(light piano music) – Hello my friends,
welcome back to my channel. If you’re new here, my name is Alyssa. Today we are going on another
nutrition exploration. And we are gonna be focusing on iron. And I am specifically
gonna be talking about why iron is important, what
kind of functions it does inside of the body. The differences between the types of iron that are in our foods. And then we’re gonna be talking about the best vegan sources of iron and I’ll give you some recipe
inspiration towards the end. As always, with these types of videos I also have a blog post
that goes along with it that details everything
that we’re talking about, all the specific sources,
the amounts in each, so if we you wanna get more detailed you can find that in the description box down below this video. Without further ado let’s
go ahead and dive into iron. All right, so the first thing
is to talk about what iron is and why it’s important. Iron is a mineral and it is arguably one of the most important in the body. It’s also one of the
minerals that a lot of people are deficient in or at least has higher probably of being deficient in, especially if you follow
a plant-based diet. So iron is responsible for the production of hemoglobin in our bodies. And hemoglobin molecules
are basically there to transport oxygen throughout our system. So most of them can be found
inside of our blood, obviously, and that’s where a lot
of the iron is stored, about 60 to 70% of the iron in our body is found in our hemoglobin molecules. Other places that iron is
found inside of the body are things like our liver, our kidneys, and some of our other organs, and basically it just lives there so that the hemoglobin can
pull from those storage areas if it needs any extra. So there are two main forms of iron. There’s heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron, which is more
easily absorbed by the body is found in animal products. So about, heme iron is about
10 up to 30% absorbable. Whereas non-heme iron,
which is what is found in plant-based sources,
is less absorbable. Maybe about 8 to 10%, so that means if you are following a plant-based diet, you’ll have to be a
little bit more mindful of your iron, and getting
in adequate amounts of iron and also insuring that
you’re absorbing iron. So, if you are at all wondering
if you’re deficient in iron, the only thing that I can recommend is that you get a blood test done. Go to a functional medicine doctor or just any sort of doctor,
have a blood panel done, and that will give you a sense of where you fall in the range. So now that we kind of know a little bit about what iron is and
what it does for us, let’s talk about the best
vegan sources of iron. Number one is soybeans, and
soybeans which obviously are a bean, are also
the base of a a lot of plant-based protein
options for those of us who are following a plant-based diet. Things like tofu, tempeh, edamame, those are all forms of soy, also soy milk and that is a really good way
to get in some extra iron. The one thing to keep in mind if you are somebody that consumes soy is that you wanna make sure
that you’re buying organic and non-GMO varieties,
just is a little bit easier on your system, easier for
your body to absorb and digest and just healthier for the overall world and your own health in geneal. The second highest source
of iron is molasses. And molasses is a natural sweetener, but it actually is,
also, surprisingly high in a lot of minerals. Molasses is that kind of
dark, rich chocolatey flavor almost that you get in
things like gingerbread. So I pretty much only use molasses in gingerbread-flavored things but I do a few gingerbread
recipes on the blog. And molasses is really easy to find at almost every single grocery store. I personally always make
sure to buy an organic one but you can choose whichever one you want. And surprisingly it is high in iron. So that’s kind of a benefit of all of the
gingerbread-inspired recipes. Number three on our list are lentils. Lentils and beans in general
are great sources of iron and of course also plant-based protein. What I personally love about lentils is they are incredibly versatile and there a ton of different varieties. So you can choose everything
from green or brown lentils, which are kind of the
more traditional lentils. Black lentils or French
lentils which are smaller and they have a little bit of a more, almost nutty, kind of crunchy texture, they’re awesome in salads. Or you can look for
something like a red lentil which is more along the
lines of a split pea, it kind of turns to mush as you cook but it’s so delicious in curries. I have an amazing sweet
