Meeting Iron Needs from Plant Foods: The Vitamin C Connection - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 03-25-2012, 03:05 PM
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Meeting iron needs depends on how much iron and vitamin C are in your diet, and we dont have the perfect formula for that. The best advice is to get plenty of both by doing the following.
  • Eat a variety of grains, legumes and vegetables since they all contribute iron to the diet. In fact, so many plant foods provide good amounts of iron, that vegans often have higher intakes than omnivores. The best sources are spinach, Swiss chard, pumpkin, sea vegetables, all legumes, tofu, pumpkin seeds, tahini, blackstrap molasses, dark chocolate, some veggie meats, and fortified cereals. Whole and enriched grains provide more moderate amounts of iron, but they still make important contributions to intake.
  • Include a good source of vitamin C at all of your meals. The best sources are cantaloupe, grapefruit and grapefruit juice, guava, kiwi, mango, oranges, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, peppers, and tomato juice.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables in general. Organic acids in these foodsin addition to vitamin Ccan also help increase iron absorption.

I thought this was informative. I didn't realize before that whole grains and legumes can actually inhibit iron absorption, good to know.

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#2 Old 04-03-2012, 06:28 PM
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As a vegetarian, at 80 years, any problem I have with iron absorption is a result of gastric dystrophy, not dietary intake. But I only rarely need vitamin B12.
Since most men over 40 have an excess of serum iron, causing acute myocardial infarcts, I don't eat any foods which have added iron; as a family, our main source is probably a heavy old iron frying-pan. I consider it a great advantage that non-heme (plant) iron is more poorly absorbed and less stored in the body. I live close to a volcano, and an iron-sand beach, so there is no shortage of iron in the soil. An important point, often forgotten, is that vegetables always have the expected vitamins, before cooking, but if grown on poor soil will be mineral-deficient, often with no visible sign.
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#3 Old 04-04-2012, 10:31 AM
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Thanks for the article, WWG. I have had iron problems in the past (I'm a blood donor, and they've told me I can't donate due to low iron). This article is a big help.

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