Similar to the daunting question of where do you get your protein from – is that of where does a vegan/vegetarian obtain iron? It is amazing how far a little education on the subject can go – given there are a plethora of sources that provide plant based iron – believe it or not in some cases, even more so than meats. Now, before I get carried away, yea – vegans and vegetarians alike, do need to ensure that they are eating the right foods to substitute a variety of different vitamins and minerals.
In fact, according to the Vegan Society (in the UK) ‘It’s straight-forward to obtain enough iron when you eat a rainbow of lightly processed vegetables, fruits and other whole plant foods each day. In fact, research has shown that vegans have average iron intakes that are similar to or higher than those of non-vegans, and higher than the recommended daily allowance.‘
Who would have every thought, right?
Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin. Which is an erythrocyte protein that transfers oxygen from the lungs to the tissues, needed for healthy red blood cell function and oxygen production.
It also supports a healthy metabolism and is necessary for growth and development, and the synthesis of hormones and connective tissues.
Plant-based foods are loaded with enough iron to sustain your body for the long haul.
There are many different ways you can add plant based iron sources of foods to your meals. Iron is found in many plant-based foods, many of which are also naturally energizing and alkalizing foods. When we consider eating iron for healthy blood, we should also think about how acidic those food choices are to our bodies.
Meat, dairy, eggs, and other animal sources of iron may give us a dose of the vitamin, but at what cost? These foods are associated with high levels of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and being overweight, or obesity. These foods may also lead to chronic inflammation.
Our blood prefers to maintain a slightly alkaline state, so it’s important to eat healthy, including alkaline sources of food sources of iron whenever possible.
Other foods rich in iron but which are usually eaten in smaller amounts include soya, some flours, parsley, watercress, dark chocolate, black molasses and edible seaweeds.
Having enough iron in your body is super important. Iron can prevent low energy, poor wound healing, anemia, healthy red blood cell function for immunity, healthy weight, and even healthy appearance of the skin.
Plant based iron, and iron in general, can also help prevent nutritional deficiencies associated with poor or stunted growth, along with assist with stress management and the regulation of all major hormones in the body.
Iron can be found in lots of things, with a variety of flavours to enjoy and some great combinations to go with those Vitamin C-rich foods.
Spinach, of course, is the classic source of iron, and likewise, other dark greens like Swiss chard and kale. Seeds, especially pumpkin and sesame, as well as nuts, contain iron.
And, for those of us who are up for some organic tofu, here’s another reason to eat it.
Iron is best consumed in food form, versus a supplement, which may cause negative side effects in high doses.
Men and women ages 18 and above need 18 milligrams per day, while anyone over 51 years of age only needs around 8 milligrams of iron due to the way it is stored and used in the body as we age. Women who are pregnant may need more, up to 27 milligrams per day.
*Important to always consult with a health care practitioner about any questions or concerns and before taking any additional vitamin or mineral supplements.
Thank you so much for visiting! I hope you have found some valuable information, if so, I’d love to hear about it! Please feel free to share this post with anyone who might benefit, and comments are always welcomed and appreciated.
I look forward to connecting with you next time!
From our kitchen to yours,
Love + Peace