Many people, especially vegetarians, suffer from iron deficiency which can have serious negative effects on the health. The National Institute of Health says that the recommended daily dosage of iron for the average adult is between 8-27 mg.
Men need significantly less iron in their diet compared to women, particularly breastfeeding, pregnant or older women. Meat is well-known as the best source of iron, however vegans and vegetarians need another option.
Luckily, there are many vegetables that are rich in iron which also taste great. The following vegetables are very simple to prepare and they will provide you with the amount of iron your body needs to function properly.
14 iron rich vegetables
No wonder spinach is Popeye’s favorite food. Spinach, along with other dark leafy greens, is very rich in iron. You can give your body the daily dose of iron by eating only 1 spinach salad. Just 3 cups of spinach contain 18 mg of iron which is more than the amount found in an 8oz steak.
Besides being rich in iron, broccoli also contains various nutrients such as magnesium, vitamin K and Vitamin C. Vitamin C is particularly important because it helps the body absorb the iron easier.
Lentils also contain dietary fibers, proteins and potassium. One cup of lentils daily provides more iron than eating an 8oz steak.
Kale is excellent for treating fatigue and anemia because of the high iron content. 3 cups of this vegetable contain 3.6 mg of iron. If you don’t like the taste of raw kale you can always use it in burgers, salads or soups.
- Bok choy
Bok choy is a cabbage with Chinese origin which is rich in vitamin A as well as in iron. 1 cup of this vegetable contain 1.8mg iron which is an excellent reason to include more of it in your diet.
- Baked potato
Just one baked potato contains even three times the iron that is found in a 3oz chicken serving. You can combine it with steamed broccoli, or you can eat it with some melted cheese and yogurt.
- Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds can be added in almost any meal, sauce, salad or dressing. You can get even 1.3 mg of iron by eating only 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds.
Just ½ cup of cashews contains 4 grams of iron but they are also very rich in proteins.
Soybeans are another excellent source of protein and iron since 1 cup of them contains 8-9 mg of iron. They are among the 20 most protein-rich foods.
1 cup of chickpeas provides you more than half of the recommended daily dose of iron for adults. You can combine them with feta, cucumber and tomatoes or you can prepare a crunchy snack by roasting them in olive oil.
- Dark chocolate
Besides being a delicious treat, dark chocolate is actually very healthy because it increases the levels of iron in the body, it promotes healthier skin and teeth and also helps reduce anxiety.
Eating only 1oz of dark chocolate will provide your body with the same amount of iron that 1oz of beef provides.
- Swiss chard
Swiss chard is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, C and K, folates as well as iron. 1 cup of this vegetable provides more iron than eating a 6oz hamburger.
Tofu can be prepared in numerous ways; you just need to find the one you will like the best. You can provide your body with 3 mg of iron by eating ½ cup of tofu.
- Kidney beans
Kidney beans can be used in various vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. 1 cup of this vegetable contains 3-4 mg of iron.