Your body needs iron to be healthy and strong. It is needed to make proteins, such as haemoglobin and myoglobin. Here’s where to find it as a vegan (and it’s not all about spinach….)
Vegan sources of iron
It shouldn’t prove too tricky getting enough iron as a vegan, as it’s found plentifully in many foods. Some of the best sources are:
- Dark green leafy veg
- Dark chocolate
- Sweet potatoes
- Dried fruit – raisins, dates, figs, prunes and apricots
- Pumpkin and pumpkin seeds (these are great sprinkled on top of your morning cereal or porridge).
How much iron do I need?
The UK’s RDA of iron varies depending on your age and sex:
- Male 19-50 years: 8.7 mg
- Females 19-50: 14.8 mg
- Females 50 years and over: 8.7 mg
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.
How to get enough iron
- 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.
- Don’t accept nutrition advice from Popeye. While spinach does contain iron, it doesn’t have significant amounts of it – just 2.71mg in 100g, in fact!
Food: Fortified cereals
Serving: 40 g
Iron (mg): Varies according to brands: Grape-Nuts and Raisin Bran are amongst the highest, with up to 12 mg per serving
Food: Baked beans
Serving: Half a tin
Iron (mg): 2.5
Serving: Medium-sized serving
Iron (mg): 1.3
Food: Kidney beans
Serving: Quarter of a tin
Iron (mg): 2