Getting enough iron in your diet can be tough, especially if you’re on a meat-free meal plan. Though plant foods can contain the important mineral, the body can’t absorb it as easily from vegetables as it can from meat. Why does that matter? Iron helps the body produce red blood cells and also boosts the immune system. Luckily, when iron is consumed in combination with vitamin C, the body can absorb up to six times as much of the mineral. Watch the video to see how some of your favorite plant-based foods can be paired together to help your body get as much iron as it needs.
Spinach (iron) + red bell peppers (C): Toss together a substantial salad with everything in your refrigerator’s crisper, including fresh baby spinach and crunchy red bell peppers.
Broccoli (iron) + tomatoes (C): Cook up a veggie omelet with sautéed broccoli and juicy sliced tomatoes for a touch of color.
Black beans (iron) + cabbage (C): Update the classic rice and beans combo, which, when eaten together, provides a complete source of protein, by adding savory sautéed cabbage to the mix.
Kale (iron) + oranges (C): Throw together a superfood-centered kale salad studded with sweet orange segments, plus any other add-ins your palate prefers.
Lentils (iron) + Brussels sprouts (C): Cooked lentils don’t just provide protein—they also pair perfectly with roasted-‘til-caramelized Brussels sprouts.
Dark chocolate (iron) + strawberries (C): We hardly need to convince you of this winning combo. Melt dark chocolate in a pot on the stove, then mop it up with the antioxidant-packed berries.