20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

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20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

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20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

Jun 6, 2015 Save For Later Print

When people switch to a plant-based diet, they aren’t only concerned about protein, but they wonder how they’ll get enough iron. Fortunately for us plant-eaters, iron is incredibly abundant in the plant-food world. In fact, there are over 20 plant-based foods rich in iron , all of which help us stay energized and anemia-free!

Iron and Its Role In The Human Body

20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

Iron is found in the red blood cells of your blood called hemoglobin and in muscle cells called myoglobin. Hemoglobin in blood carries oxygen from your lungs to all tissues throughout the body. Myoglobin on the other hand, holds and stores oxygen for use during activity.

Iron is needed for proper immune function, and plays a role in activating enzymatic reactions needed for the synthesis of collagen and some neurotransmitters. It is also essential for respiration and energy metabolism.

When we don’t get enough iron from our diet, stores can become depleted, decreasing hemoglobin levels and setting the stage for iron-deficiency anemia.

The Difference Between Heme and Non-Heme Iron

Heme and non-heme iron are different in the sense that heme iron comes from animal products and non-heme iron comes from plant foods.

20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

While heme iron is more readily absorbed by the body than non-heme iron , there are many different factors that affect its absorbability rate .

It is also important to note that the human body has no mechanism to rid itself of excess iron, and so it has . For example, when iron stores are low, iron absorption is boosted in the intestines, but when it is high, iron absorption is blocked. But this mechanism only works for non-heme iron. A chronic consumption of animal products inundates the body with a surplus of heme iron, .

Consuming too much heme-iron creates an environment where the intestines can no longer regulate iron influx, and the body becomes “iron toxic” as the iron passes right through the intestinal barrier. Too much iron in the body leads to decreased absorption of vitamin E, diabetes, gut disturbances, hair loss, , liver disease and heart disease.

How Much Iron Should I Consume?

It is generally recommended for men to consume 8-11mg of iron, and woman 8-18mg. Pregnant women should aim for around 30mg daily.

20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

*Note: below demonstrates how many milligrams of iron are in 100 grams of food

9. Jerusalem Artichokes – 3.4 mg

10. Dandelion Greens – 3.1 mg

It is also important to note that other fruit and vegetables contain iron, just not at these high levels. These vegetables and fruit include blackberries, pumpkin, red cabbage, cremini mushrooms, bananas, broccoli, beets, carrots, eggplant, sweet potato, avocado, figs, potatoes, corn, pineapple, nectarine, watermelon, tomatoes, oranges, cherries, papaya, celery and apples. When consuming a high-raw plant-based diet, and eating the quantities that should be eaten , then getting enough iron is as easy as 1-2-3.

Foods That Increase Iron Absorption

20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

Foods that increase iron absorption include those rich in vitamins C and A. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits , tomatoes, kale, red peppers, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, papaya and strawberries. As for vitamin A, choose foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, peas, beets, apricots, peaches and lemons.

There are also foods that reduce the body’s ability to absorb iron like red wine, tea and coffee, isolated soy products , and dairy products .

Iron Supplementation – Is It Needed?

Unless you have had a confirmed diagnosis and are in dire need of iron supplementation, I wouldn’t supplement on your own. In the case that you do supplement, I would still encourage you to look at your diet and consider fixing it until your body figures out what’s wrong. Iron issues can be fixed, if you start from the root of the problem. Taking a supplement is only a cover-up to a problem that is more deep-rooted in the ways you eat.

that even if you do supplement your diet with iron , it can lead to a significant increase in oxidative stress which can lead to DNA damage and increase your risk for developing cancer. You can easily get your iron from the plant foods mentioned above to establish an environment in your body that promotes healthy iron levels.

20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

Filed Under: , Tagged With: , , , , ,

Carly Fraser has her BSc Degree in Neuroscience, and is the owner and founder at Live Love Fruit. She currently lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with a determined life mission to help inspire and motivate individuals to critically think about what they put in their bodies and to find balance through nutrition and lifestyle. She has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals to re-connect with their bodies and learn self-love through proper eating habits and natural living. She loves to do yoga, dance, and immerse herself in nature.

Great article! But this grammatical error is driving me bonkers. “Iron and It’s Role in the Human Body” should be the possessive “its” with no apostrophe, “Iron and Its Role in the Human Body.” Please fix this. Thanks!

Ahh, good catch! Thanks Sarah – fixed!

It contains beneficial carbohydrates and protein to refuel tired muscles and a groggy brain. The dates contain plenty of iron to help build stronger blood, and the ginger promotes healthy

20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

that ingredients containing higher iron concentrations are readily absorbed by the body. Pairing high-iron foods with high-vitamin C foods ensures this process will

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20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

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Search Articles, Recipes, & More...

20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

Jun 6, 2015 Save For Later Print

When people switch to a plant-based diet, they aren’t only concerned about protein, but they wonder how they’ll get enough iron. Fortunately for us plant-eaters, iron is incredibly abundant in the plant-food world. In fact, there are over 20 plant-based foods rich in iron , all of which help us stay energized and anemia-free!

