Did you know that in India 38% of children below 5 years suffers from anemia. The Global Nutrition Report states that India faces serious threat of under-nutrition where more than half of the women of reproductive age suffers from anemia.
Anemia results from the deficiency of iron, reduced production of red blood cells and inability of the upper gastrointestinal tract to absorb dietary iron.
So it is very cleat that Iron is an essential nutrient for our body as it plays very important roles in many metabolic functions.(1).
A diet lacking in iron can result in low energy levels, shortness of breath, headaches, irritability, dizziness or anemia.
Types of Iron in Food –
There are two two types of Iron in the foods we eat — heme and non-heme. Heme iron is only found in animal products, whereas non-heme iron is only found in plants (2).
So here 21 plant foods are listed which are high in iron quantities.
Soybeans are packed with iron. Just one cup of cooked soybeans can provide a woman with over fifty percent of her daily recommended iron intake.
Soybeans contain 5.1 milligrams of iron per 100 grams.
2. Lentils (Dal)
Lentils are a another great source for iron. One cup of cooked lentils will provide 6.6 mg of iron or 33% of daily intake you need.
In addition, lentils are high in protein, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc.
3. Beans (Rajma)
Along with the iron they are also the good source for fiber, folate, phosphorus, potassium, manganese and several beneficial plant compounds.
4. Chick Peas (Chole)
Chickpeas is one of the best and popular indian food rich in iron. Known for its high protein and fibre content, chickpeas are also an exceptional source of Iron. In addition, it also contains a good amount of magnesium and vitamin B-6.
A 100gm intake of chick peas will provide you with 6.2 mg of iron.
5. Nuts (Kaju, Badam, Pista)
10 gms of cashew nuts provide you with 0.3 mg of iron. Men need 8 mg of iron but women need 18 mg as they have to go through menstrual cycle each month.
Other nuts that are rich in iron include pine nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, peanuts and pistachios and macadamia nuts. Munch on these nuts for a boost in iron levels and a bonus of heart healthy unsaturated fats.
6. Peanuts (Mungfali)
There’s no bad time to eat a handful of peanuts. They are densely packed with vitamins, minerals, good fats and antioxidants.
Peanuts also contain a good amount of Vitamin E which has shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. 100gm of peanuts can provide you with 4.6 mg of iron.
7. Leafy Green Veggies (Hari Sabji)
Foods such as spinach (known as palak in India), kale, swiss chard, collard and beet greens contain between 2.5–6.4 mg of iron per cooked cup, or 14–36% of the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake).
For example, 100 grams of spinach contains 1.1 times more iron than the same amount of red meat and 2.2 times more than 100 grams of salmon.
Other iron-rich veggies that fit in this category include broccoli (alternative of cauliflower), cabbage and Brussels sprouts, which contain between 1 and 1.8 mg per cooked cup, or around 6–10% of the RDI.
Of the many types of mushroom, oyster mushrooms are the best source of Iron. One cup of raw oyster mushroom provides about 28 calories and 0.35 grams of fat, 2.85 grams of protein and 1.6 grams of iron. The same amount provides 361 mg of potassium and 0.095 grams of Vitamin B6 .
A 100 gram of dates (Khajur) contains more than 50 percent of our daily iron requirement. Besides, being iron-rich fruit, dates are amazing sources of antioxidants.
They contain elements like calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc, as well as vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K. Dates, are great sources of fiber as well.
11. Water Melon
Well, here’s the another fruit which is a great source of iron. Yes, one-eighth of a medium-sized watermelon has about 1.5 gm of iron.
Not just that, watermelons are rich in vitamin C, which further increases the efficiency of non-heme iron in the body.
Another juicy fruit in our iron-rich fruit list. Pomegranate’s seeds are one of the most common recommended iron-rich fruits recommended by doctors for fighting anaemia. A 100 gms of pomegranate can provide you 0.3 mg of iron. T
Not just that, pomegranate also contain vitamins, especially vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E, as well as folic acid. Pomegranate helps in reducing the symptoms of iron deficiency.
13. Tomato Paste
At 0.5 mg per cup, raw tomatoes contain very little iron. However, when dried or concentrated, they offer a much greater amount (33).
More specifically, one large, unpeeled potato (10.5 ounces or 295 grams) provides 3.2 mg of iron, which is 18% of the RDI. Sweet potatoes contain slightly less — around 2.1 mg for the same quantity, or 12% of the RDI (40, 41).
Potatoes are also a great source of fiber. Additionally, one portion can cover up to 46% of your daily vitamin C, B6 and potassium requirements.
15. Cilantro Leaves / Coriander
Chutney of corianders and tomatoes can serve your need of iron by providing 1.8 mg for 100 gm of coriander. 
Coriander is also a wonderful source of dietary fiber, manganese, iron and magnesium as well. In addition, coriander leaves are rich in Vitamin C. This is the reason why it’s included in all the Indian recipes.
16. Drum Stick (Munga/ Sahjan)
Drum stick – Munga or sahjan popularly known by these names in India, is a rich source of iron and other nutrients.  It contains 4 mg of iron per 100 gm. Along with iron it’s also good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin B5 (16.54%), Fiber, Manganese, Magnesium.
It’s a perfect immunity booster.
Popularly known as gur in India, is a excellent source of carbohydrate and fat. It’s a substitute for sugar in Indian households. It contains 11 mg per 100gm of jaggery, i.e. 61% of the RDI.