Iron Rich Vegetables: Sources of Iron for Vegetarians
Top 10 Fruits Rich in Iron
Dates, pomegranate and raisins are just some of the fruits rich in iron. Read more about fruits rich in iron here:
Get your blood pumping with Iron Rich Vegetables
Lacking in Iron? Have you been diagnosed with iron deficiency, otherwise known as anemia? Or are you a vegetarian simply looking for more iron rich vegetable sources to add to your daily diet? Whatever the case, it pays to know the benefits of including iron rich sources in your dietary intake in order to better appreciate the functions of this important mineral.
Without iron, most organisms in the world, including humans, would not be alive today. Our bodies cannot produce iron on its own and we need to supply our bodies with iron rich sources regularly.
Red meat and organ meats are commonly recognized as iron-dense sources, but many vegetables and legumes are iron rich as well. Iron rich vegetables are often characterized by dark green colored leaves, and are often slightly bitter. Many beans and legumes are rich in iron as well.
Symptoms of Iron Deficiency
- Constant fatigue and lethargy
- Slow physical and mental development in children
- Poor performance in school for children
- Inflamed tongue (Glossitis)
- Problems regulating proper body temperature
- Weak immune system
Health Benefits of Eating Iron Rich Vegetables Daily
Iron is an essential mineral in our body for forming hemoglobin, the red pigment in red blood cells that transports oxygen around the body.
- Without red blood cells, how would essential nutrients and energy be supplied to the various organs in our body?
- Iron rich vegetables also help prevent anemia and also protect people susceptible to anemia from iron deficiency especially pregnant mothers.
- Iron is involved in the conversion of blood glucose into energy to be used by body cells
- Children require iron for proper physical and mental growth and development
- Iron is required for the efficient functioning of the immune system.
List of top iron rich vegetables
Meat is not the only best source of iron rich foods – even vegetarian sources are highy potent. Let’s take a look at the top iron rich sources in vegetables and legumes.
Note: RDA% refers to the percentage Recommended Daily Allowance of the nutrient, i.e. iron, for a healthy adult.
1. Mushrooms Amongst mushrooms, the type with the highest source of iron are Morel mushrooms . Morel mushrooms are prized in gourmet cooking and among fitness gurus for their low calorie value and meaty texture. They have a hollow stem and a deep brown honeycomb textured top. They are not widely available but can be found during season in local farmers markets.
RDA% of Iron
2. Lemon grass Widely used in Thai cooking, lemon grass is a citrus flavoured grass that is commonly used to flavour soups, curries and special teas.
3. Swiss chard A leafy green vegetable commonly used in Mediterranean cooking, it has deep green or reddish thick leaves. It is a super-green with many different phytonutrients and antioxidants, as well as a healthy serving of iron.
1 serving, cooked
4. Chickpeas Also known as Garbanzo beans, chick peas are a delicious legume, rich in iron as well as other potent nutrients.
5. Beans Beans are leguminous seeds that come in pods and they are present in many varieties, from white skinned, deep red skinned, green skinned to black skinned. Not only are they rich in iron, but they are also rich in protein, making them a good foods source for vegetarians and vegans alike. Take a look at this table showing different beans, plus their iron content.
Type of bean
Iron Content/1 cup serving
8.8 mg (per 172 gms)
5.8mg (per 3/4 cup)
6. Spinach Perhaps the most popular of dark green vegetables, spinach is a high nutritional vegetable, brimming with many antioxidants. It is a powerful iron source and can be eaten almost daily. Cooked spinach contains a higher iron content than fresh spinach. With many greens, you may notice that some nutrients are absorbed better when cooked.
7. Lentils Also known as pulses, these are part of the legume family and are dense in a variety of nutrients, not just iron, including protein, manganese and folic acid.
1 cup, boiled
8. Parsley Fresh and light, parsley is recognized as a potent and sweet tasting leafy vegetable to juice. It is a relative of celery and is popularly used as table garnish. The nutrients in parsley have been studied to inhibit tumor growth in the lungs, among other benefits.
One of the most popular herbs in the world, parsley contains a significant amount of iron essential for hemoglobin formation. 2 tablespoons of parsley contain 0.47 mg of iron. This is about 2.6 % of the daily recommended value of iron.
Iron Content (RDA)
Pictures of Some Iron Rich Vegetables & Meal Suggestions
Other iron rich vegetables
These vegetable iron sources are not as iron dense as the ones explored above – however, they are still fairly potent sources and must not be ignored.
9. Broccoli This cruciferous vegetable contains a significant 0.66 mg of iron per 91 grams. Broccoli is also loaded with immune-boosting vitamin C, vitamin K for proper blood clotting and folate, essential for cell repair.
10. Collard Greens ½ cup of collard greens contains 2 mg of iron. 100 grams of collard greens contains 0.19 mg of iron. Eating a cup of cooked collard greens everyday can give you a 12.2% daily value of iron.
11. Turnip green This bitter tasting vegetable, known for its high levels of calcium is a very good source of iron. 1 cup of turnip greens contains about 1.15 mg to 2 mg of iron.
12. Kale There is 1.17 mg of iron per 130 g of cooked kale. Steamed kale is most beneficial for lowering high cholesterol levels in the body. Kale is also rich in a wide variety of phyto-nutrients that help steer away cancer-causing compounds.
13. Brussels sprouts One cup of raw brussels sprouts contains 1.23 mg of iron. Brussels sprouts are also highly rich in immune boosting Vitamin C, vitamin K for proper healing of wounds and vitamin A for night vision.
14. Green peas 100 grams of green peas contain 1.4 mg of iron. Green peas are rich in phyto-nutrients that have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
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