Iron-rich Diets for Vegetarians

There are two types of dietary iron; haem and non-haem. Haem iron, which is most easily absorbed1, tends to come from animal sources, such as red meat.

The non-haem variety comes from plants and is more difficult for the body to absorb. This means that it’s important for vegetarians and vegans to consider whether or not they’re getting enough iron from their diets and ensure they are eating enough high-iron foods. If you’re looking to ensure your diet has the right iron boost, consider adding some of the below foods into your diet more regularly to help maintain higher iron levels.

Everyday foods

  • 1 cup of cooked oatmeal – 13.9mg of iron
  • 100g of dark chocolate– 8mg of iron
  • 1 cup of white rice – 8mg of iron
  • 1 cup of tempeh – 4.7mg of iron
  • 100g of tofu – 5.4mg of iron
  • 1 cup of tomato paste – 7.8mg of iron
  • 100g of pal hearts – 1.7mg of iron
  • 1 cup of raw spinach - 0.8 mg of iron
  • 100g of collard greens - 0.5mg of iron
  • 1 cup of boiled lentils – 6.6mg of iron
  • 1 cup of kidney beans – 5.2mg of iron
  • 1 cup of lima beans – 4.5mg of iron
  • 1 cup of boiled black beans – 3.6 mg of iron
  • 1 cup of legumes – 2.1mg of iron
Nuts and seeds
  • 100g of sesame seeds – 14.6mg of iron
  • 100g of hemp seeds – 7.95mg of iron
  • 100g of chia seeds – 7.72mg of iron
  • 100g of cashew nuts – 7.7mg of iron
  • 100g of flaxseeds – 5.7mg of iron
  • 100g of sunflower seeds – 5.3mg of iron
  • 100g of pumpkin seeds – 3.3mg of iron
  • 100mg of pistachio seeds – 3.9mg of iron

As well as considering their iron consumption, vegetarians may also want to consider their calcium, tannins (often found in red wine or caffeinated drinks), and dairy intake which can hinder the absorption of non-haem iron. While vitamin C which may help improve your iron absorption.

If you are looking to get an iron-rich boost in your diet, consider our Spatone® Liquid Iron supplement. It comes in easy to use sachets and is an easy and convenient way to help maintain healthy iron levels.

*Please note that the amount of iron next to each food is taken from the USDA Nutrients List and refers to the total iron contained, not necessarily how much of it the body absorbs.

Always read the label and use only as directed. Iron supplementation may be of assistance where dietary iron intake is inadequate.

1 Jim McMorran, Damian Crowther, Stew McMorran, Steve Youngmin, Ian Wacogne, Jon Pleat, Clive Prince, G. (2011, July 20). Haem and non-haem iron. Retrieved January 17, 2018, from

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