can vegetarians get enough iron?

Hey Plant Based Hottie!

I know, this is a hot question, on a hot topic with a hot Mama reading it!

I’ll get right to the point. If you’re eating a (high calorie, low fat) plant based diet then you can absolutely get enough iron! Simple.

Plants are packed with iron, and studies have shown that vegans consume more iron than meat eaters. That also goes for when you’re pregnant, when you are pregnant your body actually more readily absorbs it. How cool are you! Tempeh, tofu, sesame seeds, kale, greens (my fave source of iron), squash and pumpkin seeds are all packed with iron.

And because dairy can significantly reduce iron absorption plant based are eaters way better off than human baby milk thieves.. (cheeky but true).

Although vegetarian and vegan adults have lower iron stores than non-vegetarians, their serum ferritin levels are usually within the normal range. Which means we’re all good!  It’s even been shown that iron levels on the lower side are associated with higher glucose tolerance, which may help prevent diabetes, whereas high levels have been linked to cancer and heart disease. What?! I know 😉 Crazy ;p

The iron that plants contain is called nonheme iron, it is more absorbable when the body is low in iron and less when it has enough or too much. How good is nature and how awesome is your body!

Ideally, your GP (the one taking your blood tests that you get every couple of years or upon embarking on the plant-based journey so that  you can see how awesome your improvements are) knows this and understands that they’ll look different to meat eaters. I see a healthy iron test result as 60-170 mcg/dl. Iron levels in pregnancy normally plummet as a result of dilution of the blood volume but on a high-calorie, low-fat plant based diet your body is so good at retaining what it needs.

I’m a fan of Neal Bernard MD, he is worth checking out on social media. He says “it’s probably best to have your haemoglobin on the low end of the normal range. If your energy is good and your haemoglobin and hematocrit are at the low end of normal that is likely the best place.” Ask your GP about this when getting your test results. The average doctor isn’t trained in this, this is why it is so important that you are self-educated, you can look after yourself while getting support where required from the medical industry like in life-saving situations (fatal accidents) or simply for blood test results so that you can show your friends and family how well you’re doing on a plant based diet and that they may wanna jump on board too. 🙂

Love you all.




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