This is our entry for the #1MonatVegan challenge – have fun! :)
One of the first questions people ask when talking about a vegan diet is where to get your iron from. In the following post I will show you that getting iron is not that hard as people might expect. I’ll close with a yummy iron-breakfast-idea.
Why do I need iron?
Iron is a trace element which is very important for our blood: It helps transporting oxygen through our body. The first symptoms of a deficient in iron are pale skin and tiredness. You might even get an iron deficiency anaemia because there are not enough functioning red blood cells. (1)
How much iron do I need?
Several sources offer up different answers. Basically women are recommended an intake of about 15 mg and men 10 mg of iron. This recommendation is usually made in reference to heme-iron (FE2) which does not occur in plant products. Though meat and fish do contain this easy to absorb type of iron, this may not necessarily be good as they are partly responsible for forming toxines in our body which may lead to an increased risk of colon cancer. (1)
Accordingly vegans and vegetarians should consume about twice as much iron, meaning about 27-30 mg for women and 18-20 for men. Women generally require more as they loose a considerable amount of iron by way of menstruation. (2)Women who have gone through menopause can follow the same recommendation as men. (1)
Is there something to think about? Or: Supporting or stopping groceries
If you ingest a lot of vitamin C your body will do a better job absorbing the iron you eat. Thus green smoothies are a perfect option, but also potatoes (3) or raw paprika (4) and fruits of course – for example in your oat meal or porridge (have a look below).
Coffe and tea on the other hand, prevent your body from absorbing the iron. It’s better not to drink these one hour before and after eating iron-rich food. (1)
So – where do I get the iron from?
Yes, spinach does contain iron but not as much as many other sources! Besides, you can find substances in spinach that will prevent your body from absorbing the iron in the vegetable. Kale and broccoli would be better options (vitamin C!); pulses and (pseudo-)grains; but also seeds and fermented soy such as tofu. Also dried fruits and nuts are perfect iron sources. (2)
Also good for getting iron is cooking in a cast iron pan (6), which is much healthier than Teflon coating anyway.
Cardamom (100 mg / 100 g)
Dried Parsley (97,8 mg / 100 g)
Cinnamon (38,1 mg / 100 g)
Spirulina (20 mg / 100 g) (10)
Brewer’s yeast(17,6 mg / 100 g)
Ginger (11-17 mg / 100 g)
Wheat bran (16 mg / 100 g) (also contains substances that stop the absorption of iron) (5) (7)
Pumpkin seeds (12-12,5 mg / 100 g)
Dried soy “meat” (11 mg / 100 g)
Sesame (10 mg / 100 g)
Poppy Seeds (9,5 mg / 100 g)
Amaranth (8-9 mg / 100 g)
Flax seeds (8,2 mg /100 g)
Dried lentils (8 mg / 100 g)
Quinoa (8 mg / 100 g)
Pistachios (7,3 mg / 100 g)
Green beans (7 mg / 100 g)
Chia seeds (6-7 mg / 100 g) (11)
Millet (6,9 mg / 100 g)
Dried peaches (6,5 mg / 100 g)
Dried chick peas (6,1 mg / 100 g)
Oats (5,8 mg / 100 g)
Tofu (5,4 mg / 100 g)
Dried apricots (4,4 mg / 100 g)
Whole wheat pasta (3,8 mg / 100 g)
Buckwheat (3,5 mg / 100 g)
Spinach (4,1 mg / 100 g) (as already mentioned, contains absorption stoppers)
Mangold (2,7 mg / 100 g)
Rocket (1,5 mg / 100 g)
NOTE: I’m NOT a nutritionist or doctor of any kind. This information is just based on my own experiences and opinions as well as the sources I’ve written down. I’m not responsible for the accuracy of these sources.
(about 14 mg iron -> about half of the daily requirement of a woman!)
What you need:
100 g Amaranth (8,5mg)
50 g red quinoa (4mg)
1 pinch of salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon and cardamom (mixed) (about 0,5 mg)
1 dash date syrup
As a topping (about 1-2 mg, depending on the quantity you take):
For the Vitamin C:
Any kinds of fruits, the highest vitamin C you can find in rose hips, acerola or kiwi, but also in stawberries and oranges.
I took stawberries, raspberries and plumbs
How to make it:
- Put quinoa, salt and amaranth in a sauce pan, pour water over it and cook until the grains are soft. Add more water if needed.
- As soon as the grains are soft, stir in the spices and put the porridge in a breakfast bowl.
- Add date syrup and the different toppings and enjoy :)
Idea, Words, Photographs: Diana Ranegger