HOW TO GET ENOUGH IRON IN YOUR VEGETARIAN DIET
Dr. Shikha Sharma
Iron is a very important mineral which is required to transport oxygen to the cells that keeps the body well nourished and healthy. Without iron, your body may not be able to produce enough haemoglobin, a substance contained in the red blood cells that helps in the transportation of oxygen to various tissues in our body. An iron-deficiency causes anemia, which if left untreated, may cause the cells to choke due to lack of oxygen. The same haemoglobin molecule also carries back the waste products from the micro tissues to the lungs for removal.
There are two basic forms of dietary iron - heme and nonheme. Heme iron comes from animal products, basically anything that originally contains haemoglobin. Nonheme iron is derived from plants. Most vegetarians and vegans may worry about getting enough iron in their diet as it is better absorbed from meat sources like poultry and fish. But iron from plants and veggies is healthier. Here are some of the top vegetarian sources of iron -
We've known about this one. It is one of the most convenient vegetarian sources of iron as it can be digested easily. Right from infants who can be fed with spinach soup to the elderly who may have problem with chewing and digestion, it's great for people all ages. To increase its nutrition value, one can also add few drops of lemon juice. A combination of Vitamin C and iron is absorbed better and more easily by our body. (These Leaves Curb Cravings, Aid Weight Loss)
2) Lotus Stem (Kamal Kakdi)
The kamal kakdi or lotus stem, we see so frequently in the markets, is in fact a very rich source of iron. Lotus stem is a staple for many vegetarians in some states like Kashmir. During winters, it helps your body to build up the blood count. It can be cooked in several forms, as a vegetable cooked in curd (nadru yakhni) or as dried chips or simple stir-fried with few masalas.
3) Jaggery (Gud)
Jaggery is a winter favourite for many of us. It is also a very good source of haemoglobin. Jaggery, to be most effective should be consumed with peanuts. This combination is far more powerful than gud alone.
This is one of the most popular natural remedies for the treatment of anemia. It is herb and its root and other parts are may be commonly used to make medicines. Dandelion can be made into a decoction or the essential tincture of Dandelion can be purchased from health stores. Dandelion is very rich in several components like B-12 vitamins, folic acid, iron and carotene.
Beetroot is another great source of iron for the body. It can be juiced along with carrots and apples to boost the haemoglobin content. Belonging to the same family as spinach, it is rich in iron, calcium, Vitamin A & C and folic acid.
Spirulina is a plant that is found in the sea and certain water bodies. It has several minerals beneficial to the human body. One of the minerals helps the body in making better amounts of haemoglobin. Spirulina is available as tablets or powdered. The history of Spirulina is very interesting. Many years ago scientists who were working in a very poor part of the population in Chad discovered that despite a very poor diet, the local population was healthy and there was no sign of malnutrition. This led them to investigate that the local green stuff the natives were mixing in their food was in fact a very powerful source of nutrition. Since then, Spirulina has become popular the world over. more