g[1], in fact!

Some iron-rich foods are other dark green leafy veg, dark chocolatesweet potatoes, peas, tofu, dried fruit – raisins, dates, figs, prunes and apricots, molasses, beans, artichokes, pumpkin and pumpkin seeds (these are great sprinkled on top of your morning cereal or porridge).

Here are some more suggestions, complete with levels:

Food Serving Iron (mg)
Fortified cereals 40 gr Varies according to brands: Grape-Nuts and Raisin Bran are amongst the highest, with up to 12 mg per serving
Baked beans Half a tin 2.5
Spaghetti Medium-sized serving 1.3
Kidney beans Quarter of a can 2

A very small percentage of women develop iron-deficiency anaemia – this is especially the case with endurance runners, or women with heavy periods. If you have concerns about your iron levels, please visit your GP. They may decide to take a blood test and recommend supplementation if your iron levels are low.

The US National Institutes of Health RDA[2] varies depending on your age and sex:

  • All age groups of men and postmenopausal women – 8 mg/day
  • Premenopausal women – 18 mg/day
  • The median dietary intake of iron is approximately 16 to 18 mg/day for men and 12 mg/day for women.

 

References

[1] https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/11457

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK222309/#:~:text=The%20Recommended%20Dietary%20Allowance%20(RDA,12%20mg%2Fday%20for%20women.


This Nutrition page has been fact checked by the Spoon Guru Nutrition Team

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