Best Sources of Iron for Vegans
Iron is an essential nutrient because it is necessary for several bodily functions. For instance, it helps transport oxygen and other nutrients around your body. As such, experts recommend including iron-rich foods in your diet. However, some people believe that animal products are the best sources of this mineral. The good news is that vegans can also get this nutrient from plant sources. In fact, studies have shown that iron obtained from plant-based products can help protect your body against some health problems. So, what are the best sources of iron for vegans?
An ideal vegan diet includes lentils because of the numerous nutrients present in these foods. For example, a 120-gram serving of cooked lentils contains about 4.2 mg of iron. Aside from that, they are also a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients are essential to maintain a healthy and strong body.
Aside from nutrients, lentils also contain other healthful substances. To be specific, they are also rich in carotenoids and phenolic compounds. These substances are considered potent antioxidants. Also, they have anti-inflammatory properties that can protect your body against certain diseases.
Blackstrap molasses are among the best sources of iron for vegans. After all, it is a plant-based product with the highest amount of iron. To be specific, a tablespoon of this food contains about 20 to 25% of your daily recommended iron requirement. Unfortunately, it is also rich in calories. As such, you have to bear that in mind if you’re trying to lose unwanted pounds. Nevertheless, you don’t have to consume high amounts of blackstrap molasses. Instead, you can use it as a sweetener for baking or cooking.
Aside from those foods, you can also get high amounts of iron from soybean products, including tofu and tempeh. In fact, many experts recommend adding soybean products to a vegan diet because of the numerous nutrients it contains. For example, 100 grams of tempeh has about 3.6 mg of iron. Aside from that, it also has high-quality protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. The best part is that these soybean products are excellent alternatives for meat in your vegan recipes.
Kale has been considered a superfood because it is loaded with nutrients. In terms of iron, 100 grams of raw kale has about 1.6 mg of iron. Aside from iron, this green leafy vegetable is also rich in fiber and vitamins. Also, it contains healthful substances with potent cancer-fighting effects. Best of all, it is a versatile food. As such, it is not only an excellent ingredient for salads. You can also use it for soups, stews, and smoothies.
As presented, there are numerous sources of iron for vegans. The important part is to include these foods in your diet to ensure you get the daily recommended dose of this nutrient. You can also increase your body’s iron absorption by pairing these foods with foods rich in vitamin C. An example is a salad with kale. You can include strawberries or citrus fruits in the salad to make it more flavorful and absorb more iron.