Imagine some classic food pairings: wine and cheese, fruit and nuts, steak and potatoes … iron and vitamin C? For a variety of people, including vegans and endurance athletes, getting enough iron can be a challenge. Even minor levels of iron deficiency can lead to impaired endurance, as well as fatigue, loss of concentration and decreased immune function. While animal-based sources of iron (red meat, poultry, egg yolks and shellfish) tend to be better absorbed than plant-based sources (dark leafy greens, beans, lentils, tofu, some grains and even spices), there are other factors that can improve or inhibit iron absorption.
Iron is an essential nutrient in our diets; it’s necessary to transport oxygen and nutrients to our cells. Deficiencies are quite common, especially for vegetarians. Sure, we tend to think of animal products like beef, chicken and eggs as good sources of iron (which they are) but there are several vegetable sources of iron as well.
Heme iron (the type found in animal products) is more easily absorbed by our bodies, but that doesn’t meal non-heme (vegetarian) sources are not. Here are some plant based sources of iron and tips for preparing and eating them to maximize absorption.
Vegetarian Sources of Iron
- Legumes: lentils, soybeans, tofu, tempeh, lima beans, black beans, chickpeas
- Grains: quinoa, fortified cereals, brown rice, oatmeal
- Nuts and seeds: pumpkin, squash, pine, pistachio, sunflower, cashews, unhulled sesame
- Vegetables: tomato sauce, Swiss chard, collard greens
- Other: blackstrap molasses, prune juice
Many folks discover they have iron-deficiency—a condition which can result from not eating enough foods that contain iron. If you’re looking to pump up your iron, here are 5 recipes to help you do so.
Although women tend to need a bit more iron then men, the general recommended dose is 18 milligrams per day. Each of the recipes below contain at least 1.8 milligrams of iron, which is 10% of your daily requirement.
Iron is an important mineral that helps red blood cells carry oxygen through your body. Lack of iron can result in dizziness, fatigue, weakness and pale skin. Eating foods high in vitamin C, such as peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and citrus fruits, can help absorb iron. Conversely, coffee and foods high in calcium decrease absorption of the mineral.
The term “vegetarian” can pretty broad and can mean different things to different people. We’ll walk through the basic types and fill you in on which nutrients those with a meat-free diet need to pay special attention to.
There are different types of vegetarians depending on what someone chooses to include in their diet. But all vegetarians include plant foods from the following categories:
- Grains such as rice, wheat, oats, and millet
- Legumes which include beans, peas, lentils
- Seeds like sesame and sunflower
We told you about popular vitamin supplements and now we’re covering minerals. Folks like to pop certain mineral pills when they can be easily obtained through food. Are these mineral supplements really worth the investment?
Many individuals mindlessly down vitamin and mineral supplements like candy. Many people don’t realize that supplements of any kind interact with various health conditions, medications, herbal supplements and even one another. Furthermore, taking megadoses (very large amounts) on a regular basis can be toxic to your body. That’s why it’s important to consult a physician or registered dietitian before choosing your supplement regimen.
Without iron in your diet you’d be in big trouble, but get too much from supplements and this mineral can be toxic. Make sure you’re getting the right amount.
After I served up rice with flecks of metal, my hubby finally agreed we needed new pots and pans. I got the All-Clad ones I’ve always wanted. After six years, my set is still going strong and dinner has been fleck-free ever since. If you’re looking to upgrade or just wondering about your everyday pots, here are some important things to know.