Let's Talk About Iron

Like protein, a common question vegans get is, 'Where do you get your iron from?' The answer: LOTS of places. Iron is a necessary mineral we need to carry oxygen from our lungs throughout our bodies. Did you know that one cup of chicken breast provides 1.6mg of iron, but 1 cup of black beans provides 9.7mg of iron? One cup of kale provides 1.0mg of iron, and one cup of lentils provides 6.6mg of iron. Since switching over to a plant based diet I've had no problem getting the required iron needed in my diet.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

  • Women ages of 19-50 need 18mg of iron per day
  • Women ages 51-70+ need 8mg of iron per day
  • Men between the ages of 19-70+ need 8mg of iron per day
  • Pregnant women between the ages of 19-50 need 27mg of iron per day.

That may seem like a lot, but like my daily meal used as an example in the Let's Talk About Protein section, this meal gets me 37.66mg of iron. Well over what is needed.

(Nutrition information sourced from the USDA.)


Breakfast - Oatmeal & Bananas

1 cup oatmeal: 14.00 mg 

1 banana: 0.30 mg iron

BREAKFAST TOTAL: 14.30 mg


Post Workout Snack - Green Smoothie

1 oz (2 tbsp) pumpkin seeds: 0.90 mg 

1 oz (2 tbsp) flax seeds: 1.20 mg

1 oz (2 tbsp) chia seeds: 1.10 mg

1/2 apple: 0.10 mg

1 cup frozen pineapple: 0.50 mg

1/2" piece of ginger: 0.00 mg

1/2 cup kale: 0.50 mg

1/2 cup spinach: 0.40 mg

1.5 cups water: 0.00 grams

POST WORKOUT TOTAL: 4.7 mg


1/2 cup cooked quinoa: 1.40 mg

1/2 cup butternut squash: 0.60 mg

1/2 can black beans: 7.27 mg

1/4 cup carrots: 0.075 mg

1/2 bell pepper: 0.20 mg

1/2 cup tomatoes: 0.25 mg

1/4 cup onions: 0.075 mg

1/2 cup frozen corn: 2.25 mg

2 radishes: 0.00 mg

1/2 avocado: 0.55 mg

1/2 lime: 0.20 mg

LUNCH TOTAL: 12.87 mg


Snack - Almonds

1/2 cup whole, unsalted almonds: 2.65 mg

SNACK: 2.65 mg


1/3 onion: 0.00 mg

3/4 zucchini: 0.525 mg

3/4 cup mushrooms: 0.22 mg

3/4 cup cilantro: 0.30 mg

1/3 clove garlic: 0.00 mg

3/4 tbsp lemongrass: 0.30 mg

1 cup cooked rice noodles: 0.20 mg

1/3 can light coconut milk: 1.30 mg

3/4 lime: 0.30 mg

DINNER TOTAL: 3.14 mg


DAILY TOTAL:

  • Breakfast 14.3 mg

  • Lunch: 12.87 mg

  • Snacks: 7.35 mg

  • Dinner: 3.14 mg

TOTAL: 37.66 mg

Pretty awesome! And here's a breakdown of iron levels in other vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and fruit. Make sure to note the Legumes section - tons of iron there! (Source: USDA)

IronLevels.png