If you are a vegetarian, keeping up your iron levels may be difficult and more so if you are iron deficient. So,without a portion of meat or fish in your diet, how do you go about getting enough iron in your diet? Here is how.
1. Broccoli– This cruciferous vegetable is a powerhouse of nutrients and is rich in antioxidants. Broccoli, as a part of your diet is a great way to get more iron in your body. It contains not just iron, but, is also rich in vitamin C which helps in the absorption of iron. You can cook it as a vegetable or boil/steam it and make a delicious salad. 2. Spinach– Spinach and all dark green leafy vegetables are fantastic sources of iron. One can have vitamin C rich food along with it, as spinach also contains absorption inhibiting substances. In order to get the maximum benefits of iron from spinach- chop a tomato and cook it along with the spinach, sprinkle some lemon juice over the cooked spinach or have it with vitamin C rich food like capsicum. 3. Tofu/bean curd– Tofu may be bland to taste,but,this highly nutritious iron-rich food being extremely versatile;can be made interesting- a healthy stir-fry along with your favorite vegetables and seasonings or a mouth-watering salad by combining it with other veggies and some garnishing. 4. Beans– Dried beans are loaded with fiber, protein and most importantly, iron. E.g- black beans,black-eyed beans and kidney beans are good sources of iron and good for your budget too! You can cook your favorite beans along with brown rice.This will not just give you your daily dose of iron, but plenty of energy and keep you feeling full for hours.
5. Dried fruit-Raisins, dried apricots and prunes are all good sources of iron.Prunes are made by drying fresh plums. You can snack or add a handful to your breakfast cereal. Although these dried fruit contain a good amount of iron, this iron can be difficult to absorb. You can have these dried fruit with vitamin C rich food – a fruit like guava/ strawberry /pineapple or wash them down with a glass of orange juice.
6. Prunes and prune juice– If you are iron deficient, prune juice is an excellent source of iron. The vitamin C in the prunes makes it easier for your body in absorbing the iron. 7. Jaggery/gur– It is a sweet and delicious. Most importantly it is inexpensive and has a high iron content which prevents/helps iron deficiency anaemia.You can make tasty snacks; add them in desserts like rice puddings. Roasted Bengal gram (chana/chickpea) and gur is a popular snack which increases hemoglobin levels and gives energy. (However jaggery/gur is not recommended for diabetics).
By choosing/picking your food correctly (food high in iron and vitamin C) and having the recommended amount, getting enough iron should not be such a challenge. So, go ahead, pile up your bowl/plate with ‘iron’ and enjoy!