Plant Based Diet
Plant Based Diet
By | November 20th, 2012 | Modified - December 13th, 2013

Non-Heme Iron Is A Reliable Source Of Iron In Combination With Vitamin C

Non-Heme Iron Sources
Non-Heme Iron Sources

There are two forms of iron in our food, heme iron and non-heme iron. Meat contains heme and non-heme iron, and plants only contain non-heme iron. Heme iron contains the hemeprotein, which allows it to be better absorbed by the body than heme-iron. This may appear to be a concern for plant based eaters – vegans since their diets only contain non-heme iron, but this is not necessarily so. Vegans who eat a well balanced diet eat foods that are high in iron, and the ratio per calorie is higher than that of meat. So even though non-heme iron is not absorbed as well as heme iron, a vegan and vegetarian diet offers higher amounts of iron equalling out the amount of iron that is bioavailable to the body.

Vegans and vegetarians also benefit that their diets that their are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C greatly increases absorption of non-heme iron, by binding with the non-heme iron and allowing it to reach the intestines so it can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Recommended Daily Allowance Of Iron

The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends the following:

  • Infants and children
    • Younger than 6 months: 0.27 milligrams per day (mg/day)
    • 7 months to 1 year: 11 mg/day
    • 1 to 3 years: 7 mg/day
    • 4 to 8 years: 10 mg/day
  • Males
    • 9 to 13 years: 8 mg/day
    • 14 to 18 years: 11 mg/day
    • Age 19 and older: 8 mg/day
  • Females
    • 9 to 13 years: 8 mg/day
    • 14 to 18 years: 15 mg/day
    • 19 to 50 years: 18 mg/day
    • 51 and older: 8 mg/day
  • Females who are pregnant:
    • 14 to 18 years: 27 mg/day
    • 19 to 30 years: 27 mg/day
    • 31 and 50 years: 27 mg/day
  • Females who are lactating:
    • 14 to 18 years: 10 mg/day
    • 19 to 30 years: 9 mg/day
    • 31 and 50 years: 9 mg/day
  • Plant Based, Vegan, Vegetarian Sources For Iron

    • Peaches, Dried (1 cup, halves): 6.5mg
    • Spinach (1 cup): 6.4 mg
    • Spirulina (1 tsp): 5 mg
    • Pumpkin seeds (1 ounce): 4.2 mg
    • Sesame Seeds (1 ounce): 4.12mg
    • Quinoa (4 ounces): 4 mg
    • Swiss Chard (1 cup cooked): 3.96mg
    • White beans (1/2 cup) 3.9 mg
    • Pears, Dried (1 cup, halves): 3.78mg
    • Blackstrap molasses (1 tbsp): 3.5 mg
    • Prune juice (8 ounces): 3 mg
    • Lentils (4 ounces): 3 mg

    References:
    Iron Content of Common Foods
    Ferralet 90
    The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine

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    About

    I obtained a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University. I eat a plant based diet and I am an avid researcher of the benefits of a whole food, plant based alkaline diet. I obtained a BA in Organizational Behavior and Communications from NYU, worked as an elementary school teacher, and have studied social work. I am a web designer/developer and I enjoy boxing, kick boxing, cycling, power walking, and basically anything challenging. Eating a plant based diet and exercising is a great way to achieve healthy living. ~ Natural Life Energy

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