Plant-based diets have never been more popular, but with every new food movement, there are nay-sayers.
One of the most popular criticisms you hear of vegan and vegetarian diets is people asking, ‘but where’s the iron?’.
Iron deficiency in humans is very rarely seen by doctors, even vegans who have been plant-based for a number of years.
It is one of the biggest fallacies of the nutrition world that is a serious condition that will occur if a person doesn’t eat enough meat, iron deficiency only usually happens when a person has a prior health problem, it is normally nothing to do with diet.
This is because people need a lot less iron than you might think, women and teenagers need 18mg and men only need 9mg.
Iron is found in abundance in the following foods, meaning you won’t need to worry about the perceived loss of iron from your diet if you choose to switch to plant-based.
This vegetable is crammed full of iron and historically has been the vegetable associated with strong bones and muscles. It is rich in iron, vitamin A, and antioxidants and the iron content actually increases when you cook it.
This food is specially designed to fill the perceived hole that meat leaves in one’s diet. It is normally used as a meat substitute in dishes, and one serving of 126 g provides 3.6 mg of iron or 19% of the RDA.
Anyone worried about losing iron and ‘substance’ from their diet should make sure they eat plenty of nuts. They are high in iron plus many other nutrients that meat does not contain. Pistachios, almonds and hazelnuts are some of the best.
Dark chocolate is great for abating your sweet tooth after a meal, and one 30g portion gives you 3.2 mg of iron, which is 18% of your RDA.
Mung beans are the most iron dense legumes, with every 1.8mg out of 100 being iron.
Beetroot is high in iron compared to other foods, it again provides 1.8mg of iron for every 100g of beet.
Lentils are a great way to bulk up a meal and they are packed full of good stuff. The give 3.3mg of iron per 100g and many other nutrients plus tons of fiber.
Every 1% of a portion of broccoli id made of iron, plus one serving gives you 168% of your vitamin C RDA.
Kale provides 1.5mg of iron per 100g, and it is also full of vitamin A (512% of your RDA) and vitamin C (200% of your RDA).
Pumpkin seeds have 3.3% iron per 100g, plus magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin A, F, B, and E