potato and red lentil curry on the site that is just to die for. So lentils are an amazing source of iron but also a really great source of protein and there are so many ways
to add them into your diet. Number four on our list is
quinoa, the almighty quinoa. You guys know that I’m
a fan of using quinoa pretty much every which way. And just like lentils, quinoa
is incredibly versatile. Not only can you find it
in the whole seed form, so adding it into salads
or things like that. Quinoa flour is also incredibly versatile. It can be used in pretty much any form of baked good that you want. I have tons of quinoa
flour recipes on my site. Quinoa flour has also been
used in gluten-free pastas. So you might even find quinoa
pastas at your grocery store, that’s another way to get
quinoa into your diet. And of course there
are also quinoa flakes, which I also use in a lot of my baking. Things like cookies, and granola, even just like a hot breakfast cereal. Quinoa is a great source, not only of iron but also of protein and fiber. It’s a complex carbohydrate so it digests a little bit more easily in the system and it’s also high in a
few other trace minerals like magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus. Number five on our list are pumpkin seeds. And pumpkin seeds
admittedly are not something that I honestly eat all that much, although I know they
are incredibly nutrient and mineral rich, they’re probably one of the most mineral and
nutrient rich seeds out there, so they’re a really great
thing to incorporate into your diet, I just personally
kind of forget about them, even though I always
have them in my cabinet. You can just do something as simple as sprinkling them on top of your salad or on top of your oatmeal. You can add them into your smoothies and they are a great source
of plant-based protein. They’re full of healthy fats and they’re full of
things like iron as well a few other trace minerals. So pumpkin seeds are something that I definitely
recommend that you pick up the next time you’re at the store. And just keep in your pantry to like use here and there as a simple way to get in little bit of extra iron into your plant-based diet. Number six is the all mighty chickpea. Another ingredient that I
personally use in my cooking, pretty much all the time, like
definitely on a weekly basis. Love chickpeas, everything from hummus to crispy chickpeas on top of salad. Soups with chickpeas, blending
them up to use in baking. I think chickpeas are one of those beans that are just incredibly versatile. I don’t find that they
have as strong of a taste as some of the other beans. I think they’re kind of mild, they’re really high in
protein, really high in fiber, and again, also really high in iron as well as a few other trace
minerals, including calcium. The next two on our list
are actually both greens. Number seven is Swiss chard. And as I was doing some research in my nutrition books as well as online and I was looking for some
of the highest sources of iron in the plant-based diet. I was actually kind of surprised
to come along Swiss chard because I don’t feel like
Swiss chard makes many lists, although it is a very healthy ingredient. Not something that I
personally almost ever use, although after doing all of the research and learning more about it,
I’m definitely going to start. Swiss chard is great
because not only is it the highest green source of iron. So in the greens world, it has
the highest source of iron, but it’s also kind of
mild in terms of flavor unlike kale or things like collards or some of the more spicy
greens like mustard greens. I would say that chard is more taste-wise, along the lines of spinach. Really easy to incorporate
into things like smoothies. Also you can saute it and
it’s absolutely delicious, with like some olive
oil, lemon and garlic. You can stir it into salads, you can chop it up finely into ribbons, toss it into your salads. You could add it into
a tofu or egg scramble. Really there are no end of
ways to use Swiss chard. And it’s also just incredibly good for you and it tends to be a little
bit on the cheaper side versus something like kale So maybe next time you’re at the store, try picking up a bunch of
Swiss chard instead of kale. Or spinach, which is our next one. And try incorporating it into your diet and see what you think of it. Number eight on our list is spinach. Spinach is my one true love
when it comes to greens, I buy spinach every single week. It’s in my staple grocery
list that I shared last week. And I just think spinach is fabulous. I love the taste of spinach, I love the variety of like
