Alkaline Plant Based Diet
Alkaline Plant Based Diet

Heme Iron In Animal Foods Verses Non-Heme Iron In A Whole Food Plant Based Diet

By | October 19th, 2015 | Modified - October 25th, 2015
Heme Iron In Animal Foods VS Non-Heme Iron In A Whole Food Plant Based Diet
Heme Iron In Animal Foods VS Non-Heme Iron In A Whole Food Plant Based Diet

All sources of iron are not created equally. There are two sources of dietary iron: heme iron found in animal blood and muscle, and non-heme iron found in plants. Some may think that people who eat a whole food plant-based diet would be more prone to suffer from iron-deficiency but the data shows they are no more prone to iron-deficiency than meat eaters.

Some may also think the iron in meat is better than the iron in plant foods but this is also not the case. Heme iron is associated with the increased risk of metabolic syndrome that includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, high cholesterol, and excessive weight around the mid-section. Heme iron is also associated with higher risk of heart disease.

It is thought that heme iron plays these roles because it can act as a pro-oxidant and contribute to the development of atherosclerosis by catalyzing the production of hydroxyl-free radicals promoting low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation.[1]

1 mg a day of heme iron consumed daily is associated with a 27% risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD).[2] Studies have also found an association with the consumption of heme iron and increased risk of stroke[3] and diabetes[4]with a 16% increased risk with every 1 mg of heme iron consumed.

There was a 12% increase of the risk of cancer with every 1 mg of heme iron consumed.[5]

You probably guessed it but the increased risk of these diseases was not found with non-heme iron in plants. You can find non-heme iron in dark leafy green vegetables, legumes, nut, grains, and fruits, which is just one more reason to consume a health protecting whole food plant-based diet. You can find the better health supporting plant foods on this nutritional guide based on the Dr Sebi food list.

[1] J Hunnicutt, K He, P Xun. Dietary iron intake and body iron stores are associated with risk of coronary heart disease in a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. J Nutr. 2014 Mar;144(3):359-66 doi: 10.3945/jn.113.185124.
[2] W Yang, B Li, X Dong, X Q Zhang, Y Zeng, J L Zhou, Y H Tang, J J Xu. Is heme iron intake associated with risk of coronary heart disease? A meta-analysis of prospective studies. Eur J Nutr. 2014;53(2):395-400. doi: 10.1007/s00394-013-0535-5.
[3] Heme iron intake and risk of stroke: a prospective study of men.
[4] W Bao, Y Rong, S Rong, L Liu. Dietary iron intake, body iron stores, and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Med. 2012 Oct 10;10:119. doi: 10.1186/1741-7015-10-119. Review.
[5] A Fonseca-Nunes, P Jakszyn, A Agudo. Iron and cancer risk–a systematic review and meta-analysis of the epidemiological evidence. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014 Jan;23(1):12-31. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-0733

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Alklaine Plant Based Diet
Alklaine Plant Based Diet

About Author:

Aqiyl Aniys is the author of the books Alkaline Herbal Medicine, Alkaline Plant Based Diet and the children's book, Faith and Justice eat an Alkaline Plant Based Diet." He received a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University, a BA in Organizational Behavior and Communications from NYU, worked as an elementary school teacher, and studied social work. He enjoys boxing, kick boxing, cycling, power walking, and basically anything challenging, and his alkaline plant-based diet supports all that he does. Learn more about transitioning to an alkaline vegan diet using the Dr. Sebi nutritional guide.

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