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.
|Blackstrap molasses||2 Tbsp||7.2|
|Lentils, cooked||1 cup||6.6|
|Kidney beans, cooked||1 cup||5.2|
|Chickpeas, cooked||1 cup||4.7|
|Lima beans, cooked||1 cup||4.5|
|Black-eyed peas, cooked||1 cup||4.3|
|Swiss chard, cooked||1 cup||4.0|
|Bagel, enriched||1 medium||3.8|
|Black beans, cooked||1 cup||3.6|
|Pinto beans, cooked||1 cup||3.6|
|Veggie hot dog, iron-fortified||1 hot dog||3.6|
|Prune juice||8 ounces||3.0|
|Quinoa, cooked||1 cup||2.8|
|Beet greens, cooked||1 cup||2.7|
|Peas, cooked||1 cup||2.5|
|Brussels sprouts, cooked||1 cup||1.9|
|Potato with skin||1 large||1.9|
|Bok choy, cooked||1 cup||1.8|
|Bulgur, cooked||1 cup||1.7|
|Apricots, dried||15 halves||1.4|
|Soy yogurt||6 ounces||1.4|
|Veggie burger, commercial||1 patty||1.4|
|Sesame seeds||2 Tbsp||1.2|
|Sunflower seeds||1/4 cup||1.2|
|Turnip greens, cooked||1 cup||1.2|
|Millet, cooked||1 cup||1.1|
|Broccoli, cooked||1 cup||1.0|
|Kale, cooked||1 cup||1.0|
|Tomato juice||8 ounces||1.0|
|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.