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Many people, especially women, suffer from iron-deficiency anemia. There are several iron-rich vegetarian foods to meet ones daily recommendation of iron. Sometimes having a few listed makes it easier to remember and incorporate on a daily basis.

I felt this was probably something that would be worthy of at least 1 blog post, so here it is….

The recommended daily intake of iron are higher for women than men, and women who are pregnant require even higher daily amount of iron (see Table 1 below).

Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Iron from NIH

Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
Birth to 6 months 0.27 mg* 0.27 mg*
7–12 months 11 mg 11 mg
1–3 years 7 mg 7 mg
4–8 years 10 mg 10 mg
9–13 years 8 mg 8 mg
14–18 years 11 mg 15 mg 27 mg 10 mg
19–50 years 8 mg 18 mg 27 mg 9 mg
51+ years 8 mg 8 mg

* Adequate Intake (AI)

Iron is available in many vegetarian foods such as leafy greens, nuts, beans, and egg yolk. It is important to remember that Vitamin C helps your body to absorb the iron you ingest, so spinach and other greens that are rich in Vitamin C will greatly increase your iron absorption. You can also consider adding citrus fruits and sweet peppers, which are high in Vitamin C, to your meal.

Specific iron amounts (based on daily value of 14 mg of iron) :

  • Spinach: 1 cup of raw spinach provides ~34% of daily value
  • Seaweed, wakame: 1 cup of wakame salad provides ~28% of daily value
  • Sesame seeds: 1 cup of roasted/toasted whole sesame seeds provides ~188% of daily value

The three above ingredients combine perfectly into a salad. You can also enjoy goma-ae: (cooked spinach with sesame dressing).



NIH Office of Dietary Supplement. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet-Iron. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/