Iron is an essential nutrient in everybody’s diet since it is a central component of red blood cells, the ones in charge of storing and carrying oxygen through our body. However, people eating plant-based diets exclude iron sources like meat and seafood from their diet, so where else can they get their plant based iron from? Keep reading this article to find out the most common iron-rich foods.
Iron content in a plant-based diet
As we know meat and fish are well known for being rich in iron, but they are not the only source to get this essential mineral, it is indeed present in many vegetables too. In fact, the iron content of an average plant-based diet has been found to be higher than that of the average meat-eater!
You might not know that there are 2 forms of iron found in food: haem iron and non-haem iron. Haem iron is the more readily absorbed form of iron, and makes up about 40 per cent of the iron in meat, poultry and fish. Eggs and many plant foods also contain iron, but it is in the non-haem form, which is less well absorbed.
If you are a vegetarian, you need to include plenty of iron-rich foods in your healthy diet. You should also take care to combine iron-rich foods with foods that enhance iron absorption (the ones containing vitamin C like citrus fruits, kiwifruit, strawberries, tomatoes, capsicum, broccoli, cabbage, and spinach), and avoid foods and drinks that inhibit absorption (like strong tea, red wine, coffee and cocoa or foods rich in calcium and zinc).
Here is a list of iron-rich food options for vegetarians:
- legumes (lentils, dried peas and beans);
- wholegrain cereals (in particular, iron-fortified breakfast cereals);
- green vegetables such as broccoli or Asian greens;
- nuts, especially cashews;
- dried fruits such as apricots;
- seeds such as sunflower seeds or products such as tahini
- herbs and spices like thyme, cardamom and curry powder
It is recommended that everyone, whether following a plant-based diet or not, should include some plant-based foods in every meal. Vegetarians should include iron-rich foods in these choices.
Iron-rich foods in ProLon?
If you are a vegetarian and are looking to start a weight loss or detox journey without giving up the pleasure of food, ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet is what you need! It is a 5-day meal program that featuring delicious plant-based and iron-rich foods where you will get all the nutrients necessary to maintain your healthy diet and support you during your fast.
Learn more about it; get in touch with our knowledgeable nutritionists for free.