Iron-Rich Green Smoothie

Iron-Rich Green Smoothie

Last week I went in for my annual checkup (which is more like a once-a-decade checkup because I’ve convinced myself I’m allergic to doctors and hospitals and western medicine), and after getting some blood drawn discovered I’m anemic (I have low iron levels in my blood). I’m not surprised because it runs in one side of my family, and I’m honestly not at all fazed by it either. The main side effect of anemia is fatigue, and I have always had abnormally high levels of energy, so anemia shmanemia.

While I don’t feel the need to take iron supplements (as recommended by doctors), I am going to make a conscious effort to eat more iron-rich foods. When you think of food that’s high in iron, you probably think red meat, white meat, meat, meat and more meat. I … barely eat any meat with the exception of fish. Oysters and clams are packed with iron, which is great for me because I ADORE shellfish, but ultimately, I need to look elsewhere for iron.

Lucky for me, there are lots of vegetarian/vegan options (not that I’m either). Among the superstars are spinach, beet greens, dandelion greens, collards, kale, chard, strawberries, watermelon, sesame seeds, lentils and blackstrap molasses. I also learned that iron is more easily and effectively digested if eaten with Vitamin C. Convenient because the majority of foods I just listed are high in C as well.

Iron-Rich Green Smoothie

Iron-Rich Green Smoothie

I debated whether or not to call this a “juice” or a “smoothie” because it doesn’t have the thick consistency you might expect from a smoothie, but it’s also got more body than juice. Just think of it as an iron-rich green concoction. And if the thought of putting blackstrap molasses in a smoothie sounds crazy, don’t worry—you can’t even taste it aside from a hint of sweetness.


  • 2 cup packed spinach
  • 1 cup packed kale
  • 2 heaping cups chopped watermelon
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • ½ tbsp blackstrap molasses

Throw it in a blender and enjoy!

Iron-Rich Green Smoothie

Just how much iron is packed into this green smoothie? 41% of your daily iron needs. The percentage is based on a 2,000-calorie diet, and because I need fewer calories each day, the percentage is actually probably a little higher than that for me. So I’m pretty much getting half of my daily iron needs from this one smoothie.

How does that compare to red meat, often touted as the most iron-rich food out there? One strip steak of grass-fed beef, lean-only and raw (you’d never eat a raw steak, but there are more nutrients pre-cooking, so I’m trying to make this as much of an apples-to-apples comparison as  I can) has 22% of your daily iron needs. Half of what was in this smoothie. Whoop! Plants win again.

Not that I think there’s anything wrong with enjoying a steak now and then, but it’s nice to know you don’t need meat to get the minerals you need—especially since I’ve never liked the taste of red meat.

Iron-Rich Green Smoothie

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 315
—Calories from Fat: 48
Total Fat: 9.5g
—Saturated Fat: .5g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 87mg
Carbohydrates: 65g
—Dietary Fiber: 9g
—Sugar: 37g
Protein: 9g
Iron: 41%

Woof. What a long-winded post. Gold star for everyone who actually read the whole thing. Have a great weekend!


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  1. I read the whole thing! I love this post because it proves that you can get all your essential nutrients from plant-based foods. Go veggies! Go Nicole!


  2. 50 plus says:

    This is a must have recipe for me! Thanks!

  3. Look great!!!! Love your website

  4. Thanks for posting! Always love learning a new green smoothie or juice recipe. How was the taste?

    • I think it’s delicious–and if you’re used to the taste of vegetable-based juices and smoothies, I think you’ll agree. If you’re expecting a fruity, sweet drink though…maybe not so much haha 🙂

  5. love. (and cute photos! i’m inspired)

  6. That looks phenomenal! Adding to the to-try list! My fiance and I were just talking about iron-rich foods b/c someone was just saying how they had to resort to meat for their iron. I will have to send them this recipe as an example that you do not! 🙂

  7. awesome! came across this post through google, since I’m 7 months pregnant and was just told I was also anemic! Trying this tomorrow 🙂 Thanks!!

  8. Hey Nicole, I just wanted to give you a little info from my nutrition class. Plant sources(non-heme iron) are absorbed by your body only at a rate of 2-20% while most animal sources(heme-iron) are absorbed at a rate of about 23%. I’m not trying to say your smoothie doesn’t provide a lot of Iron, which it does, and is a great alternative for vegetarians or vegans however meat sources WILL provide more available iron so long as you don’t eat iron inhibitors along with your meal and have some vitamin c to help with the absorption. Thanks a bunch for your post and for reading mine. I really enjoyed reading it but just had to chyme my 2 cents in.

    • Hi Derek, thanks for sharing this! For me personally, the cons of meat outweigh the pros, but facts like this are important to know as I try to get my daily dose of iron from a mostly plant-based diet. Love learning about the topic! 🙂

    • This isn’t entirely correct… Non-heme iron when eaten with vitamin C is absorbed up to 5 times as much, making it more absorbable than heme-iron. This is why when there are studies done on vegans iron levels, they’re levels are fine, if not better than the standard meat eaters. (Source: Dr John McDougall) So in a nutshell: The best way to absorb iron is with non-heme and vitamin C. This way you also don’t get the negative, acidic affects of meats.

  9. Thank you so much for this smoothie recipe, I have anemia as well and don’t alwaysrhav an appetite for red meat. I welcome anymore iron smoothie recipes you have so I can change/switch my greens around. (i’ve been told too much of one green can overload the thyroid)

  10. I’m interested to know how long this smoothie would last int the fridge? Just because I have a busy schedule and don’t think I could make it every day, so is it possibly to make it in bulk then leave it in the fridge for a few days?

    • I’m not sure–typically, a small portion of the nutritional value will be lost when juices/smoothies are refrigerated more than a few hours, and freezing is actually the better option. But I’d think overnight wouldn’t hurt! Some separation might occur, but you could just shake it up before drinking.

  11. I am extremely anemic and im defo guna try this smoothie as medication isnt working 🙁 thanks nicole. Also read the whole post x

  12. Thank you so much for this recipe!!:) It was so good, not like the other veggie kinda smoothies I had made previously that almost made me puke.
    I also found out I was anemic, when I wanted to donate blood, but sadly couldn’t.
    So thanks once again for posting this!:) xx

  13. Thank you for sharing! Going to try it. Do you know what the 41% value means? I worry that it means you’re taking in 41% of your daily needs of iron, but how do we ensure that we are absorbing it correctly? I know there are inhibitors, like tea for instance.. I love a cup of tea in the morning, and would love to drink this smoothie also as a breakfast alternative. But I wonder if it will almost cancel out all of the wonderful iron I’m putting in! AYY! Must drink tea at wake-up time, and YUMMY Smoothie 2 hours later..

    • The nutrition facts don’t take into account any inhibitors :/ 41% reflects an ideal world in which our bodies absorb every little ounce of iron (wouldn’t that be nice!)

  14. Carol Ann says:

    Hi Nicole, I have been reading the question about leftover smoothie’s…..When I have some leftover smoothie, I put it in coffee cups in the freezer and when I am ready to head out the door in the morning, I put the frozen smoothie in a ziplock baggie and pack a spoon and take it to work….By mid-morning, my smoothie has thawed enough for me to scrape with a spoon and I have this wonderful frozen goodness for my mid-morning snack…You should give it a try…..It is yummy goodness……I don’t like the foamy texture of the smoothie completely thawed out……But this is amazing…..

  15. Hello, I am about to try this today,I also have aneamia, even after 5 weeks of injections, still only increased from 1 to 4. so need to do something and do it now. Thanks for sharing this. Fingers crossed my iron levels will be on the way up real soon.

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