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  • Writer's pictureJolanta Nowobilski

Plant-based Iron Sources & How To Maximize Absorption

As someone with a history of low iron, I was concerned about my levels when I first became plant-based. Even if you are not plant-based, knowing what plant foods provide iron can help in feeling confident in your iron levels.

Top sources of iron in plant-based foods:

- legumes (beans and lentils)

- dark leafy greens

- nuts and seeds

- fortified grains and cereals

- blackstrap molasses

- dried figs and apricots

These top sources are also conveniently staples in a plant-based diet. There are also some ways to increase absorption of the iron in these foods:

- cooking with a cast iron skillet

- avoid drinking coffee or tea with meals (the tannins found in these drinks decrease the absorption of iron)

- pair your iron sources with sources of vitamin C

Sources of vitamin C include all kinds of fruit, most vegetables, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. There are many ways to pair these two sources into a power duo. You most likely have been doing it already! A few examples:

- A squeeze of lemon or lime at the end of cooking an iron-rich dish

- Citrus-based dressings for salad greens

- Serving a vegetable as a side for lentils

- Serving potatoes or sweet potatoes as an accompaniment

- Adding fruit to your fortified breakfast cereal

As you can see, the plant-based diet offers a lot of opportunity for great iron levels. However, even after all effort has been made to increase iron levels through diet, it may still be necessary to supplement with iron.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for education and entertainment purposes only. Consult your health care provider to address your unique needs.

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