One of the concerns of vegans is getting enough iron in their diets. Vegans consume only non-animal sources of iron, which are not absorbed as readily; therefore, vegans need more sources of iron in their diets in order to obtain enough. Here is a list of some of the richest sources of iron for vegans.
Pumpkin and squash seeds
These seeds have almost 15 milligrams of iron per 100-gram serving.
Soybeans, white beans, lentils, lima, black, and pinto beans are good sources of iron (in descending order). One cup of cooked soybeans has almost 9 milligrams of iron, and 1 cup of cooked white beans has almost 7 milligrams.
Dark, leafy green veggies
Kale, spinach, chard, turnip greens and broccoli are examples of iron-rich leafy greens. Spinach has the most, at 6.4 milligrams per cup cooked.
Nuts and seeds
Many nuts are good sources of iron. Cashews, almonds, sunflower, flax, and sesame seeds are good sources.
Tiny, nutty-flavored quinoa boasts 6.3 milligrams of iron per cup cooked. Whole wheat has 4.6 milligrams per cup.
Two tablespoons of this dark, sweet liquid have 7.2 milligrams of iron.
Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy and broccoli are examples of cruciferous vegetables with iron content. One cup of cooked Brussels sprouts has 1.9 milligrams of iron. Bok choy has 1.8 milligrams of iron per cup cooked.
Cooking with cast-iron can add iron to the foods cooked in such cookware. Small amounts of iron leach into the food during cooking, and the microscopic size of the molecule aids absorption. Cast-iron pots, Dutch ovens and skillets can be used to cook most foods.
One large potato has 3.2 milligrams of iron. Potatoes are also high in Vitamin C.
Apricots and raisins are dried fruits that have significant iron. One-half a cup of raisins has 1.6 milligrams of iron, and 15 apricot halves contain 1.4 milligrams.
There are a couple of things to bear in mind regarding iron absorption for vegans. Iron absorption is aided by Vitamin C, and many plant sources of iron also contain Vitamin C. Still, it’s worthwhile to pair iron-rich foods such as nuts (which are low in Vitamin C) with Vitamin C sources such as bell peppers, citrus fruits, or tomatoes. Also, calcium and tannins inhibit iron absorption. Tea and coffee are sources of tannins that ideally should not be consumed at the same time as iron-rich foods.