Iron is an essential mineral we need to transport oxygen around the body via red blood cells. If we don’t have enough, our cells are starved of oxygen and can’t function properly. This causes tiredness, weakened immunity, brain fogginess and general feelings of poor health. It’s especially important for women, since they lose a certain amount of iron each month.
WHAT ARE THE TWO TYPES OF IRON IN FOOD?
There are two types of iron in food – haem and non-haem. Haem is basically pre-formed, so your body can use it quickly and easily. It has a 25% absorbency rate (that’s how well it gets into your body), is more concentrated – but comes from red meat and animal sources.
Non-haem comes from all plant-based sources. It has a 17% absorbency rate and your body has to work harder to use it effectively. Some people have no trouble getting iron this way – but for others it can be difficult. That’s why vegans must eat a variety of iron-rich foods every day, such as green leafy vegetables, dried apricots, flaxseed, grains, legumes and tofu. The trick is to eat them with vitamin C (any fruit or veg will do) as it helps absorption.
A word of warning. Too much iron is as dangerous as too little, so get a blood test to check your iron and ferritin stores before you reach for the iron supplements.
WHAT MEALS ARE A GOOD SOURCE OF IRON?
The best way to keep your iron levels up is by eating a rainbow of fruit and veg – and we're here to help. These VVCo. meals are particularly rich in plant-based sources of iron:
TOKYO CHICK’N KATSU
EPIC THAI GREEN JACKFRUIT
MUMBAI CAULI THALI
PIRI PIRI JAMBALAYA
HEARTY PERSIAN HOTBOX
Why not add these tasty, Iron rich, meals to your next order? Check out the full menu now.