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Topic: iron for the vegetarian diet  (Read 2887 times)
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owalkerjillo
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« on: September 19, 2005 05:32:59 PM »

I've been vegetarian off and on for a few years but this time I'm trying to do it right and keep it going for, well, ever. I'm tyring to make sure I keep track of everything I need to keep myself healthy. The protien thing isn't a problem since I'm still eating dairy and such but iron is what I seem to be lacking.

Any ideas for ways to take in lots of iron at once? I've been eating cereal with high ammounts of iron along with a grapefruit or some other kind of fruit to increase iron absorpion. But just wondering if there are any other ideas out there Smiley

sorry for my rambling Cheesy
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LivinEasy
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2005 06:30:08 PM »

I'd suggest a good multi-vitamin although there is such a thing as too much iron so I'd research which supplement you want to take rather than just grabbing one off the shelf.

In the event that you're not into taking vitamins here are some foods rich in iron:

  • nuts
  • eggs (if you still eat eggs I think this is one of the richest in iron non-meats)
  • dried fruit
  • blueberries
  • dark green leafy veggies like spinach and kale
  • soybeans (doesn't it seem like they are the answer for everything?)
  • Cream of Wheat
  • lentils

Because these foods still don't have nearly as much iron as meat it's good to mix the iron-rich foods with those that are rich in Vitamin C as Vitamin C aids in the absorption of the iron. (I just reread your post and you already knew that.  Smiley)

Hope that helps!
« Last Edit: September 19, 2005 06:32:32 PM by LivinEasy » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Javeing
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2005 08:03:46 PM »

cooking with cast iron can kind of be a pain, but it increases iron in your diet
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owalkerjillo
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2005 04:17:53 PM »

I'd suggest a good multi-vitamin although there is such a thing as too much iron so I'd research which supplement you want to take rather than just grabbing one off the shelf.

In the event that you're not into taking vitamins here are some foods rich in iron:

  • nuts
  • eggs (if you still eat eggs I think this is one of the richest in iron non-meats)
  • dried fruit
  • blueberries
  • dark green leafy veggies like spinach and kale
  • soybeans (doesn't it seem like they are the answer for everything?)
  • Cream of Wheat
  • lentils

Because these foods still don't have nearly as much iron as meat it's good to mix the iron-rich foods with those that are rich in Vitamin C as Vitamin C aids in the absorption of the iron. (I just reread your post and you already knew that.  Smiley)

Hope that helps!

thanks so much! I've been starting to look at the iron content as well as protien content of foods when trying to choose my meals. this just helped me be more guided Wink

and unfortunately Javeing I don't do a ton of cooking. my mom normally does and just leaves the meat out of whatever she's making for me to have. and I don't wanna cause her any more trouble. thanks for the suggestion Smiley
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ultraviolet
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2005 06:58:56 PM »

I think if you just make a point of eating a variet diet, you shouldn't have to worry about it. In my opinion, eating shouldn't be scientific. (Do you ever hear non-vegetarians worrying about where they get their, say, vitamin B6? Smiley )

I'm terrible at remembering what different foods contain. I do read up on nutrition (I like Vegetarian Times and borrow it from the library) but I just remember things like: I need to eat more dark green vegetables. I don't remember exactly WHY, but I know I should!
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mmd32
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2005 02:53:40 AM »

I think if you just make a point of eating a variet diet, you shouldn't have to worry about it. In my opinion, eating shouldn't be scientific. (Do you ever hear non-vegetarians worrying about where they get their, say, vitamin B6? Smiley )

I'm terrible at remembering what different foods contain. I do read up on nutrition (I like Vegetarian Times and borrow it from the library) but I just remember things like: I need to eat more dark green vegetables. I don't remember exactly WHY, but I know I should!

Ditto. I am a lifelong veggie, and I never deal with trying to eat a nutritious diet. I just make sure I have a protein, veggies, and grains, in no particular order. Dairy, too, but not every single time. I don't think about it like that, either, I just plan a rounded meal that will fill me properly, and feel good after.

Also keep in mind, iron from veggies is WAY more absorbable than iron from meat, so that you might feel like you are getting less, but what you ARE getting is being utilized a lot more efficiently. By veggies, I mean legumes, greens, etc etc.

FWIW, I and my family have never come up as aenemic or anything, and we have been iron tested for various reasons over the years, as well as other tests to determine deficencies, with never a bad result.


HTH!

Murali
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Misterina
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2005 07:19:27 AM »

Hi - I have been a veggie for 13 years, and I also have a problem with an iron shortage. Your basic green veggies are good. But not everyone likes spinach or brussel sprouts. You should try eating raisins and if you have it in your country, a drink called Milo. Other than that, get an iron shot from your doctor (or booster shot) but they hurt like all hell, or take some iron tablets (which I hate so I never do).

Hope this helps!
Misterina
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future!
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2005 11:33:57 AM »

don't forget about blackstrap molasses! or nutitional yeast (for B12) or nuts (almonds!)

herbally, you can take teas or tinctures of:
-stinging nettle
-yellowdock
-red raspberry

there's also a product called Floradix that's very good for iron and anaemia and comes from all natural herbal sources..
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tofuttibreak
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2005 11:45:36 AM »

Chickpeas are a great source of iron, so if you like hummus...dig in!
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sillydickens
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2005 05:28:09 PM »

try having vitamin C whenever you have food with iron--it helps your body absorb it!!
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Carat Top
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2006 03:11:55 PM »

So i have recently turned vegetarian (like 4 months ago).  I have way more energy, my skin is soo clear and healthy, and i just feel better overall.  I did all sorts of research before taking the plunge, so i know how to maintain my protein and calcium intake and such, my only concern is iron.