being able to use spinach. I love adding it into my smoothie bowls. I love putting it on
sandwiches, I love sauteing it, I really think that spinach
is one of those things that you can use in probably
a million different ways. Even just blending it up
into like a green muffin or something like that, so easy to use and incredibly healthy. Of course spinach is really
high in protein and fiber which is great, packed with chlorophyll which is really great for detoxifying. It’s high in calcium, it’s
high in iron, of course. And like I said it doesn’t
have much of a taste so it’s incredibly like, versatile in terms of how you wanna use it. So, if you’re not already
on the spinach train, hop on because spinach is fabulous. Number nine is something that
I also use quite regularly and that is tahini. You guys know I love
tahini, I love using it in my salad dressings,
it’s an amazing thing to just drizzle on top of
roasted sweet potatoes, you can stir it into a dip,
you can use it in smoothies, you can use it on top of toast. It is so good, it has
such an awesome flavor to. If you’ve never tried tahini
it isn’t quite a sweet as something like almond butter. It has a little bit of
like a savoriness to it, but it’s toasted, it’s
just like, ah, so good. So I highly recommend next
time you’re at the store, pick up some tahini, it is
one of the most versatile, I think, nut and seed butters. Love, love, love it, on top of salads. I will link my favorite
tahini salad dressings down in the description box for you because I’ve done an
entire video and blog post all about about to use tahini. And the last thing on our list is one of my favorite personal snacks and that is dried figs. Figs are great, not only
are they just delicious, like they are just sweet and they, I’m so excited whenever it’s fig season. I finally started seeing
them in the stores, and I’m just like, ah. But dried figs specifically
are really high in iron. And you luckily can find dried figs at pretty much every single grocery store. And my personal favorite way to eat figs, which it might sound a little bit weird, is honestly just to take one dried fig, spread it with a little
bit of peanut butter, maybe if I have some
chia jam in my fridge, do a dollop of that on top of it, and eat it like a peanut
butter and jelly sandwich. It is to die for. It’s honestly so good, I know
it sounds a little bit weird but they are such an awesome snack. And, figs are also really nutritious. They’re super high in fiber,
they’re great for digestion, they also have some
natural sugars in them. So they’re a little bit
energizing, which is really great, and in addition to all of
those amazing properties, they’re also nigh in calcium
and they’re high in iron. So, they’re one of those things that you could just throw in your bag, bring with you on the way to work or just while you’re traveling. Or you could chop them up,
throw them into a salad, or like a quinoa salad
or something like that. There’s a lot of different ways to eat figs and I will
be sharing some of those in the blog post that I mentioned. And there you have it my friends, that is our list of the 10
best vegan sources of iron. I hope you enjoyed today’s video. If you have any questions for me, definitely leave them in
the comments down below. Like I mentioned throughout the video, I do have a blog post that
goes along with this video so I’ve outlined everything. I’ve given you all the
specific measurements and amounts of iron and
each of the serving sizes for the different sources. Of course you also saw them on the screen. So, if you wanna rewind you can do that, but the reading of the blog post might be easier for you
to just follow along and reference back to. Of course, I’ve also included
some recipe inspirations so if you’re looking for ways to use some of these ingredients, that is found in the blog post as well. And if there are any other nutrients or minerals or anything like this that you would like
featured on the channel, please let me know. We’ve done calcium as well as protein and I have few more on the blog that I will link down below. But I could totally make
videos if you’re interested. Hope you guys enjoyed it, thank you so much for tuning in. Don’t forget to subscribe before you go, there’s a red button
right below this video, it says subscribe and
that will subscribe you. I would love to have you join this awesome community here on YouTube. We have a lot of fun. Otherwise, have a
fabulous rest of your day and I’ll see you guys
in the next video, bye. (upbeat music)


