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.