One of the major concerns I get from women desiring a better lifestyle or just needing help with more energy throughout the day is: How do I get enough iron in my diet. Whether the issue is fatigue, cold hands and feet, or even ice cravings, it all most likely stems back to an iron deficiency. Lack of iron deprives the body of its needed oxygen (this is the reason why you may feel tired all the time or are out of breath after light exercise).
Females need different amounts as they age and its very important to know the differences.

Here are the numbers:
• 9 to 13 years: 8 mg/day
• 14 to 18 years: 15 mg/day
• 19 to 50 years: 18 mg/day
• 51 and older: 8 mg/day

So what does this practically look like? Here are 12 plant-based foods with some of the highest iron levels:

Spirulina (1 tsp): 5 mg
Cooked soybeans (1/2 cup): 4.4 mg
Pumpkin seeds (1 ounce): 4.2 mg
Quinoa (4 ounces): 4 mg
Blackstrap molasses (1 tbsp): 4 mg
Tomato paste (4 ounces): 3.9 mg
White beans (1/2 cup): 3.9 mg
Cooked spinach (1/2 cup): 3.2 mg
Dried peaches (6 halves): 3.1 mg
Prune juice (8 ounces): 3 mg
Lentils (4 ounces): 3 mg

Tips to get the most iron out of your food:

Eat iron-rich foods along with foods that contain vitamin C, which helps the body absorb
the iron.
Caffeinated tea and coffee contain compounds called polyphenols, which can bind with
iron making it harder for our bodies to absorb it.
Calcium also hinders the absorption of iron; avoid high-calcium foods for a half hour
before or after eating iron-rich foods.

The good news is that there is a wealth of plant-based foods rich in iron, and because
iron is best absorbed with vitamin C, it’s pretty easy to do when combining with fruits
and veggies. {For example, when eating cooked lentils or a large green salad squeeze
a little fresh lemon juice over it, or cook with cabbage.}

Read more:

Here are the ones making common appearances in my diet.

Pumpkin Seeds: To get the most bang for your seed, choose raw which packs twice as
much iron as roasted options – 1 handful is 30 percent of your daily iron intake. I’ve
been sprinkling these on my oatmeal.
Whole Grains: Quinoa and amaranth are both great sources of iron. I’ve made a few
batches of energy bars with popped amaranth and blue berries (for vitamin C) which are
the perfect snack for long workouts.
Dark Leafy Greens: Turns out Popeye was onto something. Beet greens, kale, and
chard are great sources. Kale and spinach are now making frequent appearances in my
morning smoothies.
Dried Fruit: Dried apricots, prunes and raisins are all great sources of iron… though I will
admit, I can’t get nearly as excited about prunes as I have about apricots.
Carob: Never did I expect to see this on a doctor’s list, but I am happy I did. One cup
packs 10mg of iron (almost a third of your daily intake) – sure, I don’t have 1 cup of
carob in a sitting, but knowing a tablespoon here and there is doing me some good,
makes me pretty happy.

Never was it so easy to get our daily amount of iron. What other sources have you
heard of and how do you go about including them into your diet?

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