Fitness

5 high-iron foods that aren’t meat

Check out our top five ways to meet you daily iron needs – no steak necessary!

By Katie Skelly
Halle Berry

Iron is considered an essential mineral for your body’s everyday function.

While it helps to carry fresh oxygen through your blood, iron also aids in healthy immune function, cognitive performance and you guessed it, energy.

To reach the daily quota, the average woman should consume about 18 mg of iron, while men require less at 8 mg.

Vegans and vegetarians will know that trying to meet this daily requirement can indeed be a challenge, but with one third of the world’s population deemed iron-deficient it would seem that this struggle isn’t exclusive to non-meat eaters.

Many believe that the best way to hit the mark is to gobble up a juicy steak, but it may surprise you to discover that there are several delicious and even more nutritious meat-free ways and to get your daily serve.

Keep reading to discover our top 5 iron-packed foods!

Try this [ginger soy bean soup](http://www.foodtolove.com.au/recipes/ginger-soy-bean-soup-22257|target="_blank") from our friends over at Food To Love!
Try this ginger soy bean soup from our friends over at Food To Love!

1. Spinach
Popeye wasn’t wrong about this super-food.

With a reputation for being incredibly healthy, spinach packs around 20 different vitamins and minerals, while being one of the highest natural sources of iron.

Just one cup of cooked spinach will provide your body with 6.4 milligrams of irony goodness in just 40 calories.

That’s more than a steak, and over one third of your daily requirements in one delicious side dish!

2. Soy beans
With almost double the iron of a steak; 100 grams of soybeans contain just over 5 milligrams of iron, making them one of the easiest ways to reach your daily quota.

These little gems are also a source of eight essential amino acids, making them the only complete non-animal protein, and what’s more, they’re abundant in fiber, calcium and B vitamins.

Try adding these gems to your soups or salads for a great tasting iron kick.

Substitute meat with lentils using this [lentil sausage rolls with tomato sumac salad](http://www.foodtolove.com.au/recipes/lentil-sausage-rolls-with-tomato-sumac-salad-30853|target="_blank") recipe.
Substitute meat with lentils using this lentil sausage rolls with tomato sumac salad recipe.

3. Lentils
Plenty of vegetarians share a concern in reaching their daily protein and iron requirements; but thanks to lentils you can kill two birds with one delicious stone!

With 3.3 milligrams of iron and 26 grams of protein per 100 grams, lentils come in at a close second from soybeans. They’re also rich in potassium, fibre and vitamin B1.

From curry and soup, to burgers and pastas, there’s really no limit as to what you can whip up using these bad boys.

4. Potatoes
Somewhere along the line, potatoes got confused as a starchy ball full of calories, rather than the delicious super-food they really are.

One medium potato, cooked with the skin on, contains 3.2 milligrams of irony goodness. That’s almost one fifth of your daily needs!

And since these fluffy nuggets also contain generous amounts of vitamin C, you can be sure that every last bit will be absorbed by the body.

Duchess Catherine knows the amazing benefits of dark chocolate...
Duchess Catherine knows the amazing benefits of dark chocolate...

5. Dark chocolate
Because we just had to include something sweet!

We bet you’ll be thrilled to discover that a huge 8 milligrams of iron can be found in just 100 grams of delicious dark chocolate – that’s almost 45% of your daily needs.

Now we don’t suggest that you make this a daily habit - because we’re talking about a lot of calories here, but for a midnight snack or movie night binge? Why not.

Everything in moderation, right?

Watch Jamie Oliver and Taylor Swift's Bake Off in the video player below!

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