Did you know iron deficiency is the most common mineral deficiency globally, affecting 1.6 billion people?
That’s a heck of a lot of people!
Unfortunately, people on a plant-based diet and women of reproductive age are among the most at risk of being iron deficient (I know what you’re thinking – haven’t we endured enough?).
Whether you’re a lifelong vegan, a flexible vegetarian, or simply immersing your toes in plant-based waters, it’s essential to supercharge your diet with iron friendly foods.
Luckily, there are plenty of foods rich in iron that you can choose from. For example, antioxidant-rich dark chocolate is one of the most iron-rich treats available; it's also tasty and vegan! Then, you also have numerous greens, tempeh, nuts, grains. There's a lot of variety when it comes to iron-friendly foods.
While everyone will benefit from increasing their iron intake, people who experience the following symptoms will mainly gain (read: thank me a million times over) when they supercharge their iron intake:
- Headaches and dizziness
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Reduced cognitive and physical capabilities
- Brittle or weak nails
If you’re still not convinced that iron is for you, you may be surprised to know iron plays an essential role in the body. Iron is responsible for the transport and storage of oxygen. It acts as a cofactor for proteins and enzymes, synthesises collagen (hello, wrinkle-free skin), creates energy, and supports the immune system.
So, where can you get iron?
I’m sure you’ve read enough blogs telling you to eat leafy green vegetables for many a reason, so I won’t leaf you feeling bored ;). I mean, we all know the power of green vegetables; they’re full of vitamins and minerals, including our new best friend, iron, and yet, most of us aren’t eating enough of them.
So, if you need one more reason to eat your greens, let it be that your energy and your skin will thank you.
Looking for a recipe that will make your friends green with envy?
Ask any nutritionist what vegetarians need to eat more of, and they’ll likely tell you greens (tick) and nuts.
While greens are a no brainer, there seems to be a bit of confusion around nuts and whether they’re healthy. So, let’s address the elephant in the room: yes, nuts are high in fat, but that doesn’t mean they’re unhealthy! We need fat for a healthy diet, as it helps keep us fuller for longer.
When eaten in moderation, nuts are excellent for satiation and hold an abundance of vitamin E, protein, zinc, fibre, and iron.
If you’re nuts for nuts, you’ll love my Pumpkin and Almond Bake. This supercharged bake is full of mood-lifting and energy-balancing foods, making it an excellent side dish.
Love Your Gut Capsules
The standard American/Australian diet (also known as SAD – haha) is commonly comprised of processed foods and deficient in necessary vitamins and minerals. Luckily, diatomaceous earth contains minerals including magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium, essential for wellbeing.
But Lee, why are you talking about some weird earth food?
I thought you’d never ask. My Love Your Gut Capsules are solely made of diatomaceous earth and contain over 17 essential minerals. Love Your Gut Capsules are natural, vegan and offer gut health and energy on the go. Take that, coffee. It also comes in a powder form to add to juice and smoothies. Discover Love Your Gut powder here.
One of the best things about writing a blog is that I get to write about stuff that makes me excited—the stuff I want to speak about each day. And today, I want to talk about grains.
Grains and pseudo-grains alike can get a bit of a bad rep in the holistic health world, but they’re a crucial part of any diet, particularly plant-based ones. For example, brown rice is rich in many minerals, including iron, but it is also high in fibre, which is terrific for digestion and lowering cholesterol levels.
I share my love for brown rice in this Pumpkin, Mushroom and Sage Brown Rice Risotto recipe here.
Why is tempeh soy complicated?
Well, it’s because soybeans are rich in isoflavones (plus a hefty dose of iron) which mimic the effect of oestrogen in the body. This is an excellent thing for women in menopause, but when eaten in excess, not as good a thing for men.
So, when eating soy products, choose the natural, non-GMO and organic varieties, and you’ll experience the iron-boosting and protein-rich benefits. I know I’ll be able to tempeh-t you with this Vegan Caesar Salad.
Beans and Legumes
While we’re on the topic of beans, I’ve bean waiting to share this point with you. All beans are excellent and beneficial in their own way, which you can read more about here.
Beans and legumes contain the plant-based trifecta - iron, protein and vitamin B12 – making them the ultimate go-to plant-based food. If you’re looking for a new legume recipe, pop over here for my famous Black Bean Burgers.
So, you’ve eaten iron. Now what?
To make sure you’re getting the most out of your iron, supercharge your iron absorption with the following tips:
- While eating iron-rich foods is excellent, there’s no point if you’re unable to absorb them properly (sorry, not sorry). Love Your Gut Capsules and Love Your Gut Powder assist the absorption and digestion process so you can get the most out of your iron foods. Fulvic Humic Concentrate is another plant based supplement that is a good iron source.
- Coffee and tea can reduce iron absorption, so wait at least two hours between caffeinated tea or coffee and your iron-friendly foods.
- Consume iron with vitamin-C rich foods to maximise absorption. For example, add some capsicum (vitamin C) to your leafy green salad (iron).
So, how are you going to supercharge your plant-based lifestyle with iron-friendly foods? Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear from you.