There's a common misconception that one should eat meat to have enough iron. Well, let me tell you right off the bat that this is simply not true. There are plenty of non-meat (non-heme) food products that will supplement your body with the level of iron you need to remain healthy. For example, beef contains 3mg of iron/100mg while rolled oats has about 7mg. The important thing to note if you're iron deficient is that when trying to increase your iron intake is absorbability, once you figure out how it works then you're good to go.
Here's a list of 5 non-meat products that rank high in iron content based on the required 18 mg Daily Value (DV) percent:
1. Squash and Pumpkin Seeds
Squash and pumpkin seeds contain 15mg of iron/100mg which is about 83% of the required DV. Eat about a cup of these seeds as a snack or by adding it to your salad and you'll get 188% of your DV. Sesame seeds and flax seeds are also great sources of iron.
Nuts like cashew, almond, peanut and hazelnut contain a little over 6 mg of the DV. These types of nuts are also good sources of protein and healthy fats so you'll definitely be getting some extra nutrition when you snack on them.
3. Beans and Legumes
Kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans and legumes such as lentils contain more iron per 100mg than beef! You'll get about 37% of the required daily minimum when you eat a cup of these beans or legumes.
4. Whole Grains
Not only are whole grains useful in keeping you full longer, they're also packed with iron! You'll get about 15% of the DV from a cup of grains like quinoa, barley and rice. If you're depending on whole grains as your main source of iron, you should not consume them with iron supplements.
5. Dark Leafy Greens
Popeye ate lots of spinach for a very good reason! Greens like spinach, swiss chard and kale contain 3.6 mg of iron per 100mg which amounts to about 20% of the DV.
Remember: you should always consult with a doctor before making any changes to your diet.