Iron Rich Food for Vegetarians: Get Your Daily Iron Dose Without Meat

Iron Rich Food for Vegetarians
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Iron is an essential mineral that plays a vital role in many bodily functions, including oxygen transport, energy production, and immune system function. Vegetarians may be at risk of iron deficiency because they do not consume meat, which is a good source of iron. However, there are many delicious and iron-rich vegetarian foods available.

Why is iron important for vegetarians?

Iron is essential for vegetarians because it helps to transport oxygen throughout the body. When you have low iron levels, you may experience symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, and dizziness. Iron deficiency can also lead to anemia, which is a serious condition that can affect your overall health and well-being.

How much iron do vegetarians need?

The recommended daily intake of iron for adult vegetarians is 18 mg. However, certain groups of people may need more iron, such as pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls, and people with certain medical conditions.

Iron-rich vegetarian foods:

Here is a list of delicious and iron-rich vegetarian foods:

  • Legumes: Lentils, beans, peas, and soybeans are all excellent sources of iron. For example, a cup of cooked lentils contains 6.6 mg of iron.
  • Tofu and tempeh: Tofu and tempeh are soy-based products that are also good sources of iron. A half-cup serving of tofu contains 3.6 mg of iron.
  • Dark leafy green vegetables: Kale, spinach, and collard greens are all packed with iron. One cup of cooked kale contains 6.4 mg of iron.
  • Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are a good source of iron, as well as other essential nutrients. For example, a quarter-cup serving of almonds contains 1.6 mg of iron.
  • Iron-fortified cereals: Many cereals are fortified with iron, making them a quick and easy way to get your daily dose of iron.

How to increase iron absorption:

There are a few things you can do to increase iron absorption from your diet:

  • Eat vitamin C-rich foods along with iron-rich foods. Vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, tomatoes, and broccoli.
  • Avoid drinking tea or coffee with meals. Tea and coffee contain tannins, which can interfere with iron absorption.
  • Cook iron-rich foods in cast iron cookware. Cast iron cookware leaches iron into food, increasing the iron content of your meals.


Iron is an essential nutrient for everyone, but it can be especially difficult for vegetarians to get enough iron from their diet. By eating a variety of iron-rich vegetarian foods and following the tips above, vegetarians can ensure that they are getting the iron they need to stay healthy.