Essential Iron (even for Vegans)

Tiredness, fatigue and drops in performance and usually and most likely caused but things like overtraining, poor sleep, lack of recovery and under nourishment -sufficient calories in the right ratios of carbs protein and fat to facilitate work load-. But sometimes there is a possibility it could be a micronutrient deficiency such as Iron.

Iron is required for the formation of oxygen-carrying proteins, haemoglobin and myoglobin, and for enzymes involved in energy production. Oxygen- carrying capacity is essential for endurance exercise as well as normal function of the nervous, behavioural, and immune systems.

What does it mean?
Iron depletion (low iron stores) is one of the most prevalent nutrient deficiencies observed among athletes, especially females. Iron deficiency, with or without anaemia, can impair muscle function and limit work capacity. Iron requirements for endurance athletes, especially distance runners, are increased by approximately 80%.

It would be worth noting athletes who are vegetarian, vegan or regular blood donors should aim for an iron intake greater than their respective RDA; 18 mg women and 8 mg for men – though if you’re vegan this goes up to about 33mg for women and 14mg for men.

Due to the increase in popularity in veganism providing a non-haem (non-meat sources) I thought it would be apt to provide a list of iron sources that everyone can eat.

  • Spinach – 1 cup = 6.43mg
  • Swiss chard – 1 cup = 3.96mg
  • Cumin – 2tsp = 2.79mg
  • Parsley – ½ cup = 1.88mg
  • Turmeric – 2tsp = 1.82mg
  • Beet Greens – 1 cup = 2.74mg
  • Collard Greens – 1 cup = 2.15mg
  • Bok Choy – 1 cup = 1.77mg
  • Asparagus – 1 cup = 1.64mg

Before you take any kind of supplementation, I would highly recommend getting your blood tested though to make sure as supplementing without being deficient could be detrimental



Here’s a recipe for a simple addition to your day to add ~9mg of Iron to your day in an organic way

Saag Aloo

  • 1 large onion
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 400g Spinach
  • 1tsp – fresh grated ginger, turmeric, garam masala
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

PARBOIL chopped potatoes (cubes)

HEAT oil and cumin seeds in separate pan

ADD chopped onion and cook till golden in pan

DRAIN potatoes

ADD potato and everything else except spinach to pan

HEAT till soft

ADD spinach and cook till wilts


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