Tahini has almost 9 mg of iron per 100g. Just a tablespoon provides more than 7% of the Daily Value. In fact, tahini is one of the best vegan sources of iron.
How much iron in Tahini?
Tahini is one of the richest plant-based sources of iron. Tahini from roasted kernels, which is the most common type, has 8.95 mg of iron per 100g.
Just a tablespoon has 1.34 mg of iron. This dose is 7% of the recommended daily intake for women and 16% of the Daily Value for men.
Women have much higher daily needs of iron than men. Women of reproductive age require 18 mg of iron per day, while men require only 8 mg.
Moreover, 1 oz of tahini has 2.54 mg of iron, which is 14% of the Daily Value for women!
However, the iron content varies greatly among tahini types. The iron content depends on sesame variety and processing methods. There are tahinis that have less than 6 mg of iron per 100g.
Tahini has more iron than most common vegan foods!
Actually, tahini is one of the best vegan sources of iron.
Firstly, tahini is the richest spread in iron. It has significantly more iron than peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, or cow’s butter!
Only a few plant-based foods have more iron than tahini per 100g. Dark chocolate and pumpkin seeds are good examples of plant-based foods with high iron concentrations.
But, the richest vegan foods in iron are beans! Beans can skyrocket your daily iron intake. A serving can provide more than 50% of the DV!
Do we absorb iron of tahini?
Iron in animal-derived foods is more bioavailable than iron in plant-based foods.
Tahini is made of sesame seeds. Thus, it’s also known as sesame butter. Iron in seeds and nuts is less bioavailable because they contain compounds that inhibit its absorption. Such compounds are phytates and polyphenols.
It’s estimated that we absorb between 5% and 12% of nonheme iron; the type of iron naturally present in plants.
On the contrary, the bioavailability of iron from mixed diets containing both animal-based and plant-based foods is up to 18%.
In fact, vegetarians, vegans, and people who follow a plant-based diet should consume at least 1.8 times more iron from food than meat eaters!
How to eat tahini to boost iron intake?
First, we should eat tahini with foods high in vitamin C. Vitamin C increases iron absorption. For instance, you could add lemon juice to your recipes containing tahini!
In addition, you could add tahini to your salad dressings. Most greens are high in vitamin C. Moreover, there are greens, such as kale and spinach, which are great dietary sources of both vitamin C and iron!
Also, garlic can increase iron bio-accessibility. You could eat a salad with a dressing made of tahini, lemon juice and garlic powder![5,6]
Furthermore, animal foods, such as meat, poultry, and seafood, enhance iron absorption. Hence, you could eat tahini with healthy tuna, chicken, or turkey sandwiches. Also, you could add tahini to many recipes to increase the iron status of the body!
In any case, healthy people, who follow a well-balanced diet, probably get more than enough iron from food.
What foods should I avoid when eating tahini?
On the other hand, too much calcium may reduce iron absorption. Thus, better avoid eating cheese or any other dairy with tahini. Cheese isn’t a good dietary source of iron.
Can we depend on tahini to meet our daily needs?
Although tahini is a great vegan source of iron, we can’t depend on tahini to meet our daily needs. We have to consume a wide variety of foods rich in iron. Especially women of reproductive age, as they have high daily iron needs.
As women require high dosages of iron, they may have a hard time meeting their daily iron needs from food. Especially, women who follow a plant-based diet. They may benefit from taking an iron supplement.
Actually, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide!
You’ll find a wide variety of iron supplements on iHerb.
Always consult your healthcare provider before changing your diet or taking any supplement.