Going vegan means seeking the new sources of essential nutrients. Contrary to widespread beliefs, eating plant-based foods can provide the body with most of the nutrients it needs, especially when it comes to minerals. Iron is a crucial mineral that both meat lovers and vegan girls are deficient. Reduce your intake of saturated fats, cholesterol, pesticides, and hormones, and increase your iron intake by eating the following vegan foods. They are as delicious as nutritious.
Cashews are rich in nutrients that help to support a vegan diet. They contain a wealth of iron as well as protein, magnesium, and vitamin B6 that keep your digestive system healthy and control your blood pressure. Cashews make incredible nut butter (even a healthier alternative to peanut butter) and a delicious addition to salads, soups, desserts, and stir-fry dishes. If you are going vegan, cashews should definitely be a part of your diet.
Quinoa is a superfood rich in iron, magnesium, B vitamins, and potassium, not to mention a host of potent antioxidants. It is protein-packed, totally gluten-free, and one of the few plant-based foods that have all 9 essential amino acids. There is around 5 mg of iron in one serving of quinoa, which is 37 percent of your daily recommended intake. Eating quinoa regularly prevents iron deficiency, boosts your immune system function, and fights fatigue.
One of the most nutritious foods in the world, spirulina is chock full of nutrients that have the powerful effects on your brain and overall body. A teaspoon of this blue-green algae provides your body with 11% of daily recommended intake of iron, along with 8% of protein and 3% of magnesium. Add a teaspoon of spirulina to your smoothie and enjoy all the benefits it provides.
Kale contains more iron, phytochemicals, protein and vitamins than meat, making it an essential food that every vegan woman should be consuming more. It is also an excellent source of calcium, vitamin C, magnesium, and vitamin A. A cup of chopped kale provides your body with 134% of recommended daily intake of vitamin C and 133% of vitamin A. Use kale in your soups, smoothies, and stews to reap its benefits and reduce your risk of nutrient deficiencies.
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One of the best natural vegan sources of iron, spinach contains 51% of your daily iron intake as well as 637% of your daily vitamin A intake and 159% of your daily vitamin C intake, in just one bunch. Spinach helps to keep your eyes healthy, warding off age-related macular degeneration, regulate blood pressure, and ensure stronger muscles. Plus, it boasts powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
6. Dark chocolate
Vegan food does not mean rabbit food. Dark chocolate is a yummy source of iron – 1 oz contains 12% of your daily iron intake. Dark chocolate is also overflowing with magnesium, copper, zinc, fiber, manganese, along with cholesterol-free healthy fats. Not all chocolates are healthy, though. Look for milk-free chocolate and consume the darker varieties with not less than 70% of cocoa.
Lentils are rich in iron, potassium, B vitamins, fiber, protein, magnesium, and low in calories, not to mention that it contains zero fat and cholesterol. They are hearty and make the perfect meat alternative. Unlike beans, lentils are easier to cook and there is no need to soak them overnight. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, lentils should become an essential staple in your daily diet. You can use them in salads, soups, fritters, curries, and more.
8. Chia seeds
No list of nutrient-dense foods is complete without these miraculous seeds. Chia seeds are fortified with nutrients, including magnesium and iron. They contain almost 30% of your recommended daily intake per 2 tablespoons. Moreover, chia seeds are loaded with omega 3 fats, potassium, B vitamins, and fiber. They are versatile and can be used in almost any vegan-friendly meal you love cooking.
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Vegan girls are more likely to develop nutrient deficiencies but meat lovers are even at the highest risk. Including these eight vegan-friendly iron packed foods in your daily diet will improve your health and prevent many nutrient deficiencies, including the iron one. How long have you been going vegan? What are your favorite plant-based foods rich in iron?