Is Tofu a Good Source of Iron?

First things first, yes…tofu, or soy, is a pretty great source of non-heme iron. The amount of iron will vary slightly on how firm the tofu is (silken/soft to extra firm) but generally, firm and extra firm tofu have about 1mg per 1/5 of a package. And I don’t know about you, but it’s very easy to eat more than this! For example, as Registered Dietitian Vegan Female, I can easily eat double that amount. However, if you ate the 1/5 package serving, that would be 7% of your iron needs if you are an adult female and about 12% of your iron needs if you are an adult male.

How Do Vegans Get Their Iron?

Vegans can get their Iron in many different foods. Of course, the plant-based foods contain non-heme iron which isn’t as bioavailable but that can be increased by consuming a source of Vitamin C at the meals. Many whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans are all great sources of iron. See the list below to give you an idea of great iron sources for vegans.

FoodAmountIron (mg)
Blackstrap molasses2 Tbsp7.2
Lentils, cooked1 cup6.6
Tofu1/2 cup6.6
Spinach,cooked1 cup6.4
Kidney beans, cooked1 cup5.2
Chickpeas, cooked1 cup4.7
Soybeans,cooked1 cup4.5
Tempeh1 cup4.5
Lima beans, cooked1 cup4.5
Black-eyed peas, cooked1 cup4.3
Swiss chard, cooked1 cup4.0
Bagel, enriched1 medium3.8
Black beans, cooked1 cup3.6
Pinto beans, cooked1 cup3.6
Veggie hot dog, iron-fortified1 hot dog3.6
Prune juice8 ounces3.0
Quinoa, cooked1 cup2.8
Beet greens, cooked1 cup2.7
Tahini2 Tbsp2.7
Peas, cooked1 cup2.5
Cashews1/4 cup2.0
Brussels sprouts, cooked1 cup1.9
Potato with skin1 large1.9
Bok choy, cooked1 cup1.8
Bulgur, cooked1 cup1.7
Raisins1/2 cup1.5
Apricots, dried15 halves1.4
Soy yogurt6 ounces1.4
Veggie burger, commercial1 patty1.4
Watermelon1/8 medium1.4
Almonds1/4 cup1.3
Sesame seeds2 Tbsp1.2
Sunflower seeds1/4 cup1.2
Turnip greens, cooked1 cup1.2
Millet, cooked1 cup1.1
Broccoli, cooked1 cup1.0
Kale, cooked1 cup1.0
Tomato juice8 ounces1.0
Sources: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Legacy, 2018 and Manufacturer´s information.

The RDA for iron is 8 mg/day for adult men and for post-menopausal women and 18 mg/day for pre-menopausal women. Vegetarians (including vegans) may need up to 1.8 times more iron.

Is Tofu A Good Source of Iron? How Do Vegans Get Their Iron?

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