  1. Hello Alyssa this was so very educational helpful, healthy and entertaning! Thank you for being a caring and sharing person, I'm so very appreciative and grateful!😊

  2. Amazing video. So informative and interesting. Thank you. Am wondering if dried figs are higher in iron than fresh figs? And if so do you know why that would be? X

  3. With the Greens you have to remember they contain oxalate which effects how your body absorbs Iron and Calcium so make sure you take in another source of those nutrients in addition to the Spinach.

  4. Hey, thank you for this interesting video, very enjoyable to watch!

    Could you do a similar video on potassium? That'd be amazing. Thanks ☺️

  5. Great tips but you forgot to mention that vitamin c needs to be consumed to increase iron absorption when using plant based iron sources,

  6. Thank you so much for this video ,! I became vegan a almost a year ago, but i was mostly raw vegan, I did not like it to much because I became very weak, well I was not eating garbanzos beans, or potatoes, or too much beans in general because the iron feeds the cancer, (I have leukemia) however, I learned that iron that comes from the plants is less absorbed like you say here. Is not that a sign from God that we are made to eat mostly plants. I am so fascinated about the vegan world, it is very rich, very fun, very colorful, very tasty too and I am so pleased to find people like you. Thank you for this video Alyssa!

  7. I agree with you about spinach. It’s such an easy way to add greens to so many things without changing the taste. I always throw it in when I make hummus or marinara sauce.

  8. Cook on cast iron. You can actually get iron that way, which seems wrong but is true. I have to supplement regardless though, have always struggled with retaining it no matter what or how I eat.

  9. Thank you for an informative video—I have subscribed to your channel. I couldn’t find the link for tahini recipes. I also checked on your blog post and under Tahini it lists details for the calcium content of oranges.

  10. This was really great! Thank you so much 🙂 this would be a really great new series for you to do where you do a specific nutrient each week or some interval. Thank you so much

  11. omg thank you so much for making this!!! I hope some of the people that think all vegans are anemic see this and realize there’s so many sources of plant based iron🌱

  12. Also, something very important is Vitamin C , because it increases Iron absorption !!! Foods rich in iron with a glass of lemonade are the key to overcome anemia.
    Also dont rely that much on legumes (or tofu since it comes from the soy legume) as your iron source because they contain phytic acid that blocks Iron absorption , so you dont end up getting that much from it.

  13. Another great source of iron is a cast iron skillet. I wal always anemic and my doctor told me that anemia is a modern ailment. He said to buy a cast iron skillet and cook in it at least 3 times a week. It took about 3 months before I was no longer anemic. I haven't been anemic in about 6 years.

  14. Vitamin C supports the iron absorption, so try to incorporate it whenever you eat a meal high in iron like a lemon dressing or some fruit in your salad

  15. me encanta tu canal y mas tus recetas de pancakes!! 💃🏼💃🏼😋😋los he preparado casi todos!!😇🙏🏻

  16. lentils are great and I love them so much but they have so much fiber in them which causes so much bloating 🙁

  17. Really enjoyed this .Not sure what you did with the Tahini prior to pouring on that delicious looking salad ..Will look again but appreciate the detail from you …Thanks a lot 🙂

  18. It's also important to note not everyone does well with only non-heme iron. I did ok for a few years and even had two babies but after a while, even while eating a ton of plant-based sources of iron. not only was my digestion suffering but my iron (and Q10 among other things) got too low and no supplement or plant-based source of iron would do the trick. And I used to be someone who thought that if you had iron issues as a vegan you were just "doing it wrong". At first my levels were great, but not long term.

  19. You just need to be aware of phytates and oxalic acid, it prevents absorption of iron. Phytates are found in most beans and grains, and spinach and Swiss chard are incredibly high in oxalic acid, but cooking it helps the your body absorb a little bit more.


  20. Tell me Super food which include all Vitamin , all Mineral , antioxidant , amino acid, omega 3-6-9 & all ingredients & nutrition without add preservatives or colours as per body requirement for daily routine. One more thing ,it should be budget friendly.

  21. Spinach is not high in iron, that's a legend ! However, there are many other vegan sources of iron missed in this video .. And You should have talked about vitamin C which is essentiel for the absorbtion of vegan iron ..

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