One of the perceived apprehensions about following a vegetarian diet is whether or not one can get sufficient iron from a meatless diet. People may speculate that since meat is a good source of protein as well as iron, cutting this out of the diet could create certain nutritional deficiencies – iron derived from animals is more easily absorbed by the human body than other types of iron.
However, this is really not so. In fact many nutritionists believe that plant derived iron is actually the best type of iron to consume. Surveys have shown that vegetarians are no more common than others to have iron deficiency anemia so long as they eat a balanced, nutritious diet. Here’s what an iron rich vegetarian diet for anemia should be like:
One of the best sources of plant based iron is green veggies such as spinach, kale, Swiss Chard, Brussels Sprours and broccoli and so on. Other leafy greens such as turnip greens, beet greens and so on are also good sources of iron for vegans and vegetarians. Nutritionists recommend that these foods are better absorbed when they are cooked.
Soy, tofu, tempeh
These are some of the staples of the vegan diet and are good sources of iron. Consumed in sufficient quantities they are versatile and tasty sources of iron. Soy in particular is very versatile – it can be had in the form of chunks, flakes, milk, yogurt and so much more.
Beans and legumes
Black beans, baked beans, chickpeas kidney beans, black eyed peas and legumes of all sorts contain iron to varying degrees. They are also nutritionally rich in other aspects; particularly important to non-animal based diets.
Dried fruit, seeds and nuts
Dried fruits such as dates, apricots, prunes and raisins are not only delicious; they are an excellent source of iron. Nuts such as almonds and cashews are also packed with nutritional goodness including small amounts of iron. Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and many other seeds contain beneficial oils as well as some amounts of iron.
This is thought to be one of the world’s healthiest foods. It comes in a thick syrup form and can be used to add a bitter sweet flavor to a wide variety of dishes.
Vitamin C rich foods
The important thing to remember about getting enough iron is to see that whatever iron you consume is able to be absorbed by the body. Vitamin C can help here. Consuming enough vitamin C can help the body absorb the iron that you consume.