I've read and heard that even if you eat food like spinach and pumpkin seeds that are high in iron, your body has a hard time absorbing it, unlike the iron you get from red meat.  i've read up in vegetarian mulitvitamins, but am afraid that i'll come across this same absorbsion issue.

Any other veggies out there with some sort of solution? i also thought that this would be a good board for ppl with questions about vegetarians keeping healthy and ideas for food with all the vitamins minerals, and protein needed.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2006 03:13:39 PM by Carat Top » THIS ROCKS   Logged
Tara1979
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« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2006 03:23:10 PM »

I've heard for years, and read often, that cooking with a cast iron skillet helps you meet your iron needs. Can anyone else confirm or dufunk this?
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caissie
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2006 03:28:47 PM »

Yes, it can be difficult to get iron on a vegetarian diet because many of the vegetables that contain iron also have properties that inhibit the absorption of iron in the intestine.  The key to any good diet is variety.  I have been vegetarian for years and haven't had any problems with iron intake.  I switch back and forth between oatmeal and an iron fortified cereal like Total which contains 100% of the RDA.  Iron is actually stored pretty extensively in the body and it takes 1-2 years to deplete those reserves.  More difficult to get in a vegetarian diet is B12 which is depleted faster than iron but also causes anemia like iron deficiency and neurological problems.

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licalee
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2006 05:17:33 PM »

I have had iron deficiencies in the past and my doc recommended multi-vitamins in addition to lots of meat (sorry). Vitamins should help with the B12 too, I think. You should really ask your doc the next time you see one. Anemia is no fun but luckily it does take a long time to manifest.  I read somewhere that the average person has nine years worth of iron stored in the liver. That said, I can't believe how fast I ran through my stores!
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lupinbunny
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« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2006 11:12:49 PM »

vitamin c assists with iron absorbtion, so next time you have spinach, have a glass of fresh orange juice at the same time.

that's an ollllld trick, from like, the 70s. even my violently-opposed-to-vegetarianism mum knows it Wink

i (low meat eater, and prone to aenemia) found iron fortified TVP patties in the supermarket. but they only contain 20% RDI. when you consider i eat maybe one a week, that ain't so good. look out for iron fortified milk also (i assume you can get that in the USA).

i'd like to know about the cast iron pans rumour too. anyone know?
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heathurr
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« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2006 12:57:01 PM »

meat iron is easier to absorb, but so many foods contain iron that you probably won't have to change anything in your diet if it's already balanced.  here's a fun little website with a handy dandy table that lists foods that contain iron in them for your enjoyment: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/iron.asp#h2

one factor that can definitely affect your iron levels is your period, and depending on how heavy your flow is, you might want to take iron supplements while you PMS and during your flow if you aren't taking them already.
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pixiewhip
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« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2006 08:41:18 PM »

 My friend used tp bruise very easily-a sign of low iron. Her doc told her to stop drinking coffee/trea/caffiene with her meals.  She stopped and so did the bruising.
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peanutbutterkp37
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2006 11:23:46 AM »

Eat lots of whole grains, nuts, and beans! Whole grain bread, pasta, quinoa and oatmeal to name a few all have a lot of iron. Walnuts, peanut butter, almond butter, almonds, cashews, peanuts, etc, etc are all good sources. Chickpeas, black beans, red kidney beans and especially lentils have tons of iron. Blackstrap molasses has 20% RDA of iron per tablespoon plus 100mg of calcium. Remember that iron is best absorbed with vitamin C, so eat it with fruit and veggies. It is not hard at all to get a sufficient amount as a vegan/vegetarian, you don't need any meat or eggs for it (and dairy for that matter has no iron at all). If you still are worried, many cereals and prepared foods are iron-fortified, and you can also take a supplement. I also suggest taking a multivitamin-veg*ans and omnivores-to easily meet all your nutritional needs.

And it is true that you can absorb iron from cooking in a cast iron pan.
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lieslree
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2006 11:42:04 AM »

vitamin c assists with iron absorbtion, so next time you have spinach, have a glass of fresh orange juice at the same time.

The opposite holds true for tea and coffee.
The tannins in teas/coffee makes it harder for you to absorb iron.
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licalee
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2006 09:37:18 PM »

I also had to cut caffeine. For other reasons. I get so much energy on my high protein/low carb Dr. prescribed diet. But everyone is different. Talk to a few doctors and look stuff up on wikipedia.
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heini
« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2006 09:25:48 AM »

When I was young and ate meat, my hemoglobin was always little too low. It rose after I stopped meat eating (but I still ate fish sometimes), and I didn't know very much about vegetarian food then. Now I have been lacto-ovo-vegetarian for many years, and I've never had any iron-problems during these years. For example lentils, soy-products, rye bread and nettle are very good vegetarian iron sources. To get protein, you should eat beans, seeds, nuts, and whole grain products.
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CraftyChef
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« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2006 11:52:57 AM »

You might just include some fortified foods in your diet somewhere or a supplement or two (B12 would be one of my concerns also) to make up for the lack in a veg diet.
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