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25 Delicious Sources of the Mineral Iron for Vegetarians

Updated on March 27, 2010

Our bodies need the right amounts of different minerals in order to stay healthy. Vegetarian diets can provide the minerals that we need. However, there are some minerals that you have to work extra hard to get enough of when you choose to eat a vegetarian diet. The most important of these minerals is iron. Iron is something that the body needs in order to stay energized, healthy and working properly. It is a mineral that most people obtain from meat products. However, vegetarians have plenty of sources for iron as well.

Why we Need Iron

Iron is a mineral that we need in our bodies. It helps with everything from communication at the cellular level to aiding digestion of our food. Failure to get enough iron in your diet can cause anemia which leads to fatigue among other health concerns.

Why It’s an Issue for Vegetarians

All people need to make sure that they get enough iron into their diets in order to avoid an iron deficiency. However, it’s particularly an issue for people who choose to eat a vegetarian diet. This is due in part to the fact that iron typically comes from meat. However, it is more than just this. It’s also because the body process meat-based iron more efficiently than vegetable-based iron. As a result, people who choose to eat vegetarian diets are at risk of an iron deficiency.

Sources of Iron for Vegetarians

Here is a look at 25 different sources of iron that vegetarians should work into their diets in order to make sure that they are getting as much of this mineral as they need to stay healthy.

1. Arugula.

2. Asparagus.

3. Beet Greens.

4. Beets.

5. Butterhead Lettuce.

6. Chinese Cabbage.

7. Dandelion Greens.

8. Green Beans.

9. Hearts of Palm.

10. Jalapeno Peppers.

11. Mushrooms.

12. Olives.

13. Onions.

14. Peas.

15. Peppers.

16. Potatoes.

17. Pumpkin Leaves.

18. Red Leaf Lettuce.

19. Scotch Kale.

20. Spinach.

21. Spirulina Seaweed.

22. Summer Squash.

23. Swiss Chard.

24. Tofu.

25. Tomatoes.

As you can see, vegetarians can get iron from a wide range of different sources. You could make some very interesting meals using these iron sources as the main ingredients. Salads and stir-frys are the first things that come to mind when looking at this list but a creative cook could surely come up with a range of different ideas to add to these basic options.

Taking an Iron Supplement

Iron is such an important mineral in the body that you will want to take a supplement if you are not getting enough of it. The aforementioned foods all contain iron in different amounts. However, even eating a well-balanced diet including many of these foods might not result in enough iron for you if you don’t consume enough of them. You should speak to your doctor about the amount of iron that you’re getting in your vegetarian diet and find out if a supplement is something that you need to take.


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  • theblackedition profile image

    Shane Brown-Daniels 7 years ago from Jamaica

    Thanks for the list Kathryn. I've seen a number of vegetarians suffer from low iron intake. I will pass on this info.

  • Katrina Ariel profile image

    Katrina Ariel 7 years ago from The Highlands of British Columbia, Canada

    Great list. I think pumpkin seeds are quite high as well, but I'm sure there's always more than can be added. You've provided a nice reference here.

  • BetsyIckes profile image

    BetsyIckes 7 years ago from Pennsylvania

    Good hub! I liked your info!

  • KayaRaya profile image

    KayaRaya 7 years ago

    Hey, Kathryn... I really loved reading this article... Very informative.. Now, I know 25 more sources for iron...=)