Iron-rich vegetables are essential foods that play an important role in many bodily functions. A diet low in iron can lead to low energy levels, shortness of breath, headaches, irritability, dizziness or anemia.
Iron can be found in two forms in foods – heme and non-heme. Heme iron is only found in animal products, while non-heme iron is only found in plants.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA)
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) is based on an average intake of 18 mg per day. However, individual requirements vary depending on a person's gender and life stage. For example, men and postmenopausal women generally need about 8 mg of iron per day. This amount increases to 18 mg per day for menstruating women and 27 mg per day for pregnant women.
And, since non-heme iron tends to be less easily absorbed by our bodies than heme iron, the RDA for vegetarians and vegans is 1.8 times higher than for meat eaters.
Vegetables often have a higher iron content than foods like meat and eggs.
Although vegetables contain non-heme iron, which is less easily absorbed, they are generally rich in vitamin C. They help improve iron absorption. The following vegetables and vegetable-derived products contain the most iron per serving.
Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, and beet greens contain between 2.5 and 6.4 mg of iron per cup cooked, or 14 to 36% of iron. AJR.
For example, 100 grams of spinach contains 1.1 times more iron than the same amount of red meat and 2.2 times more than 100 grams of salmon. It's also 3 times more than 100 grams of hard-boiled eggs and 3.6 times more than the same amount of chicken.
Yet, due to their light weight, some may find it difficult to consume 100 grams of raw leafy greens. In this case, it is best to eat them cooked.
Other iron-rich vegetables that fall into this category include broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, which contain between 1 and 1.8 mg per cooked cup, or about 6 to 10% of the RDA.
They are an iron-filled food, providing 6.6 mg per cup cooked, or 37% RDA. Lentils also contain a significant amount of protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, folic acid and manganese. A cup of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of protein. It covers about 50% of your recommended daily fiber intake.
At 0.5 mg per cup, raw tomatoes contain very little iron. However, when dried or concentrated, they offer a much larger amount. For example, half a cup (118 ml) of tomato paste offers 3.9 mg of iron, or 22% of the RDA, while 1 cup (237 ml) of tomato sauce offers 1.9 mg, or 11% of the AJR.
Sun-dried tomatoes are another rich source of iron, providing you with 1.3 to 2.5 mg per half cup, or up to 14% of the RDA.
Tomatoes are also an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps increase iron absorption. Plus, they're a great source of lycopene, an antioxidant linked to a reduced risk of sunburn.
Potatoes contain significant amounts of iron, mostly concentrated in their skins.
Specifically, one large unpeeled potato (295 grams) provides 3.2 mg of iron. This represents 18% of AJR. Sweet potatoes contain slightly less – about 2.1 mg for the same amount, or 12% RDA.
Potatoes are also an excellent source of fiber. Plus, one serving can cover up to 46% of your daily vitamin C, B6, and potassium needs.
In conclusion on vegetables rich in iron
Iron is an essential nutrient for the human body. This mineral can be found in a range of different foods, including many plant foods. Besides being a good source of iron, the plant foods listed in this article also contain a variety of other nutrients. They are therefore composed of plants that are beneficial to health.
So, incorporating them into your diet will help you meet your iron needs. You will enjoy overall good health!
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