People think that they should eat meat to increase or maintain their iron levels.
A nice rib-eye steak coupled with grilled potatoes and a can of beer will do the trick!
But what if you’re vegan? Are supplements the only solution to get enough iron?
If you’re not familiar with effective meal planning and selecting the right ingredients, you might take iron supplements.
Though taking supplements might seem like an easier route, you should consider eating more plant-based foods which offer considerable amounts of iron!
And believe it or not, a lot of these vegan foods contain iron levels equivalent to beef!
Here they are:
- White Beans
These are the most underrated types of beans. Usually, when people hear about beans, a lot of them think of kidney beans that are added to a burrito.
But white beans shouldn’t be tossed aside! Besides being full of fiber, they pack a high amount of iron as well.
104g of white beans (1 cup) has around 2mg of iron compared to 85 g of lean beef.
So if you want an ingredient that can replace a steak, you can definitely choose some white beans!
A must-try recipe that includes white beans:
Cook the white beans, then add tahini, lemon juice, and minced garlic. To finish off, you can also top it with some parsley for added flavor!
Like peas and beans, lentils also belong to the legume family, which means they are also high in fiber and iron!
Lentils are particularly famous in the Levant (Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan), where they’re served with rice as a cold dish and a hot dish.
The most famous and typical dish is cooked lentils on rice, topped with caramelized onions and drizzled with garlic yogurt!
Alternatively, you can add lentils in stews along with boiled vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and green peas.
- Cashew Nuts
While nuts are typically rich in good fat, they are also rich in iron.
Cashew nuts, for one, are low in sugar and high in fiber. They are also rich in copper, magnesium, and manganese, which maintain brain health, bone health, and immunity.
28g of cashews, which are less than half a cup, can provide around 10% of your daily iron intake.
Now that’s a lot for small cashew that’s the size of your fingertip!
When choosing cashews from the supermarket, make sure you don’t opt for those commercial brands that sell cashews dipped in chocolate!
Besides being extra-sweet and high in added sugars, cocoa contains iron-depleting compounds that counteract the positive benefits of cashews.
If you get cold quickly and feel weaker than usual, you might be on the verge of developing anemia (a condition with deficient iron levels).
So before consuming such snacks, it’s best to contact a phlebotomist (a certified health professional who draws blood) and run home blood draw to make sure your iron levels are in check!
Whether you’re into Asian food or not, you can’t deny the positive health effects of tofu.
It contains essential nutrients like potassium, calcium, and iron.
Not all people like tofu; however, if you choose the right recipe, then be sure you’ll reap the benefits!
So consider making some tofu as an egg replacement and combine it with green onions, broccoli, and red peppers, pouring some peanut sauce at the end!