Updated: Mar 28, 2019
Iron, we need it for oxygen transport, making DNA and moving electrons around our body (1), but if you’re following a healthy plant-based diet what is the best source?
When eating a vegetarian diet we absorb around 5-12% of the iron we consume (2,3), for a sneaky way to increase this percentage check back in on Friday. The amount we need per day according to the NHS (3) is as follows:
8.7mg a day for men over 18 14.8mg a day for women aged 19 to 50 8.7mg a day for women over 50
Even though the bio-availability (the amount absorbed) is low, with these potent plants and bad-boy beans you’ll have no problem hitting your daily needs.
Top 6 sources per 100g
1. Beans and legumes
Kidney beans - 9.35mg
Lentils - 7.39mg
Tofu - 5.3mg
Sesame seeds - 14.76mg
Pumpkin seeds - 8.82mg
Chia seeds - 7.72mg
Sundried tomatoes - 9.1mg
Baked potatoes - 7mg
Spinach - 3.57mg
Goji berries - 6.8mg
Dried apricots - 6.3mg
Prunes - 3.52mg
5. Spices (bear in mind you only have very small amounts of these, but it’s good to know which are the best)
thyme dried - 123.60mg basil, dried - 89.80mg Spearmint, dried - 87.47mg
Rice bran - 18.5mg
Wheat bran - 10.57mg
Source for food: USDA food database
Abbaspour, N., Hurrell, R. and Kelishadi, R., 2014. Review on iron and its importance for human health. Journal of research in medical sciences: the official journal of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, 19(2), p.164.
Aggett PJ. Iron. In: Erdman JW, Macdonald IA, Zeisel SH, eds. Present Knowledge in Nutrition. 10th ed. Washington, DC: Wiley-Blackwell; 2012:506-20.
Hurrell R, Egli I. Iron bioavailability and dietary reference values. Am J Clin Nutr 2010;91:1461S-7S. [PubMed abstract]