Iron helps us play!
08 Aug

Iron helps us play!

Iron certainly does help us play and being the central part of haemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood, Iron is super important!

Anaemia, which is a deficiency in Iron is a worldwide health problem especially common in young women and children with symptoms including fatigue, pale skin, weakness and inability to maintain body temperature.

As a vegan or vegetarian you need to start paying special attention to make sure that you’re getting enough iron from an array of fresh foods. This is simply because the iron in plant foods is not as easily absorbed as the iron in animal products.

Iron Minion

Did you know that there are two types of Iron?

Heme: Found in animal meat. Makes up 40% of the iron in meat, poultry and fish.

Non-heme: Found in plants. Makes up 60% of the iron in animal tissue and all the iron in plants (fruits, grains, vegetables, grains and nuts)

It has been proven that heme iron (from animals) is better absorbed than non-heme iron. The Vegan diet only contains non-heme iron so Vegans should be especially aware of foods that are high in Iron and techniques that can promote iron absorption.

Here is a handy table to show you the content of Iron in different foods.

Iron Source Table 111

Iron Source table 2

Iron Source Table 3

Some might expect that since the vegan diet contains a form of iron that is not that well absorbed, vegans might be prone to developing iron deficiency anemia. However, surveys of vegans  have found that iron deficiency anemia is no more common among vegetarians than among the general population although vegans tend to have lower iron stores. (Mangels, R. (n.a) Iron and the Vegan Diet. July 15th 2014 from, http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/iron.php#r3)

It’s one thing to eat foods rich in Iron and it’s one thing that we are doing everything we can to make sure we are absorbing it properly.

Did you know that certain foods can help absorb greater amounts of Iron? These include:

  • Vitamin C (found in fruits and vegetables) increases iron absorption. Vitamin C captures non-heme iron and keeps it in a form that makes it more available for absorption. Vitamin C rich foods include dark leafy greens, melons, potatoes, tomatoes and strawberries help improve the absorption of non-heme iron. These Vitamin C rich foods must be eaten at the same time as foods high in non-heme iron.
  • If you are a meat eater, animal protein boosts iron absorption from plant sources.
  • Some people say that cooking foods on a Cast Iron Skillet helps increase the iron in your meal… interesting…

Fortunately, many vegetables, such as broccoli and bok choy, which are high in iron, are also high in vitamin C so the iron in these foods is very well absorbed. Commonly eaten combinations, such as beans and tomato sauce or stir-fried tofu and broccoli, also result in generous levels of iron absorption. (Mangels, R. (n.a) Iron and the Vegan Diet. July 15th 2014 from, http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/iron.php#r3)

Sample Menu 11

Sample Menu 2 Sample Menu Source -(Mangels, R. (n.a) Iron and the Vegan Diet. July 15th 2014 from, http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/iron.php#r3)

For some more handy information on Iron in relationship to diet here is a super handy read Click Here

Here is an interesting fact to leave you all with …

Did you know that within the human body, there is enough iron to make a nail?

No excuse now for when you’ve got a screw loose 😉

4. Cast-iron skillets increase iron absorption.

The answer to the true or false question is true! Cooking with an old school cast-iron skillet increases the iron in your meal — especially when you cook a vitamin-C containing food in it.

Even better, a cast-iron skillet purchase puts you in the realm of official serious cook. I bought mine almost 10 years ago for $8 and it is one of my most valued possessions. (Yes, I’m that much of a food nerd that a skillet is one of my most valued possessions!)

4. Cast-iron skillets increase iron absorption.

The answer to the true or false question is true! Cooking with an old school cast-iron skillet increases the iron in your meal — especially when you cook a vitamin-C containing food in it.

Even better, a cast-iron skillet purchase puts you in the realm of official serious cook. I bought mine almost 10 years ago for $8 and it is one of my most valued possessions. (Yes, I’m that much of a food nerd that a skillet is one of my most valued possessions!)

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