Iron is essential for healthy blood, muscles, nerves, digestion and energy levels.
Iron is often associated with red meat but even meat eaters get around 75% of their iron from vegetarian sources.
Children and women need more iron than men. Most people are able to get all the iron they need from a varied and balanced diet but always consult a doctor if you are concerned about your iron intake.
Good vegetarian sources of iron include:
- Chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans and other pulses
- Breakfast cereals and bread
- Green leafy vegetables like kale and cabbage, and also broccoli
- Nuts, such as almonds and cashews
- Dried apricots, dates and raisins
- Date syrup and molasses
Find recipes with these ingredients.
Vitamin C helps your body to absorb iron, while calcium, tannins and phenols hinder the process, so drinking orange juice – and avoiding tea or coffee – with an iron-rich meal can really help you make the most of the iron in your food.
Learn more about vegetarian nutrition
Find out more
You can find out more about how iron works in our bodies and the science behind the information above, by reading the in-depth iron factsheet.