Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, 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. Even sources that are listed as non-heme sources, can still be absorbed in the body.
In fact, there are many ways you can add plant-based iron sources of foods to your meals, even without really making much of an effort. 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 consider 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 unhealthy weights. They may also lead to chronic inflammation, and aren’t necessary with so many plant-based options.
Our blood prefers to maintain a slightly alkaline state, so it’s important to eat healthy, more alkaline sources of food-based sources of iron whenever possible. Below you’ll find not only plant-based sources, but how to use them in your kitchen and in your meals, as well as learn more about iron in a plant-based diet.
Iron is a mineral that’s crucial for a healthy body, not only for energy, but also for your lung health and muscle health. Iron carries oxygen from our lungs throughout our whole bodies and also helps our muscles stores use oxygen for energy. It also plays a role in enzyme function in the body, digestion, and can lead to a host of health problems such as low energy, unhealthy blood, and lung problems when we don’t get enough. used in many cell functions. Poor iron intake is also the most common nutritional deficiency in the American diet. Since our country eat plenty of meat, we can easily see that meat is not the answer to the iron problem. Perhaps it’s because we’re suffering a mineral deficiency instead. Plant-based sources of iron are full of minerals that animal foods don’t offer. They also contain Vitamin C, which helps your body absorb iron even better, making them the better option.
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. It 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.
RECOMMENDED DAILY INTAKE
Iron is naturally present in many foods and also added to some food products, and available as a dietary supplement. It 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.
- hemp seeds and hemp protein
- pumpkin seeds
- leafy greens
- peanuts and peanut butter
- whole food plant-based protein powders or nutritional supplements (check labels)
- chia seeds
- cacao beans and 100 percent raw cacao
- spirulina and other sea algae
It’s also important that you eat a variety of these foods at each meal, which will also ensure you get enough. You can also take a plant-based multivitamin if you’re unsure you’re getting enough.
RECIPES WITH IRON
- Chia Blueberry Cups
- Homemade Cashew Butter
- Quinoa Lime and Black Bean Salad
- Whole Grain Protein Bowl
- Protein-Packed Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
- Popped Quinoa Chocolate Crispy Cakes
- Black Bean, Corn and Walnut Veggie Burger
- Protein-Packed Vegan Tofu Burgers with Tahini Dressing
- Best Veggie Burgers and Pumpkin Seed Onion Cream
- Cacao Maca Energizing Smoothie
- Why You Need Iron and How to Get it in a Vegan Diet
- 10 Plant-Based Foods Packed With Iron
- Vitamin C Rich Foods You Should Pair With Iron for Ultimate Absorption
- Nutrient Pairings to Improve Your Health
- The Perfect Seed: Why Everyone Should Add Pumpkin Seeds to Their Diet
- Easy Ways to Add Iron to Your Meals Without Meat
Some multivitamins contain iron and some don’t. Check labels to meet your needs and explore some food and supplements that may be of use. Always aim to get your iron from whole food sources of whole food multivitamins whenever possible.
Here are some products of interest:
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Protein
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Healthy Fats
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Complex Carbs/Fiber
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Vitamin A
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: B Vitamins
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Vitamin C
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Vitamin D
- Plant-Based Nutrition 101: Vitamin E
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Vitamin K
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Calcium
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Magnesium
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Zinc
- Plant-based Nutrition 101: Iron (CURRENT PAGE)