Iron, an essential mineral that helps to transport oxygen throughout the body, comes in two dietary forms: heme and non-heme. Heme iron is found in animal food sources such as red meat, fish and poultry, which originally contained hemoglobin. According to WebMD, heme sources are where the body absorbs the most iron.
But for those who follow vegetarian or vegan diets, or others who may simply want to cut back on their meat intake, their iron intake needs to come from other foods. Understanding what non-heme, or plant-based, sources of iron are available—like these eight—is essential to ensuring proper intake each day.
Made from soybean curds, tofu packs a serious nutrient punch! Just half a cup contains 10 grams of protein and 44 percent of a person’s daily calcium needs. It is also among the best plant-based sources of iron, with 6.4 milligrams in the same serving size.
While tofu often has a reputation of being quite bland, it is a very versatile food that absorbs the flavors of any dish it’s in. It is most commonly used in stir-fries, but is also great in soups, scrambled like eggs, or marinated and grilled on the BBQ.