Iron and Its Role In The Human Body

Iron is found in the red blood cells of your blood called hemoglobin and in muscle cells called myoglobin. Hemoglobin in blood carries oxygen from your lungs to all tissues throughout the body. Myoglobin on the other hand, holds and stores oxygen for use during activity.

Iron is needed for proper immune function, and plays a role in activating enzymatic reactions needed for the synthesis of collagen and some neurotransmitters. It is also essential for respiration and energy metabolism.

20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

When we don’t get enough iron from our diet, stores can become depleted, decreasing hemoglobin levels and setting the stage for iron-deficiency anemia.

The Difference Between Heme and Non-Heme Iron

Heme and non-heme iron are different in the sense that heme iron comes from animal products and non-heme iron comes from plant foods.

While heme iron is more readily absorbed by the body than non-heme iron , there are many different factors that affect its absorbability rate .

It is also important to note that the human body has no mechanism to rid itself of excess iron, and so it has . For example, when iron stores are low, iron absorption is boosted in the intestines, but when it is high, iron absorption is blocked. But this mechanism only works for non-heme iron. A chronic consumption of animal products inundates the body with a surplus of heme iron, .

20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

Consuming too much heme-iron creates an environment where the intestines can no longer regulate iron influx, and the body becomes “iron toxic” as the iron passes right through the intestinal barrier. Too much iron in the body leads to decreased absorption of vitamin E, diabetes, gut disturbances, hair loss, , liver disease and heart disease.

How Much Iron Should I Consume?

It is generally recommended for men to consume 8-11mg of iron, and woman 8-18mg. Pregnant women should aim for around 30mg daily.

*Note: below demonstrates how many milligrams of iron are in 100 grams of food

9. Jerusalem Artichokes – 3.4 mg

20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

10. Dandelion Greens – 3.1 mg

It is also important to note that other fruit and vegetables contain iron, just not at these high levels. These vegetables and fruit include blackberries, pumpkin, red cabbage, cremini mushrooms, bananas, broccoli, beets, carrots, eggplant, sweet potato, avocado, figs, potatoes, corn, pineapple, nectarine, watermelon, tomatoes, oranges, cherries, papaya, celery and apples. When consuming a high-raw plant-based diet, and eating the quantities that should be eaten , then getting enough iron is as easy as 1-2-3.

Foods That Increase Iron Absorption

Foods that increase iron absorption include those rich in vitamins C and A. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits , tomatoes, kale, red peppers, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, papaya and strawberries. As for vitamin A, choose foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, peas, beets, apricots, peaches and lemons.

There are also foods that reduce the body’s ability to absorb iron like red wine, tea and coffee, isolated soy products , and dairy products .

20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

Iron Supplementation – Is It Needed?

Unless you have had a confirmed diagnosis and are in dire need of iron supplementation, I wouldn’t supplement on your own. In the case that you do supplement, I would still encourage you to look at your diet and consider fixing it until your body figures out what’s wrong. Iron issues can be fixed, if you start from the root of the problem. Taking a supplement is only a cover-up to a problem that is more deep-rooted in the ways you eat.

that even if you do supplement your diet with iron , it can lead to a significant increase in oxidative stress which can lead to DNA damage and increase your risk for developing cancer. You can easily get your iron from the plant foods mentioned above to establish an environment in your body that promotes healthy iron levels.

Filed Under: , Tagged With: , , , , ,

Carly Fraser has her BSc Degree in Neuroscience, and is the owner and founder at Live Love Fruit. She currently lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with a determined life mission to help inspire and motivate individuals to critically think about what they put in their bodies and to find balance through nutrition and lifestyle. She has helped hundreds of thousands of individuals to re-connect with their bodies and learn self-love through proper eating habits and natural living. She loves to do yoga, dance, and immerse herself in nature.

20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

Great article! But this grammatical error is driving me bonkers. “Iron and It’s Role in the Human Body” should be the possessive “its” with no apostrophe, “Iron and Its Role in the Human Body.” Please fix this. Thanks!

Ahh, good catch! Thanks Sarah – fixed!

It contains beneficial carbohydrates and protein to refuel tired muscles and a groggy brain. The dates contain plenty of iron to help build stronger blood, and the ginger promotes healthy

that ingredients containing higher iron concentrations are readily absorbed by the body. Pairing high-iron foods with high-vitamin C foods ensures this process will

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

Notify me of follow-up comments by email.

Notify me of new posts by email.

Thank you! Please check your inbox to confirm your subscription!

- Foods That Fight Disease: Shoppers Guide

Be the first to know about better ways to live!

20 Plant-Based Foods Rich in Iron To Stay Energized and Anemia-Free

Yes, sign me up to receive weekly newsletters from Live Love Fruit. All emails include an unscubscribe link. You may opt-out at any time. See our .

Thank you! Please check your inbox to confirm your subscription!

Want to be healthier but don't know how?

Join our FREE Live Love Fruit newsletter and we'll show you how!

Yes, sign me up to receive weekly newsletters from Live Love Fruit. All emails include an unscubscribe link. You may opt-out at any time. See our .

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