Jenn asks: “Which vegetarian foods are
rich in iron?”

Answer: Although iron derived from non
meat sources is considered to have less impact
than iron found in red meat, it’s still an adequate
source of iron. 

It’s easy for vegetarians to maintain a balanced level of iron
by having a combination of the following iron-rich
in your diet on a daily basis: 

  • Black strap molasses.
  • Legumes (including lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, and pinto
  • Soy products (including soy beans, tempeh, and tofu).
  • Whole grains (including quinoa and millet).
  • Dried fruit (including raisins and apricots).
  • Nuts and seeds (including cashews, sunflower seeds, and
  • Leafy greens (including spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens,
    kale, collard greens, and broccoli).
  • Seaweeds (including dulce, kelp, and nori).

Furthermore, vitamin C also enhances iron
absorption, so including food rich in vitamin C — raspberries,
papaya, lemons, peppers and broccoli, alongside iron-rich foods,
will ensure you get the most iron from your food.

Some leafy greens contain compounds called
phytates and oxalates that can
inhibit iron absorption.  They are found in high amounts in
spinach, swiss chard, and beet greens so it’s important to
consume these leafy greens in moderation. Alternate them with kale,
collard greens, and broccoli which have lower levels of phytates
and oxalates and more easily absorbable sources of
iron.   Tannins found in black and green tea, also
inhibit iron absorption, so it is a good idea to drink tea away
from iron rich foods.   

Answer provided by Jackie Yurko, Doctor of Naturopathic

Do you have a question for our Naturopath? Ask

This information is for entertainment purposes
only. The recommendations may not work for you, and should not take
the place of the recommendations made by your own medical
personnel. We are not responsible for the outcomes of any
recommendations. Do not make any drastic changes to your diet
without the supervision of your doctor/dietitian. For more
information, please see a Licensed Naturopath in your area. To
find one, visit

Ask a Naturopath
appears every other Wednesday.

Join the conversation on the
your healthy eating advice in the forums