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Iron A Vegan Diet and Food Combinations

Iron A Vegan Diet & Food Combinations

Iron is seen as one of the critical nutrients on the vegan diet as well as on an omnivore diet worldwide. Generally, it is possible to cover iron needs with a plant based diet, if the food intake is optimally combined. It is also important to mention that some have higher iron needs such as pregnant women, breastfeed women, children and teenagers.

What do we need iron for?

Iron is needed for the transportation of oxygen in our blood, as iron makes up the biggest part of haemoglobin. In the muscles iron has the role to store oxygen. It is also important for energy production as well as the creation of transmitters in the body.

When there is a lack of iron in our body, iron reservoirs are activated. If the reservoirs are not enough, the resorption of the iron increases through nutrition.

A lack of iron can lead to a decreased physical capacity and disturb thermoregulation. A chronically low intake of iron can lead to iron deficiency anaemia.

Bioavailability of iron

Iron is available in both, animal and plant products. It depends on the type of iron if it is well or less well absorbed.

In our body we have the bivalent iron, also called heme-iron. Because of our similarity to animals, this type of iron can also be found in animal products.

Plant products on the other hand have trivalent iron, also called non-heme iron. Trivalent iron tends to form complexes whilst the solubility is very low, even at a pH of> 5. Therefore, it is less well absorbed by the body than divalent iron. In addition to that, it can interact with other food components or be influenced both positively and negatively in the absorption process.

The bioavailability of heme-iron is 15-35%, whereas for non-heme iron it is 2-20%.

How To Increase Iron Resorption

Adding Vitamin C, fruit acids, organic acids and sulfur-containing amino acids to meals can increase iron resorption. Especially Vitamin C can increase resorption by 3 to 4 times.

Some compounds such as oxalates, phytates, tannines and other polyphenols can inhibit iron absorption. Phytates in legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains create complexes with minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc, which inhibit resorption. Soaking, fermentation and sprouting can reduce the amount of phytates.

Lack of Iron

As mentioned before, a lack of iron can lead to anaemia. If there is a lack of iron diagnosed, supplements can be taken when consulted with a doctor. It is not recommended to take supplements when no diagnose has been made.

Plant Sources Of Iron

  • Legumes: lentils, beans, chickpeas, tofu
  • Nuts and seeds: pumpkin, sesame (tahini), flax seeds, pistachios, sunflower seeds
  • Whole grains and pseudo cereal: amaranth, quinoa, millet, oats, spelt, brown rice
  • Vegetables: raw fennel, purslane, endive, lamb’s lettuce, cooked salsify, rocket, zucchini
  • Dried fruit: peach, apricot, banana, dates

Generally it is again important to highlight that iron is not only critical for vegans or vegetarians but also for omnivores. Therefore, it is important to smartly combine food.

Some examples:

  • Hummus with bell pepper sticks
  • Orange juice and oatmeal
  • Fermented soy products such as miso or tempeh
  • Dried fruits and nuts
  • Lentils and tomato sauce
  • Dark chocolate and strawberries
  • Tofu, Broccoli & Tahini

I hope that this article could help you understand the importance of iron for our body and on a vegan diet in general. If there are more questions, feel free to reach out to me at any time.

If you are not sure about how much iron you are getting into your diet, you can always track it using I personally really enjoy it, as it really helps me understand what I need to eat in order to hi my targets.

With love,


Vegan Travel

7 Vegan Restaurants in Barcelona You Have To Visit

Everyone who knows me, knows that I love Barcelona. I became vegan while I was living in my favourite city, so I was really excited to try all of the amazing vegan foods the city has to offer. And these are my personal top 7 vegan restaurants in Barcelona you have to visit!


#1 Väcka

Väcka - Vegan Restaurant in Barcelona

This place is a fully vegan restaurant offering vegan burgers, kale salads, waffles, açaí bowls, vegan cheese nights, and much more. My favourite is definitely the vegan burger, as the patty bun combo is something I haven’t found anywhere else (and I have tried many vegan burgers before). The place itself is pretty small, but cozy and the service is very lovely, which makes you feel like home.

Väcka is also located in one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Barcelona, which is Gracia.

Get to the website here


#2 Equilibrium Cafè Brvnch & Coffee

Equilibrium Cafè Brvnch&Coffee - Vegan Restaurant in Barcelona

When I found out that Barcelona opened its first all vegan brunch place I got waaaay to excited! And to be honest, my expectations were exceeded. We ordered a vegan omelette, a sandwich made out of amazing french bread, avocado and hummus, vegan pancakes and vegan cheesecake (raw and sugar free). We also had a matcha latte and a chai latte. All of the dishes were absolutely incredible. My favourite was the vegan omelette. As for the atmosphere, the place is pretty big, bright and very welcoming. The service is very friendly as they take their time to explain each of the dishes they have to you. The restaurant is located in Eixample, which is a little far from the centre, but there are enough possibilities to get there.

Check out their Instagram here


#3 CatBarCAT

CatBarCAT - Vegan Burger in Barcelona

This place, which has nothing to do with cats, has the best vegan burgers in town, with delicious patatas bravas and a huge variety of different beers. My all time favourite is the black bean burger, but honestly? Everything is super delicious. The atmosphere is great, but a little dark as it is more of a bar/pub with self service. CatBar CAT is located in born, which is a great neighbourhood with many different bars and restaurants, and it is also very easily accessible and central.




#4 The Green Spot

The Green Spot - Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurant in BarcelonaEven though this place is a vegetarian restaurants, I needed to add it here as it is one of my all time favourites. Even though the price is a little higher, the quality of the the food is incredible, making it totally worth it. I have already tried many different dishes from vegan pizza to tagliatelle, to some jackfruit dishes and the incredible chocolate cake. It is a very big and spacious restaurant with many tables. If you plan to go after 8pm it would make sense to make a reservation, as in the evenings this place is always packed.



#5 Veggie Garden

Veggie Garden - Vegan Restaurant in BarcelonaThis place is an all vegan place with a variety of dishes from all around the world. There are two restaurants in Barcelona, one in Raval and one at Gran Via. Some dishes are only in one or the other place, that’s why it is good to check their menu online. The best thing about Veggie Garden is that you get a pretty big meal for a relatively low price. I personally have only been to the place in Raval, which is great as it is central and you can sit outside during summer time.

Check out their website here


#6 All you eat is love

All you eat is love - Vegan Restaurant in Barcelona

As this place was located right next to my old office, I used to go there a lot. This restaurant is about 80% vegan, of which I have literally tried everything vegan from the menu. My favourite dish is the Japanese Bowl, which I recommend everyone to try. I also really like the atmosphere of the place, as it has an outside area, which is great during summer time.

Check out their Instagram here



#7 BarCeloneta Sangria Bar

Just when I thought I could never eat seafood again, I found out about this incredible place. They have everything, from vegan calamaris to shrimps to paella to raw food. I no longer have to be sad, that I can’t eat seafood again. Plus, this place has one of the best hummus’ I have ever tasted. BarCeloneta also offers very tasty sangrias, which in my opinion are a bit pricey, but totally worth it. The atmosphere is very cozy, with dimmed lights and great to visit in the evenings. The service is very quick and nice.

Visit the website here


Have you ever been to one of the restaurants I have mentioned? Let me know!


With love,

Jess x