This Iron-Rich Smoothie Bowl is full of plant-based ingredients and tastes amazing too! If you’re struggling to keep your iron levels up (and suck at takings pills like me). This recipe is a great option and can be enjoyed daily, along with many iron-rich foods listed below.
I’ve had low iron almost my whole life, and as I get older it is harder to boost. I’m honestly not great at taking supplements because they have weird side effects, so I turn to food to keep my iron high. This iron-rich smoothie bowl is full of iron-rich foods that not only taste delicious but work together to combat my anemia.
It’s common for women who are menstruating to have lower iron. Sometimes iron supplements are necessary, but adding iron-rich foods to your diet can also help. The body does a pretty good job of absorbing the iron consumed as part of a healthy, varied diet.
Table of Contents
Iron-Rich Smoothie Ingredients
When I started to get serious about increasing my iron levels, I researched plants that were naturally high in this vital nutrient. I discovered that for the body to actually use the iron I was pumping into it, I needed an abundance of vitamin C. This smoothie is specially formulated to include both nutrients to give me the best chance possible.
- Spinach: 1 cup of spinach contains .81g of iron
- Coconut Water: 1 cup of coconut water contains 24.3mg of vitamin C
- Raw Pepitas: 1 cup pepitas contains 2.1mg of iron
- Strawberries: 5 large strawberries contain 59mg of vitamin C
- Cherries: 1 cup of cherries contain 15.5mg of vitamin C
- Bananas: Bananas contain a small amount of vitamin C, but are used in this recipe to add sweetness and creaminess.
- Cacao Powder: 1 tablespoon of cacao powder contains 5% of the EDV of iron
Types of Iron
There are two types of iron: heme iron from animal sources (meat, poultry, eggs, fish, seafood), and non-heme from plants (see list below). We like to focus on plants here at Simple Green Smoothies. A lot of the ingredients we blend in our smoothies naturally include non-heme iron.
Heme iron is more readily absorbed by the body, but can only come from consuming animal products. If you’re vegan or vegetarian or don’t eat other animal products very often, you’ll want to make sure you eat plenty of the plant-based non-heme iron foods listed below.
Plant-Based (Non-Heme) Iron Sources
You can easily find iron-rich foods in a variety of plants. Blend this iron-rich smoothie or try these other options. Chances are you’re already eating some of these foods.
- Dried fruit: Prunes, apricots and raisins are good sources of iron. Be careful with dried fruit as it contains a lot of natural sugar and calories so use it in moderation. Add to trail mix or top salads or breakfast cereals and porridges.
- Molasses: A by-product of sugar processing, molasses is naturally high in iron. Taking a tablespoon by mouth daily has been the method of many moms.
- Spearmint, Thyme and Parsley: Add these herbs fresh or dried to meals to increase iron.
- Seeds (especially Sesame and Pumpkin): Add to salads, porridges, smoothies, trail mixes, etc. to provide a great boost in iron.
- Quinoa: A pseudo-grain, and technically a seed, four ounces of quinoa contains four mg of iron.
- Legumes (Lentils, Peas and Beans): Also high in protein, beans and legumes are a great way to get plenty of plant-based iron into the diet, especially for vegans and vegetarians.
- Iron-enriched grains: Enriched grains have long been used to help prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
- Spirulina: This blue-green algae is one of the very best sources of non-heme iron and protein ounce for ounce. Use powdered spirulina and mix with water, juice or in a smoothie. You can also take a high-quality spirulina supplement (though it tastes like pond water in my opinion). This contains 11% of the RDV of iron.
- Dark chocolate and cacao powder: Besides boosting your mood, dark chocolate, unsweetened chocolate and cacao/cocoa powder are high in iron. One tbsp of cacao contains 5% of the recommended daily value (RDV).
- Spinach and other leafy greens: Half a cup of cooked spinach contains 3.2mg of iron
- Sea vegetables: Kelp is a great source of iron.
- Tofu and cooked soybeans (edamame): Tofu contains 6.6mg of iron per 1/2 cup and can be easily tossed into salads, on pasta and more. Iron-rich foods like soybeans are great additions to a variety of dishes.
- Tomato paste: a 6oz can of paste contains 5.1mg of iron and is a great addition to savory sauces (and savory smoothies!) for flavor and an iron boost.
- Maca: The roasted, dried and ground root of a plant native to South America that is used for natural energy, but also contains a good amount of iron.
Iron-Rich Smoothie FAQs
My iron-rich smoothie bowl contains spinach, coconut water, pepitas, strawberries, cherries, cacao powder and maca powder for a balance of iron and vitamin C. This way I get a good boost of iron as well as the nutrients to help my body use the iron I’m consuming.
Green smoothies are a great place to start to naturally increase iron intake. Make a smoothie with spinach, raw nuts/seeds high in iron like pepitas and fruits high in vitamin C to help with absorption.
Dried fruits like prunes, apricots and raisins all contain iron. I typically focus on leafy greens and seed sources for iron and pair them with fruits high in vitamin C to help my body absorb the iron.
More Recipes High in Iron
If you struggle with iron, check out these plant-based recipes. They will help set your body up for success!
