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Most food sources of iron fall in the non-vegetarian category. What about the vegetarians? Here is a list of vegetarian iron rich foods that should be helpful.
Are you a vegetarian? Vegetarian iron rich foods are fewer, so keeping up your iron levels may be difficult. More so if you are a woman, have heavy menstrual periods and are iron deficient. So, without a portion of meat or fish in your diet, how do you go about getting enough iron in your diet? Here is how you can include vegetarian iron rich foods as a part of a healthy balanced diet and prevent anaemia.
This cruciferous vegetable is a powerhouse of nutrients and is rich in antioxidants. Broccoli, as a part of your diet is a great way to get more iron in your body. It contains not just iron, but, is also rich in vitamin C which helps in the absorption of iron. You can cook it as a vegetable, boil or steam it to make a delicious salad.
Spinach and all dark green leafy vegetables are fantastic vegetarian iron rich foods. One can have vitamin C rich food along with it, as spinach also contains absorption inhibiting substances. In order to get the maximum benefits of iron from spinach – chop a tomato and cook it along with the spinach, sprinkle some lemon juice over the cooked spinach or have it with vitamin C rich food like capsicum.
Tofu may be bland to taste, but this highly nutritious and vegetarian iron rich food is extremely versatile, and can be made interesting – a healthy stir-fry along with your favourite vegggies and seasonings, or a mouth-watering salad by combining it with other vegetables and some garnishing.
Dried beans are loaded with fibre, protein and most importantly, iron. E.g- black beans, black-eyed beans and kidney beans are good sources of iron and good for your budget too! You can cook your favourite beans along with brown rice. This will not just give you your daily dose of iron, but plenty of energy and keep you feeling full for hours.
Raisins, dried apricots and prunes are all good vegetarian iron rich foods. Prunes (these contain vitamin C too) are made by drying fresh plums. You can snack or add a handful to your breakfast cereal. Although these dried fruit contain a good amount of iron, this iron can be difficult to absorb as not all contain vitamin C. You can have these dried fruit with vitamin C rich food – a fruit like guava/ strawberry /pineapple or wash them down with a glass of orange juice.
If you are iron deficient, prune juice is an excellent source of iron. The vitamin C in the prunes makes it easier for your body in absorbing the iron.
It is sweet and delicious. Most importantly it is inexpensive and has a high iron content which prevents/helps iron deficiency anaemia. You can make tasty snacks using jaggery, and also add it in many desserts like rice puddings. Roasted Bengal gram (chana/chickpea) and gur is a popular snack which increases hemoglobin levels and gives energy. (However jaggery/gur is not recommended for diabetics).
By choosing/ picking your vegetarian iron rich foods correctly (food high in iron and vitamin C) and having the recommended amount, getting enough iron should not be such a challenge.
Published here earlier.
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