plant based sources of iron

Is there iron in plants? Ummm…heck YEAH!⠀This is often highly debated by people who are anti-plant-based-diets. One of the primary arguments is that plant iron is not as bioavailable (meaning less is absorbed). This is true but it doesn’t mean we still can’t get enough iron from plants. Where do you think the animals are getting THEIR iron?
Also, vegetarians are no more likely to suffer from iron deficiency anemia than non-vegetarians1

More about iron:⁠⠀

  • Mineral naturally present in many plant and animal-based foods⁠⠀
  • Helps red blood cells supply oxygen to our muscles⁠⠀
  • Eating foods rich in vitamin C can increase iron absorption⁠⠀
  • Iron deficiency symptoms are often related to oxygen deprivation in our muscles (e.g. increased lactic acid production, fatigue)⁠⠀
  • As with any micronutrient, if you feel there is a concern, talk to your health care provider and have your labs checked⁠

Plant-Based vs Animal-Based:

  • Intake of heme iron (meat-based) but not non-heme iron (plant-based), was associated with an increased risk of total stroke and cerebral infarction2
  • Higher heme iron intake and increased body iron stores were significantly associated with a greater risk of type 2 diabetes3

⁠⠀⁠P.S. There’s also iron in dark chocolate!


1. MJA Open 1 Suppl2 – 4 June 2012⁠⠀
2. Stroke, 2013:44:334-339⁠⠀
3. BMC Medicine 2012, 10:119

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