Iron-Packed Veggies to Boost Your Energy and Brighten Your Smile!

If you constantly feel tired, suffer from a pounding heart, or have a pale complexion, it may be time to give your iron levels a boost. Rather than turning to heme iron which is primarily found in blood and muscle, consider non-heme iron, the form of iron that is predominately found in plant foods. While heme iron is absorbed better than non-heme iron, it may still increase your risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. In this blog post, you’ll discover the best vegetable sources of iron and how to easily incorporate them into your daily meals.

Non-Heme Iron Rich Foods

Some of the best vegetarian sources of non-heme iron include:

  1. Spinach
  2. Lentils
  3. Chickpeas
  4. Spirulina
  5. Chia Seeds
  6. Tofu
  7. Pumpkin Seeds
  8. Quinoa
  9. Beans (kidney, black, navy, and pinto)
  10. Dried fruits (such as apricots, raisins, and prunes)

To further enhance your body’s ability to absorb non-heme iron, ensure you consume an adequate amount of vitamin C.

Iron-Packed Recipes for Everyday Meals

Now that you know the best vegetable sources of iron, here are a few of our favorite recipes to help you incorporate these iron-rich foods into your daily diet.

Spinach and Lentil Soup
Reap the benefits of both spinach and lentils in this flavorful soup. Simply sauté onions, garlic, and carrots in olive oil before adding vegetable broth, green lentils, and a bay leaf. Let the soup simmer until the lentils are tender and then stir in chopped spinach until it wilts. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Chickpea and Spirulina Salad
Spirulina is a nutrient-dense superfood with a high supply of protein, complex carbohydrates, iron, and vitamins A, K, and B complex. It’s also a powerful antioxidant with anti-aging and anti-cancer properties. Create a vibrant salad by combining cooked chickpeas, sliced cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumber, and crumbled feta cheese. Season with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Lastly, sprinkle a teaspoon of spirulina powder over the salad and gently toss to combine.

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Quinoa is a gluten-free, vegetarian, protein-rich superfood that can be used for countless delicious meals. Prepare a batch of quinoa and mix it with sautéed onions, garlic, tomatoes, black beans, and corn. Season the concoction with cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper before stuffing pre-cooked bell peppers. Top each stuffed pepper with shredded cheese before baking for about 25 minutes, or until the cheese melts and turns golden brown.

Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Fall is the perfect time to make use of pumpkin seeds, which are rich in non-heme iron. To create a pumpkin seed pesto, blend toasted pumpkin seeds, fresh basil leaves, grated Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, and olive oil in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper. This pesto is not only delicious with pasta but also makes a great spread on sandwiches or toast.

Chia Seed Pudding
Boost your iron intake with a scrumptious chia seed pudding. Mix chia seeds with your choice of milk (cow, almond, coconut, or soy), a sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar, and a splash of vanilla extract. Let the mixture sit for at least an hour or until the chia seeds expand and form a thick pudding-like consistency. Top with fresh fruits, nuts, granola, or any other desired toppings.

Closing Thoughts

Incorporating iron-rich foods into your daily meals doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a bit of creativity and some inspiration from these recipes, you can enjoy a vegetarian diet full of iron without the risk of developing health issues associated with heme iron. So go ahead and embrace non-heme iron-rich ingredients and start feeling energized!