4 Plant Foods High in Iron
If you are vegetarian, vegan or just worried about whether you are getting enough iron this is the perfect post for you!
What is iron?
Iron is an important mineral which our body needs in order to thrive. It carries oxygen throughout the body, helps to create red blood cells and is essential for the growth and maturation of cells.
Why is it important?
Having low iron can mean you may become irritable, feel low on energy, experience thinning hair, brittle nails and pale skin. You may also experience dizziness, headaches, heart palpitations and are also more likely to fall ill as your immune system is not working at 100% of its ability.
Heme Vs Non Heme Iron
There are two types of iron found in your food: heme and non-heme. Heme iron is much more easily absorbed by the body but is only found in animal foods like red meat. This can be a problem for vegans and vegetarians.
Non-heme iron is found in plant foods and is poorly absorbed compared to heme iron.
Plant based foods high in iron
Making sure you work plenty of these types of foods into your diet could help boost your iron intake! Try combining these together in salads and with other animal derived iron rich foods to boost any meal or snack!
1. Dark leafy greens
Silverbeet, kale, spinach... these are all high in plant based iron as well as Vitamin C.
Add to salads, pies, fritatta. Sautee or steam as a side. These are also fantastic additions to smoothies!
2. Legumes & pulses
Lentils, soybeans, lima beans, chickpeas, black beans.
Simply add to soups, stews, smash on wholemeal toast, toasted sandwiches, shakshuka or casseroles! Try making your own dips, like hommus and enjoy with a salad or wholemeal seedy crackers.
3. Grains & cereals
Quinoa, brown rice, oats, wholemeal bread.
Swap your white rice or pasta for these alternatives. Or enjoy a nice bowl of porridge in the morning!
4. Nuts & Seeds
Brazil nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, sesame seeds...and more!
These can be used as toppings for salads, porridge, toast and soups but also can be made into granola, muesli and stirred through baked goods.
Boost your absorption
Don’t forget to boost your iron absorbtion with Vitamin C rich foods and fermented foods - here are 5 ways to Boost your iron absorption.
See your doctor
Make sure you get regular blood tests to check your iron and seek the advice of your GP, Accredited Dietician or Nutritionist.
Another good idea is to ask your doctor about iron tablets, or you can even purchase iron fortified foods or iron rich water sachets to add to beverages at the pharmacy.