Why Does Our Body Need Iron?
Iron is an essential component to keep our body healthy. It plays a vital role by helping the red blood cells transport enough oxygen throughout our body. Iron deficiency will lead the body to struggle to make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
Iron also has many other vital functions, such as creating energy from nutrients and contributing to the transmission of nerve impulses. Lack of iron can lead to fatigue, chest pain, and many other health issues. In the case of a vegetarian diet, the absorption of iron may be lower. Still, there are many best vegan iron supplements available to compensate for it and provide the daily iron requirement to the body.
How Much Iron Do We Need Per Day?
As per the recommended daily allowance (RDA), it is 8 mg for men and 18 mg for Women.
Although, the requirement varies from individual to individual depending upon their age and health issues. It is to be noted that women need twice the amount of iron consumed by men as they lose a considerable amount of iron during their menstrual cycle. Lack of iron leads to anaemia in women.
Research studies have pointed out that deficiency of iron is the most common nutrient deficiency found in the United States of America, thereby leading to many other health-related issues.
Taking too much iron can also be harmful, so it is best to consult an expert to help anyone make an informed decision.
Two Types of Iron
There are two types of iron, namely:
1. Heme iron
It comes from animal products and foods such as meat, seafood, and poultry the body easily absorbs it
2. Non-Heme Iron
It is primarily found in plants and plant-based foods like spinach, tofu, vegetables, grains. They are less absorbable compared to Heme iron.
Different Forms Of Iron Supplements
There are different supplements of iron available; the four main types of iron are:
- Ferric iron: This is the least dissolvable of all the types of iron.
- Ferrous iron: This type of iron can be more absorbed compared to ferric iron. It also comes in many forms like ferrous sulphate, ferrous gluconate, etc.
- Carbonyl iron: It is considered to be the purest form of Iron. Carbonyl iron is very absorbable, and it is easy on the stomach, leading to lesser gut problems.
- Chelated iron: It is considered to be the most absorbable type of Iron, but on the downside, it is not easily available in supplements.
Iron supplements also come in different forms like capsules, pills, and liquid forms.
However, the most suitable way to take an iron supplement is through capsules since you do not need to mix it with anything, and it does not leave a bad aftertaste. People who may have trouble swallowing capsules, they should consider other options.
Best Vegan Iron Supplements
In general, vegans and vegetarians have low iron content compared to others as following a plant-based diet will have a reduced iron intake. However, it is difficult for them to get foods that are rich in Iron. There are many supplements for vegans to compensate for it.
Here are ten of the best vegan iron supplements :
Spinach is known for its high vitamin A content, but it also is a valuable source of Iron. A half-cup of boiled, drained spinach contains about 3.21mg of iron as many other nutrients like Vitamin C that are essential for our body. To know more about the benefits of spinach, click here
Other leafy vegetables like lettuce, kale, cabbage, and broccoli also are a high source of iron.
Spinach can be incorporated into salads and smoothies.
WATCH THE VIDEO: HOW TO JUICE SPINACH
Of all the beans, white beans are said to be the richest source of iron. A cup of bean serving contains about 5.08mg of iron.
If one does not have time to sort and soak raw beans, they can go for canned beans which is also an excellent source of iron. However, it is important to keep a check on the sodium content, and there are also high chances of preservatives being added to canned goods.
There are much plenty of varieties of beans available such as red kidney beans, lima, and navy beans, etc.
To read more about the benefits of beans, click here.
Lentils are also similar to beans and contain similar amounts of Iron. Unlike beans, Lentils can be cooked quickly and can be the perfect option for our daily dose of iron requirement. A half-cup of Lentils contains about 6.25 mg of Iron. Apart from iron, lentils are also rich in protein, fibre, and complex carbs.
Soybeans are not just an ideal source of protein, but these dense legumes are rich in many nutrients, including a high source of iron content. A half-cup of soybeans contains about 454 mg of iron. Soybeans are an amazing source of iron, especially for vegans and vegetarians.
Soybeans are considered as one of the best vegan iron supplements as they serve as the best replacement for meat in main dishes and even as additions to salads, thus giving it a nice nutritious crunch. Apart from Iron, soybeans are also rich in protein, calcium, magnesium, etc.
5. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are known as a tasty, healthy snack but what is not know is that the seeds are considered to be also one of the best vegan iron supplements. A 1-ounce serving of pumpkin seeds contains about 2.5mg of Iron.
In addition to that. Pumpkin seeds are also a significant source of manganese, vitamin K and Zinc. The other seeds that are rich in iron include flaxseeds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, etc. Seeds are also rich in fibre, calcium, fibre, etc.
To know more about the benefits of Pumpkin seeds, Click here.
Another best vegan supplement is tofu, a soy-based food popular among Asian countries. Tofu contains about 4.14mg of iron supplement in a 3-oz serving. Eating tofu ensures that even a vegan diet has essential iron and other minerals like calcium and magnesium that can meet the daily requirements.
Tofu’s are soft and can be consumed either by frying or grilling them. It is the best substitute for meat and has many proven benefits.
To know more about the health benefits of Tofu, click here.
7. Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa and higher)
Apart from the amazing taste, there is also one more reason to consume dark chocolate which is its rich iron content. It is to be noted that dark chocolate has high iron levels, approximately 3 OZ of dark chocolate contains 6.82mg.
However, not all dark chocolates are good for our health. Therefore, It is crucial to choose high-quality dark chocolate with at least 45 per cent cacao solids.
To read more about the benefits of Dark chocolate, click here
Quinoa is a type of grain known as pseudo cereal. A cup of Quinoa contains about 2.8 mg of iron.
Quinoa also has the added advantage of being gluten-free, making it the best vegan iron supplement for people with issues of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. Quinoa is also a rich source of fibre, magnesium, zinc, etc.. researchers have also found out that the rich antioxidant properties in Quinoa lowers High blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
To read more about the best vegan iron supplements, click here.
Potatoes, along with their skins, are considered to be one of the best vegan iron supplements. A medium-sized potato provides an average of 2 mg of iron. Potatoes have many health benefits are provide rich nutrients like fibre, carbohydrates, starch, vitamin C, etc.
Potatoes are everyone’s favourite and can be cooked in numerous ways either by frying, grilling or steaming them and can be served either as a main dish or alongside a salad.
Nuts like almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, and pine nuts are also a rich source of iron.
Similar to seeds, nuts also contain many nutrients like fibre, protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is best to avoid roasting or blanching nuts as it may damage their nutrients. Nuts also play an important role in the health of the heart and are considered one of the best vegan iron supplement.
To know more about the benefits of nuts, click here.
Things That Determine The Best Vegan Iron Supplement:
Some of the factors that are to be noted in determining the best vegan iron supplements are
- The amount of iron per serving.
- The form of the iron.
- Vitamin C and Vitamin b12.
Foods to be Avoided :
Certain foods may deter the ability of the body to absorb iron; some of them are:
- Tea and coffee( including decaffeinated)
- Foods that are rich in dietary fibre
- wine and beer
Iron is an important mineral that is essential for the body but cannot be produced on its own. Hence, it is expected that one should consume iron-rich foods. Even if you are a vegan or vegetarian many best vegan supplements can be included in a plant-based diet which will give us the daily requirement of iron needed by the body.
WATCH THE VIDEO: BEST VEGAN IRON SUPPLEMENTS
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Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.