Iron Rich Foods For Vegetarians

By Patricia | June 16, 2009

Iron is am important trace mineral and essential nutrient which is found in each and every red cell of the body. Despite the fact that iron is needed only in small quantities by the body, iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common deficiencies that affect millions across the globe. Lack of adequate iron in the body causes constant fatigue, irritability, difficulty in concentrating and focusing on a task, difficulty in breathing and headaches. Studies have shown the women usually have more iron deficiency than men, due to the blood lost during menstruation. Children between the ages of 1 and 4, adolescents with irregular and bad eating habits and vegetarians are the other groups that are more susceptible to iron deficiency. Though one can always take iron supplements, it is better to try and increase the intake of iron through the diet.

Iron rich food for vegetarians

Meats are usually rich in iron, especially lean red meat and dark poultry so you should try and include a serving of meat in at least one meal per day. However if you are vegetarian and can not eat any meat or eggs, you can concentrate on grains, cereals and pasta which have been fortified with iron supplements. Other foods rich in iron include green leafy vegetables such as spinach, Mustard greens, Collard greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, parsley, watercress, artichoke and asparagus. Lentils, chick peas, red kidney beans, soybeans are also rich sources of iron and should be consumed in healthy quantities. Fruits and nuts rich in iron include raisins, dates, apricots, prunes and hazel nuts. In addition to this, you should also consume plenty of Vitamin C which helps to body to absorb iron faster and better. You can also cook in iron vessels to enhance the iron content of the food and make it easier for the body to absorb it. If you are taking iron supplement, you should avoid eating certain foods such as milk, cheese, eggs, whole grain bread, tea and coffee around an hour or two before or after you take the supplement, since they interfere in the absorption of iron by the body. Similarly taking iron and calcium supplement together is not advisable since it reduces the absorption of the two minerals. While it is important to include iron in one’s diet, excessive iron in the body can be harmful and lead to various complications such as loss of appetite, nausea, weight loss, dizziness and fatigue. It can also aggravate the symptoms of certain conditions such as ulcers and can be particularly harmful for children. It is thus important to consult a dietician or a doctor before you start taking extra iron in your diet or through oral supplements.

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