The common adage goes – ‘You are what you eat’, and you need to eat healthy to be healthy. Iron is one of the important nutrients needed by the body. An Iron deficiency can lead to unwanted health ailments, especially in women, as it may affect menstrual cycles and pregnancy. There are two forms of iron – heme and non-heme. The heme iron is found in animal products while non-heme iron is found in plants. If you are a vegetarian and are looking to increase your iron intake then you must add these 13 iron rich foods to your diet.
Green leafy vegetables have always been good for health and are also one of the most iron rich foods. Spinach contains vitamin C and a high amount of iron. If you don’t mind the mild, bitter taste, you can eat the leaves raw. However, you will not be able to get the daily required intake if you eat raw spinach. The best way to consume iron is cooked. One cup of cooked spinach leaves is recommended for daily consumption.
#2 Dried Apricots
Just like spinach, the iron content in apricots increase when you dehydrate them. Dried apricots make for excellent snack food and satisfy your cravings. They also contain no sugar content.
If you love nuts, then almonds is a great source of iron. To get the maximum benefit of almond, consume them raw. Blanching or roasting almonds snatches away essential nutrients. However, almonds are high in calories. Do not have more than an ounce (about 23 almonds) in a day.
#4 Pine Nuts
One of my favorite nuts is pine nuts. Pine nuts also known chilgoze in hindi are rich in Iron. Pine nuts serve as a great snacking food and it can also help curb your appetite. A great way to incorporate pine nut in your cooking is by substituting walnuts with pine nuts.
Coconut is yummy and can help you with weight loss goals. But did you know coconut is one of the unknown foods rich in iron? To get the maximum iron out of coconut, either eat raw coconut or add coconut cream to your gravy dish. Coconut water or milk is not rich source of iron.
#6 Pumpkin Seeds
If you don’t want to snack on nuts or coconut, then pumpkin seeds are your friends. Pumpkin seeds are not only rich in zinc, magnesium and Omega 3 but also iron. You could also make your bread, salad or cupcake yummy by sprinkling pumpkin seeds.
#7 Chick Peas
Chick Peas is one of the best iron rich foods for vegetarians. One of the best way to get iron content from chick peas is by preparing hummus (chick pea paste). You could enjoy hummus with carrots and celery.
#8 Red Kidney Beans
Growing up, I loved rajma chawal. While red kidney beans can give gas troubles, it is an excellent source of iron. Kidney beans can also help control blood sugar.
Known to be rich in protein, lentils are one of the iron rich foods. If you are a vegetarian, then incorporate lentils in your diet to get your daily intake of proteins and iron. Like kidney beans, lentils can also give you gas so avoid eating lentils at night.
#10 Tomato Paste
Tomato in itself does not have high source of iron but tomato paste can help you get that required iron intake. Tomatoes are also rich in Vitamin C which helps absorb iron faster.
The iron in potatoes lies in its skin. Try and have potato dishes where you don’t have to peel the skin.
Amaranth or chulai is rich in calcium, protein and iron. If you suffer from gluten allergy then amaranth is your friend. Add about 2 tbsp of amaranth to your porridge or oats and get iron power.
Oats are extremely rich in manganese, phosphorous, magnesium and iron. Instead of instant oatmeal, opt for steel-cut oatmeal. Oats can also curb your cravings.
These were just some of the iron rich foods for vegetarians. If you are looking for more foods rich in iron, then try adding cashews, mulberries, quinoa and dark chocolate to your daily diet.