iron foods haem non-haem
5 min read
Not all food sources of iron are made equal. Iron that comes from animal meat is called ‘haem iron’ and this is more easily absorbed by our bodies, as opposed to plant-based iron sources, which contain ‘non-haem iron’. It is very possible to meet your iron requirements on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Keep reading for ways to meet your daily iron needs, as planning is important (especially for premenopausal women)...

There are many vegetarian and vegan food sources of iron. Although there are iron fortified foods available on the supermarket shelves (such as some breads and cereals), there are whole plant-based foods that naturally contain iron. Below are a few examples of plant-based iron sources. Please note while the quantities are all presented per 100g of food, we don't necessarily eat 100g of these foods at once. For example, while we would usually sit down to eat at least 100g of lentils or tempeh in one sitting, we would rarely eat 100g of sunflower or chia seeds. However, they have been presented per 100g to allow comparison between food types.

Plant-based iron sources

  • 100g pepitas (pumpkin seeds) = 10mg
  • 100g tempeh = 9mg
  • 100g chia seeds = 8mg
  • 100g cashew = 5mg
  • 100g sunflower seeds = 5mg
  • 100g almond = 4mg
  • 100g dried apricots = 3mg
  • 100g tofu = 2.9mg
  • 100g lentils = 2.5 mg
  • 100g walnuts = 2.5mg
  • 100g peanuts = 2.3mg
  • 100g red kidney beans = 2mg
  • 100g chickpeas = 2mg
  • 100g kale = 1.5mg
  • 100g broccoli = 0.8mg


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