We can’t see it, but iron is a pretty essential element in our bodies. The mineral is used in the production of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, and the benefits of iron often go unnoticed—until a person is not getting enough.
A lack of iron can result in fatigue, paleness, inability to focus, and hair loss. Foods that are rich in the stuff include steak and liver, but that’s not very helpful if you don’t eat meat. So, how can you keep your iron levels up if you are vegan or vegetarian?
Gain with Grain
Unfortunately, the iron found in non-animal products is not as easily absorbed by the body. That said, there are plenty of vegan-friendly foods that are rich in the mineral. Quinoa, cereals, spinach, avocado, lentils, and beans are all excellent sources of iron.
Think of vitamin C and iron like teammates. Combining iron-rich foods with those that are high in vitamin C will help your body absorb the iron easier. So, be sure to add some citrus, broccoli, strawberries, and bell peppers to your diet.
Give These Items a Miss
It’s not all about focusing on foods that are high in iron; it’s also about avoiding those that can inhibit absorption in the body. Stay away from too much dairy, dietary fiber, coffee, tea, soda, wine, and beer.