Iron is an important nutrient needed for the formation of hemoglobin in the blood, which carries oxygen throughout the body. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, which manifests in symptoms such as fatigue and weakness.

This page focuses on iron-rich nuts and seeds, which are excellent food sources for people looking to increase their iron levels in the blood. You can already find nuts, seeds, and kernels with a high iron content in the table. However, we would like to separately introduce some seeds and nuts that are rich in iron and provide information on how to improve iron absorption in the body.

Iron-rich Nuts, Seeds, and Kernels

Especially for vegetarians and vegans, nuts and seeds are excellent iron-rich foods. This list includes some highly recommended iron-rich kernels, nuts, and seeds:

  • Pumpkin seeds are rich in iron and also offer many health benefits. They also contain magnesium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are important nutrients for health. Magnesium is important for muscle and nerve function, as well as bone and heart health. Zinc is a trace element required for the immune system, wound healing, and the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids necessary for brain and heart health, among other things.
  • Sunflower seeds are rich in iron and also contain vitamin E, an antioxidant that can contribute to skin health.
  • Pine nuts are also iron-rich seeds. They are abundant in vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc. Zinc is necessary for immune function, wound healing, and DNA synthesis.
  • Cashew nuts also contain a significant amount of iron. They are rich in magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin K, which are all important for health. Phosphorus is involved in cellular energy metabolism and the formation of bones and teeth. Vitamin K plays a role in blood clotting, among other functions.
  • According to the table, almonds are also an excellent source of iron. They also contain a good amount of vitamin E, magnesium, and dietary fiber. The latter contributes to digestive health.
  • Flaxseeds are rich in iron, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and antioxidants. The latter protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are produced by metabolic processes or external factors. They also reduce inflammation, strengthen the immune system, and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Hemp seeds and chia seeds are also iron-rich seeds according to the table. They are also rich in protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Improving Iron Absorption

To improve the absorption of iron from nuts, seeds, and kernels, you can do the following:

  • Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron in the body. So, you could eat an orange or bell pepper with your nuts, seeds, or kernels. You can find foods rich in vitamin C in this table. Like vitamin C, citric acid can also improve iron absorption. For this purpose, refer to this table of foods containing citric acid.
  • Tea and coffee contain compounds that can inhibit the absorption of iron. Instead, drink vitamin C-rich juices and beverages when consuming nuts and seeds.
  • Calcium can hinder the absorption of iron. Therefore, avoid eating iron-rich snacks together with calcium-rich foods.
  • Roasting or grinding can make nuts, seeds, and kernels more easily digestible and absorbable. This can have a positive impact on the absorption of iron.
  • Soaking iron-rich foods can facilitate the absorption of iron by reducing the amount of phytic acid, which in turn inhibits iron absorption. Phytic acid is an organic compound found in many plant-based foods such as nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes. It is an antinutrient that can hinder the absorption of minerals like iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium in the body.

Enjoying Iron-rich Nuts, Seeds, and Kernels in a Healthy Way

In this list, we present you with a few tips on how to enjoy them in a healthy and delicious manner:

  • Nuts, seeds, and kernels are naturally rich in nutrients and don't need additional salt. When buying them, make sure to choose unsalted varieties to reduce the salt content in your vegan diet. Consuming too much salt can be harmful to your health. It can lead to increased blood pressure, damage your kidneys, cause fluid retention in the body, and increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, it is recommended not to consume more than 5 grams of salt per day.
  • Nuts, seeds, and kernels can be a great addition to your favorite dishes. Use them as toppings for pizzas, pasta, soups, curries, salads, smoothies, cereals, or ice cream.
  • Iron-rich seeds, kernels, and nuts can be a wonderful base for homemade dressings and sauces.
  • You can also roast nuts, seeds, and kernels to enhance their flavor and crunchiness. Use a pan or the oven and experiment with different roasting times and temperatures. In the (oven) pan, you can also add some oil, various spices, and herbs to create exciting flavor combinations.
  • The iron-rich kernels, seeds, and nuts can be used as a base for homemade vegan milk alternatives like almond milk and cashew milk. Additionally, you have control over the ingredients chosen.
  • They can also be used to make vegan snacks such as energy balls and protein bars.
  • Nuts and kernels are a convenient on-the-go snack. Pack them in a bag or a small container and take them with you as a healthy snack for in-between meals.
  • Lastly, they can serve as a filling for vegetables like bell peppers, eggplants, or tomatoes. Mix them with spices, herbs, and vegan meat alternatives like tofu. Then, stuff them into the chosen vegetables.