Meatless Monday – Iron

Iron is often associated with red meat but there are plant sources for this essential mineral as well. Some of them are leafy greens (eg spinach, collard, chard), legumes (eg lentils, chickpeas, tofu), quinoa, blackstrap molasses and enriched cereal grains. There are also numerous plant-based supplements on the market but make sure to research which brands are most effective.

Iron is needed in the body for red blood cell production and oxygen transport. A deficiency can result in anemia.

Iron is classified as heme (animal derived) and non-heme (plant derived) with the former being more readily absorbed. To increase absorption of the latter, make sure to have vitamin C when consuming this type of iron. Also, avoid calcium supplements, tea and coffee within several hours of consuming an iron-rich meal as this can inhibit iron absorption.

By keeping in mind rich sources of plant-based iron and eating a variety of theses foods in one meal, vegetarians and vegans should be able to meet their daily requirements for iron intake. For your individual concerns, please consult the appropriate health care practitioner(s).

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