There’s a lot of misconception surrounding plant-based diets and vitamins. While it is true that a lot of the vitamins we need come from animal products, both vegetarians and vegans can get everything they need through diet if they know where to look.
Iron, in particular, is a hot topic when discussing obtaining vitamins through plant-based diets. This guide will uncover exactly where to find it without touching a single animal product.
What Is Iron?
Iron is an essential mineral that your body needs to function normally. It is most commonly recognised for helping you to fight against tiredness and fatigue, but that’s not all. Iron also supports the normal flow of oxygen in your body (EFSA, 2010).
Obtaining Iron As A Vegetarian Or Vegan
Unfortunately, the majority of iron-rich foods are animal products. This means that vegetarians and vegans have to work a bit harder to obtain the iron that their body needs. However, this isn’t an impossible task, you just have to know where to look!
There’s a reason why we are always encouraged to eat our greens – because they are loaded with nutrients. This is particularly true with spinach, which is pretty high in iron. Having a portion of spinach with every meal will do you the world of good.
Top Tip: Don’t worry – we know that spinach isn’t exactly the most exciting of foods to eat. But, it is very versatile and can be cooked in multiple different ways! Be sure to check out some online spinach recipes for more guidance.
- Fortified Cereals
Fortified cereals are like a nutritional goldmine for vegetarians and vegans. You’ll likely find that a lot of fortified breakfast cereals are loaded with iron and fibre, making it all the more easier to meet your nutritional needs. Just try to stick to the cereals that are low in sugar otherwise you might end up doing more harm than good!
Both nuts and seeds are full of iron and healthy fats. Whether eating as an afternoon snack or sprinkling over your meals, there are many ways in which you can incorporate nuts into your diet! When boosting your iron intake, try to focus on:
- Sunflower seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
There’s plenty of variety to choose from; all are unique and carry their own flavour!
Getting Extra Help
While a balanced diet should be enough to give you all the iron you need, there might be times when you feel as though more assistance is needed. A lot of vegetarians and vegans choose to take iron supplements to safeguard their intake and gain peace of mind.
If you are thinking about taking iron supplements, it’s always wise to visit your doctor and run blood tests before doing so. There might be alternative options available or you might find that an iron deficiency isn’t the issue at all.