While iron is readily available in many types of meat, it is often harder to find in high quantities in plants. That said, there are several vegetables high in iron that you can add to your diet. These plant-based sources of iron aren’t solely beneficial for vegans and vegetarians. Everyone can benefit from diversifying the foods they look to for nutrients.
Iron is an essential mineral for growth and development. It’s used to make hemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells needed to carry oxygen to the body), and myoglobin (the red blood cell protein that carries oxygen to muscles). Iron is also used to produce connective tissues and hormones.
A lack of iron will mean less oxygen is getting to the body, resulting in fatigue, poor memory and concentration, paleness, headaches, inflammation, chest pain, and poor appetite.
Foods High In Iron
*Daily Value percentages are based on 100g servings
Spinach (and other dark leafy greens)
A 100g serving of spinach contains 2.7 mg of iron (15% of your daily value). Spinach is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. It’s also a fantastic source of vitamin A and vitamin K. Leafy green in general are all good sources of iron, so mix it up!
Originally produced as a preservative measure to help tomatoes last throughout the winter, the sun-dried tomato has become a favourite ingredient of its own. The drying process condenses the nutrients of the tomato, making it packed with goodness.
A 100g serving contains 50% of your daily value of iron. Sun-dried tomatoes have high levels of vitamin C, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. They are also very high in sodium, so you’ll want to be mindful how many you’re eating, and how they’re paired.
Potatoes are a good source of iron, or at least the skin itself is a good source. The flesh contains small amounts, but you’ll be missing many essential nutrients by peeling your potatoes. Spuds have helped many civilizations survive through times of famine because they contain at least trace amounts of essential nutrients. If you’re looking for iron, a baked potato may be the way to go.
Morel mushrooms may not be the easiest mushroom to find, but you can find them in many parts of the world, including Canada, so they shouldn’t be impossible to locate. They are also incredibly healthy, so they are worth the search. 100g of these mushrooms contain a whopping 94% of your daily value of Iron. They’re also a good source of protein, dietary fibre, vitamin D, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. Plus morel mushrooms have lesser amounts of many B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Asparagus shoots are another good vegetable source of iron. While not as high a source of iron as some of the other veggies on the list, a single serving still has 12% of your daily value. You’re also getting some vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, copper, manganese, and several other nutrients.