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How to increase Iron absorption in vegans and vegetarians?


Not getting enough iron in your diet can result in iron deficiency.

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How to increase Iron absorption in vegans and vegetarians?

Dietary iron absorption is low in vegans and vegetarians. This is because in plant-based diets most dietary iron is non-haem iron, and its absorption is often less than 10%. This is much lower than meat which is haem iron, where absorption is 15-35%.

Not getting enough iron in your diet can result in iron deficiency which can have negative effects on your health including poor pregnancy outcomes, susceptibility to infections, fatigue and decreased productivity.

Here are 4 ways you can increase iron intake and absorption if you are a vegan or vegetarian:

  1. Modify food preparation techniques: use iron cookware especially for cooking acidic foods that solubilize iron from the pan.
  2. Modify food combinations: When consuming iron-containing foods with sources of Vitamin C containing foods (i.e., broccoli, oranges, capsicums, cauliflower). Try to limit inhibitory foods such as coffee and tea to between meals.
  3. Increase consumption of plant based sources or iron: some of the best plant based sources of iron are: lentils, soybeans, tofu, fortified cereals, brown rice, oatmeal, nuts and seeds, green leafy veg (i.e., spinach, broccoli)
  4. Supplementation: Iron supplementation is usually targeted to high-risk groups (i.e., pregnant women). For oral supplementation, ferrous iron salts (ferrous sulphate and ferrous gluconate) are preferred because of their low cost and high absorption.
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What is healthy eating?

Eating healthy is making sure you enjoy a wide variety of foods from each of the five major food groups daily, in the amounts recommended. The five major food groups as recommended by the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating are:

  1. vegetables and legumes/bean
  2. fruit
  3. lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes/beans
  4. grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties
  5. milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives, mostly reduced fat.

Foods are grouped together because they provide similar amounts of key nutrients and eating a variety of foods from the list above helps to promote good health and reduce the risk of disease.

How do I improve my diet?

If you want to improve your diet you have come to the right place. By completing the Healthy Eating Quiz you’ll receive instant personalised feedback and a report on your diet quality to highlight any areas where you can improve your overall eating habits. Your score is based on the frequency and variety of the foods consumed from the five major food groups mentioned above. No Money No Time can help you improve your score by providing tips, goals and suggestions. On top of this we will provide quick, cheap and healthy recipes as well as credible answers to diet hacks, myths and FAQ’s.

Is my diet healthy?

Dietary habits are different between people. Some people choose to follow a particular diet (i.e., Keto diet or vegan diet) while some have to make changes due to certain food restrictions or health conditions. If you want to know if what you usually eat is healthy, then do the Healthy Eating Quiz today to give you the answers in less than 10 minutes.

Why is healthy eating important?

Your HEQ score and personalised feedback report is based on the frequency and variety of healthy core foods you usually eat. This is important because no single food contains all the nutrients we need to stay healthy. Some foods are higher in nutrients than others and people who have a lot of variety in the foods they eat are more likely to be healthy and to stay healthy. In other words, if you can eat a large variety of vegetables as opposed to only 2-3 types of vegetables, the benefits are much greater. This type of diet also helps you to feel better, think better and perform better during your usual daily activities.

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