12 Best Vegetarian Sources of Iron + Why You Need Iron

At times, this nutrient has been the bane of my existence. Mainly, because deficiency of iron occurs during times like adolescence, pregnancy, young womanhood, lactation, eating gross junk food phases. You need iron, and it's easy as a woman to get deficient, but it's also easy to get it. 

Also, being a "pretty much vegetarian" meaning I do eat meat every now and then, and I eat wild fish when available sparingly for Omega-3 reasons and being a "wannabe vegan" meaning I try to have as little of animals as possible but I absolutely love eggs and have a passionate desire for cheese and put honey on anything I can and have leather goods with a guilty heart mean I face the iron question from knowledgable people a lot. 

It took me years to figure out that I needed some freaking iron. I need some right now. Hold on. 

Here's the deal. Iron is responsible for carrying oxygen, via the blood, to the tissues of the body. And then it carries CO2 from the tissues back to the lungs to be expelled from the body. It's also important for energy production and metabolism and DNA synthesis.

Ladies, you're probably going to need to supplement during your cycle. And when you're pregnant, lactating and just in general until you're 60.

Vegans and vegetarians, you need to be getting it too. But whoa whoa whoa, you don't have to be a carnivore to get it. No no. Sure, there is a lot of iron in animal meat. But there are plenty of other places to get it, friends. Here are 12 sources of iron: 

  • Dark leafy greens: spinach, turnip greens, bok choy, kale, chard, etc.
  • Beets
  • Lentils
  • Soybeans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Black beans 
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Tofu and tempeh
  • Kidney beans
  • Dried apricots
  • Raisins
  • Tahini/sesame seeds

Don't have your iron with caffeine (ew, coffee and kale?) because that will prevent maximum absorption within your body. Vitamin C will really help this process. It helps to have Vitamin C be a part of the party to maximize absorption.

So what I'm saying is after your yoga workout, sprinkles some lemon on your kale, some lime on your black beans, and dance assured that you're SO iron healthy, and then proceed to walk around shooting people the peaces sign between cartwheels. Happy and iron-deficiency free.

Best to you and your blood.