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Topic: iron for the vegetarian diet  (Read 4052 times)
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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
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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?
« 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.

« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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.
« 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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« 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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« 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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