Discover the essential role of iron in our bodies and its crucial functions, including hormone production and oxygen transportation. Iron deficiency affects numerous individuals, particularly women and children. In this article, we delve into the world of this vital mineral and uncover an array of vegetarian food options that are rich in iron.

Are you looking for ways to boost your iron intake as a vegetarian? You’ve landed in the right spot. Iron is an essential component that our bodies need in order to remain healthy and strong. A deficiency of this mineral can lead to anemia and other health issues due to lower levels of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in our blood. If you have embarked on a vegetarian lifestyle but worry about how much iron you’re getting, fret no more! In this article, we will talk about the importance of this mineral and iron rich vegetarian foods you can consume so you don't miss out on any crucial nutrients during your meatless journey!

Why is Iron Necessary?

Iron is essential for the normal growth and development of our bodies. Here are some reasons why you should not miss out on incorporating veg food rich in iron into your daily diets:

  • Iron is used by the body to make hemoglobin, a protein needed to transport oxygen throughout the body.
  • It is an important component of myoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to the skeletal and heart muscles, which require plenty of oxygen due to their continuous functioning.
  • Iron plays a major role in maintaining the strength and response of the immune system.

How Much Iron Do I Need?

Different individuals have different dietary requirements for iron based on factors such as age and sex. Adolescent girls and women have the highest need for iron. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of iron per day is listed below:

Age/Gender RDA (mg)/day
Boys (10-12 years) 16
Girls (10-12 years) 28
Teen boys (13-15) 22
Teen girls (13-15) 30
Teen boys (16-18) 26
Teen girls (16-18) 32
Adult men 19
Adult Women  (19-50 years)   29
Women >51 19

It is important to include the appropriate veg iron rich foods in your diet as per the RDA, and to always consult a healthcare professional before making any major dietary changes. The next section outlines the veg iron rich foods you can consume to ensure you get the right amount of this mineral.

Iron Rich Vegetarian Foods

There are two types of iron in food: heme and non-heme. Non-heme iron is abundant in plant-based foods like whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and leafy greens. Consuming non heme iron foods can be an easy first step to fighting iron deficiency. Listed below are healthy, iron rich vegetarian foods you can include in your meals today.


Food group Food source Amount of iron present in 100g Benefits
Cereals and millets Amaranth 8.02 mg Cereals and millets are amazing veg iron rich foods and are great for combating iron deficiency anemia, as well as improving iron bioavailability
Bajra 6.42 mg
Ragi 4.62
Pulses and dals Soyabean 8.29 mg Pulses and legumes are amazing non heme iron foods and are easy to prepare. They can also help protect the body from heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure and inflammation.
Dal 7.06 mg
Rajmah (red) 6.13 mg
Green leafy vegetables Fenugreek leaves 5.69 mg These iron rich vegetarian foods combat anemia, regulate cholesterol levels, and promote heart health.
  Amaranth leaves (green)   6.37 mg
ried fruits, nuts and seeds Apricots 2.50 mg Dried fruits give you a decent amount of iron and make for a tasty snack throughout the day
Dates (dark brown) 4.79 mg
Raisins (golden) 4.26 mg
  Almond 4.59 mg Nuts are amazing iron rich vegetarian foods and also pack a punch of healthy fats and protein.
Cashew 5.95 mg
Groundnuts 3.44 mg
Garden cress 6.19 mg

These iron rich vegetarian foods can ensure you get the iron your body needs to run optimally. The next sections discuss the factors that affect iron absorption as well as how much veg iron rich foods you should be incorporating into your daily diet.

What Affects Iron Absorption?

The iron rich vegetarian foods mentioned in the previous section may not be absorbed by the body in the amounts that one might think. There are several factors that can inhibit or even increase the absorption of this mineral, which include:

  • Polyphenols which are found in vegetables, fruits and legumes, as well as calcium, can decrease the absorption of iron
  • Diseases like celiac disease and Crohn’s disease damage the part of the small intestine that absorbs iron

Alternatively, certain foods loaded with vitamin C can boost the absorption of iron by the body. These include:

  • Fruits like oranges, lemons, papayas and strawberries
  • Vegetables like green capsicum, cauliflower, tomatoes and spinach

Consuming veg food rich in iron can be accompanied by these vitamin-C loaded fruits/vegetables is a great way to ensure you get the most out of your meal.


Iron is essential for our body, and its absence can lead to various severe health issues. Many vegetarians worry that their dietary choices may supply inadequate amounts. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be a worry! There are many delicious and healthy iron rich vegetarian foods that will keep you well-supplied with iron and other essential vitamins and minerals alike. Remember to focus on consuming a variety of different foods in your diet in order to stay healthy. This way, you won’t miss out on any nutritional components needed for proper functioning from different plant based food items – ensuring you get the most out of your vegetarian lifestyle!