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Top foods high in iron to include in to your diet

10 Top Foods High in Iron to include in your Diet

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on iron-rich foods, an essential component for a healthy lifestyle. Iron is a crucial mineral that supports several bodily functions, including oxygen transport and energy production. In this blog, we will explore various foods high in iron, especially focusing on plant-based options suitable for a vegetarian or vegan diet.


Iron deficiency is a common nutritional concern worldwide, leading to anemia and associated health issues. However, incorporating iron-rich foods into your diet can help combat this deficiency. Our focus will be on organic and vegetarian sources, steering     clear of non-vegetarian items. Remember, a balanced diet with adequate iron supports overall well-being and helps maintain energy levels throughout the day.

Understanding Iron: Heme vs. Non-Heme

Iron comes in two forms: heme and non-heme. While heme iron, found in animal products, is typically more easily absorbed by our bodies, non-heme iron from plant sources can also significantly contribute to our daily needs, especially when consumed with vitamin C-rich foods to enhance absorption.

Top 10 Iron-Rich Foods for a Plant-Based Diet

Here we present a curated iron rich foods list, focusing exclusively on vegetarian sources, inspired by the nutritional insights from health experts​​​​.

1. Lentils

Lentils are not just versatile and affordable but also an excellent source of iron, providing about 3.3 mg per half-cup serving. They are rich in protein, making them a fantastic meat alternative for vegetarians and vegans. Additionally, lentils contain significant amounts of fiber, which aids in digestion and promotes heart health. They are easy to cook and can be incorporated into a variety of dishes, such as soups, stews, salads, and curries, making them a staple in many cultural cuisines around the world​​.

2. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are a tasty and nutritious snack that offers a healthy dose of iron—about 2.3 mg per ounce. They're also a good source of zinc, magnesium, and healthy fats. These seeds can boost your intake of antioxidants and provide a crunchy texture to salads, bread, or granola. Roasting them can enhance their nutty flavor, making them a delightful addition to any meal or as a standalone snack​​.

3. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are nutrient-rich snacks that offer a host of health benefits, including a modest amount of iron, approximately 1.5 mg per ounce. In addition to iron, they are packed with healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them a nutritious addition to your diet. Sunflower seeds are particularly rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that supports skin health and immune function. They can be enjoyed roasted as a snack, sprinkled on salads or yogurt, or used in baking recipes to add texture and flavor. Incorporating sunflower seeds into your diet provides a convenient way to boost your iron intake while reaping the nutritional rewards of these tiny powerhouses.

4. Flax Seeds

Flax seeds are tiny nutritional powerhouses, providing about 1.3 mg of iron per tablespoon. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and lignans, which have antioxidant properties. Flax seeds can be ground and added to smoothies, oatmeal, or baked goods, enhancing their nutritional profile and promoting heart health and digestion.

5. Quinoa

Quinoa is a gluten-free grain known for its high protein and iron content, with one cup cooked providing around 2.8 mg of iron. It's also a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids, and is rich in fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, and antioxidants. Quinoa is versatile, easy to cook, and can be used as a base for salads, as a side dish, or in soups and stews. Its subtle nutty flavor complements a wide range of dishes​​.

6. Nuts

Nuts are excellent sources of non-heme iron, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Almonds, cashews, raisins, pistachios can be enjoyed as snacks, or added to salads, yogurts, and baked goods for added texture and nutrition. Besides iron, they provide magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E, supporting overall health and well-being​.

7. Millets

Millets are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains. They are a fantastic source of iron, providing more of the mineral compared to many other grains. Additionally, millets are rich in B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc. They are gluten-free and an excellent energy source, making them ideal for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Millets can be cooked similarly to rice or quinoa and included in salads, soups, and stews or used to make porridge or flatbreads​​.

8. Oats

Oats are a nutritious cereal grain known for their heart-healthy benefits, primarily due to their high fiber content. They also provide a decent amount of non-heme iron, especially when consumed in the form of whole oat groats or steel-cut oats. Besides iron, oats are a good source of magnesium, zinc, and thiamine. They can be enjoyed as a warm breakfast porridge, added to baked goods for texture and nutrition, or used in granola and snack bars. Oats are especially beneficial for heart health and can help lower cholesterol levels​​.

9. Brown Rice

Brown rice is a whole grain that retains its nutritious bran and germ layer, which are removed in white rice. This means it offers more fiber, vitamins, and minerals than its white counterpart, including modest amounts of iron. Brown rice is also a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, and B vitamins. It's versatile and can serve as a base for a variety of dishes, from stir-fries and salads to casseroles and bowls. Consuming brown rice can help maintain a healthy digestive system and provide sustained energy​​.

10. Beans and Pulses

Beans and pulses, including chickpeas, kidney beans are excellent sources of iron, protein, and fiber, making them ideal for vegetarian and vegan diets. They can help improve digestive health, reduce cholesterol levels, and maintain stable blood sugar levels. Beans and pulses are versatile and can be used in a wide range of recipes from soups and stews to salads and dips. Integrating these into your diet can enhance your iron intake while also supporting overall health​


Incorporating a variety of iron-rich foods into your diet is essential, especially if you follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Remember, the key to improving iron absorption from plant-based sources is to combine them with vitamin C-rich foods. By doing so, you ensure your body receives the iron it needs to function correctly.

Maintaining a diet rich in iron is crucial for health and vitality. A balanced diet not only helps prevent iron deficiency but also supports overall health and well-being. So, make sure to include these iron-rich foods in your daily meals and enjoy the plethora of health benefits they offer!