Anaemia and Veganism
Have you come across the term anaemia vegan? Most people get the iron from the meat, fish and poultry that they have as part of their diet. This, of course, is not the case when you are on a vegan or vegetarian diet. Going cruelty-free means that your body often takes a hit in one way or another. It is worth sacrifice.
It is not to say that vegetables and fruits don’t have iron. You simply have to be more conscious about what you eat. It is one that should be done the right way. You have to make sure that you are getting enough iron in your diet.
A drop in your iron levels can lead to anaemia. There are various supplements that can be taken to resolve this issue. However, as a long term solution, you should look to make sure that your diet has enough iron in it.
How much Iron do I need?
The required intake of iron for men is about 10 milligrams a day. Women require 15 milligrams a day if they are of childbearing age. The extra 5 milligrams accounts to the amount that is lost to menstruation. Pregnant women require 30 milligrams of iron daily.
Although there are certain amounts of iron in food that we eat, bioavailability plays a massive role. This refers to how much of the nutrients that you eat are absorbed into your body. You will find that large portions of what we eat are lost indigestion.
Heme Iron, which is the iron found in fish and meat is readily absorbable. On the other hand, plants contain non-heme iron, which is not as easy to absorb. A small trick that you can be mindful of when trying to get your iron from plants is that “iron is best absorbed in an acidic environment”.
How can you use this to your advantage you ask? Pair your iron-containing vegetables with some Vitamin C fruit. A dash of lemon to go with those lentils. Vitamin C can double the absorption rate of iron.
What about Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 plays a massive role in the growth and maturity of cells. A lack of it would mean that your cells do not split and grow as normal. Most people get their vitamin B12 from animal-derived food. This accounts for twice as many vegans/strict vegetarians being anaemic than meat-eaters.
Symptoms of lack of vitamin B12
- Tingling of feet and hand for long periods
It is worth noting that our bodies use Vitamin B12 sparingly. The average person has about 5-6 years worth of reserves stored in their body. The downside of this is that you may not notice the symptoms of deficiency for a long time. These form vegan anaemia symptoms. Like anything else, the soon you identify them, the quicker you can act to resolve.
Anaemia Vegan Food Sources of Iron
Non-heme iron sources
|Food||Serving||Iron Level (mg)|
|Cream of wheat cereal||3/4 cup||7.7|
|Dried Pumpkin Seed||1 oz||4.3|
|Boiled Lentils||1/2 cup||3.3|
|Baked Potato||7 oz||2.8|
|Boiled Kidney Beans||1 1/2 cup||2.6|
|Boiled Pinto Beans||1/2 cup||2.2|
|Boiled Black Beans||1/2 cup||1.8|
|Canned Pumpkins||1/2 cup||1.7|
|Boiled Split Peas||1/2 cup||1.3|
The table above shows you iron-rich vegetarian foods for anaemia. These should all be a part of your diet if you are vegan. It will certainly go a long way in making sure that you remain healthy, and free from anaemia vegan.
Other sources of Iron
Legumes are a no brainer in this case.
Nuts and Seeds
Every 100 grams of pumpkin seed contains about 3.3 milligrams of iron. It also packs 446 calories.
Every 100 grams of flaxseed contains about 5.7 milligrams of iron. It is commonly cultivated in the cooler regions of the world. It also packs about 534 calories.
Every 100 grams of sesame seed contains 14.6 milligrams of iron. It packs about 573 calories.
Hemp seed contains about 7.95 mg of iron in every 100 grams. It packs 553 calories.
There are 3.1 milligrams of iron in every 100 grams of pine nut. They contain 629 calories per 100 grams.
There are 4.7 milligrams of iron on hazelnuts. They also contain 628 calories per 100 grams.
There are 4.8 milligrams of iron in pistachio nuts. They also contain 693.1 calories per 100-gram serving.
Raw almonds contain about 5.3 milligrams of iron per 100-gram serving. This will include 828 calories.
Raw cashew nuts contain 9.2 milligrams of iron per 100-gram serving. This will include 757.6 calories.
Spinach contains 2.7 milligrams of iron per 100 grams. This includes 23 calories.
Cooked kale contains 0.9 milligrams of iron per 100 grams. This includes 28 calories.
Canned and drained beetroot contains 1.8 milligrams of iron per 100 grams. This includes 31 calories. When boiled it goes down to 0.8 milligrams of iron but goes up to 44 calories.
Collard Greens / Collards
There are 0.5 milligrams of iron in every 100 grams of raw collards. This will include 32 calories. When boiled, drained and salted, the iron levels are 1.1 milligrams per 100 grams. The calories go up slightly to 33.
Sun-dried tomatoes contain the highest amount of nutrients per 100 grams. They clock in an impressive 9.1 milligrams of iron, and 258 calories. Compare that to 0.5 milligrams of iron and 16 calories that you would get in raw tomatoes.
Raw potatoes contain 0.8 milligrams of iron per 100 grams. They contain 77 calories. Potato skin contains 1.2 milligrams per 100 grams.
Raw morel mushroom contains an incredible 12.2 milligrams of iron per 100 grams. This includes 31 calories.
Raw green leaf lettuce contains 0.3 grams of iron per 100 grams. There are 5.4 calories in a serving.
Horned melon (kiwano) contains 1.1 milligrams of iron for every serving of 100 grams. They also have 44 calories.
Avocados contain 0.6 milligrams per 100 grams. They contain 167 calories.
Dates contain 1.0 milligrams per 100 grams. They also contain 277 calories.
Dried goji berries carry the biggest punch. Every 100 grams contain 6.8 milligrams of iron. They contain 349 calories.
When prunes are dried, they contain 3.5 milligrams of iron. They have 339 calories as well. As an added bonus they are also a great remedy for constipation.
Watermelons are somewhat disappointing in this case. They contain a small 0.2 milligrams of iron and 30 calories. That being said, they offer a lot of fluid. Keeping you well hydrated.
Seeded raising contains 2.6 milligrams of iron and 296 calories. Seedless raisins come in at 1.9 milligrams of iron and 299 calories.
Once cooked quinoa will give you 1.5 milligrams of iron for every 100-gram serving. It will have 120 calories in the same portion.
Be sure to integrate as many of these into your diet. Keep your iron levels up. Anaemia is a disease you should not have to worry about. Other things to consider are food that makes the uptake of iron more difficult for your body. Avoid those as much as possible, especially if you are already anaemic.