- Thai Coconut Soup = 15g of iron
- Healthy Cherry Smoothie = 9g of iron
- Glowing Green Smoothie = 8g of iron
- Plant-Based Pizza = 8g of iron
- Chickpea Salad = 6g of iron
- Blueberry Spinach Smoothie = 6g of iron
- Potato Curry = 6g of iron
- Lemon Arugula Salad = 6g of iron
- Brain Food Smoothie = 5g of iron
- Healthy Pasta Salad = 5g of iron
- Adrenal Fatigue Smoothie = 5g of iron
Which one do you want to dive into first? Drop and comment and let me know after you eat and rate this smoothie bowl!
Iron-Rich Smoothie Bowl
- 3 cups spinach fresh
- 2 cups coconut water unsweetened
- ½ cup pepitas raw
- 1 cup strawberries frozen
- 1 cup cherries frozen
- 2 bananas
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- 2 tsp maca powder optional
- 1 serving homemade protein powder optional
- Place spinach, coconut water and pepitas into blender jar.
- Puree until smooth.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend again until smooth.
- Swap spinach out for the leafy green of your choice.
- Use at least 1 frozen ingredient for a refreshingly cool smoothie bowl.
- Adding in a plant-based protein powder will help your body process the natural fruit sugars in this recipe.
If a smoothie recipe calls for cherries and/or cacao powder, I am in!!
I love this smoothie bowl! The iron boost helps me when I’m feeling run down.
This is a good one!
Low iron levels are finding their smoothie super hero!!
love this recipe since I can add all different kinds of toppings on it!
I’ve struggled with anemia my whole life. I know taking supplements work, but I never like how they make me feel (and I suck at taking it every day). This smoothie bowl is a great idea and I cannot wait to try it. Thanks Jen!
I’m going to try this recipe the week leading up to giving blood and see if it helps!
What kind of water can I use, since I don’t like coconut water??? please help
Hey Malissa, you can use regular filtered water in place of coconut water. Easy peasy. 🙂
How much iron is in this smoothie? Thanks Nicola
This recipe has approximately 4mg of iron, which is 20% of your daily value.
It’s also good to avoid eating foods that prevent iron absorption too soon before or after eating something with iron like calcium, tea, potato, eggs, cocoa, coffee, walnuts.
Once I realised there was more than just calcium rich foods that inhibited iron absorption it was a lot easier for me to get my iron up.
Thanks for this post and for the recipe! I will definitely have to make it ^_^.
Great reminder, Sandy!
But the recipe says to add cacoa? but you say it prevents iron absorption? So this recipe is not good for iron absorption? Im consfused
Sandy I think there is a difference. The cacoa recommended for the smoothie is the one which is unsweetened whereas the one to avoid is the sweetened one.
I’ve been following SGS since they kicked off a few years ago. You guys have made smoothies a daily part of our meals. My 3 boys pick up a glass every morning without even thinking about it (And I remember when they frowned on seeing the bright green goo in a glass)! Thank you for making us healthier!
I’ve definitely seen an improvement in my iron levels since drinking smoothies with spinach and spirulina. I use a tablespoon in 16 ounces. Any more and you get that funny after taste.
YAY!! Love hearing that your whole family is blendin’! We love our rawkstar families!
My iron levels dropped dangerously low last year and I had to get an IV transfusion. Green smoothies have kept my levels within normal range since but the real key has been iron rich Natava Organic Spirulina. One serve of this gives more than 130% RDI. You can find the nutritional info here: goo.gl/BGMEhr.
Hopefully it’s available outside NZ!
Thanks for sharing, Rachel! And happy to hear your iron levels are back up!
Made this, but mine wasn’t thick enough to eat as a bowl. I don’t mind though, it’s easier to suck a smoothie down than spoon it in.
🙂 Added 1/2 Tbsp of spirulina with no “pond water” side effects. Maybe I’ll try adding a little beet next time too.
YAY! Happy to enjoyed the recipe even if it wasn’t thick enough for a bowl. And KALE YEAH, for no pond water effect. While spurlina can be super nutritious, it can also overpower some smoothies.
I am of need of meals/snacks like this so thank you for sharing. How much iron does it have in it per serving?
I have anemia and due to my other stomach problems which I go to the Mayofor I have to get iron through IV so hopefully I love this recipe because I’m willing to try whatever so I don’t have to keep going in for iron. IM also anaphylactic from citrus(not citric acid) and I can have everyone of the ingredients in the green smoothie bowl; recipe to help anemia couldn’t have come at a better time!
I hope this recipe is exactly what your body needs!
This article today was right on time for me, God always knows! 🙂 I had been dealing with low iron, something which I never had a problem with but I was having severe shortness of breath (very scary), I had my blood drawn and found my ferritin level to be at 6 when it should be above 10! . I started on iron supplements and adding extra spinach as well as beets (I hadn’t added beets before) and I’m feeling much better. I will get my blood re-drawn in a month or so.
Thank you for this article and I definitely plan to try the iron rich smoothie bowl. I just have to go grocery shopping for some of the items.
Blessings to you both and continued success in your business!
YAY! I love when you receive things just when you need them. Keep me updated! I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for good numbers next month!