5 Iron-Rich Foods for Active Vegetarians
It is not uncommon for vegetarians, especially active female vegetarians, to suffer from low iron counts. This is usually because red meat, eggs, and seafood are the easiest ways to keep iron levels high. Low iron and anemia can mean increased fatigue and exhaustion.
Here are five foods that all athletic vegetarians must try:
- Sweet Potato – A great way to incorporate a sweet touch into your savory meal, sweet potatoes are enriched with both iron and B-6 – a vitamin known to prevent over 100 health conditions, especially those related to the brain and heart.
- Lentils – Like other beans, lentils are a great source of iron, but what sets the lentil apart is their protein content: 16 grams/ serving.
- Dark, Leafy Greens – Spinach, Collards, and Chard are three easy greens to throw into your dinner to boost iron levels.
- Nuts and Seeds – These two food groups are a vegetarian must-have. Nuts and seeds contain natural fats as well as high levels of iron. Sesame seeds and pine nuts contain the highest levels of iron in their respective food groups. A handful of nuts or seeds on a busy day is a great way to get your iron, and fuel your body.
- Raw Cacao – Calling all chocolate lovers: raw cacao is 16% iron, and is an indulgent way to get your daily fix. Check out my raw chocolate mousse recipe below.
- 1 cup peanuts (use macadamia nuts if you want to indulge)
- ¼ cup raw cacao
- 1 tablespoon agave or raw honey
- Splash of coconut milk
- Optional: throw in some flax or chia seeds for texture
Blend together in food processor or Vitamix.
The Holy Trifecta: Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, and Magnesium
When it comes to your health, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, and Magnesium are remarkably nutritive allies. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, supporting a variety of functions throughout your body. Vitamin D and Calcium seamlessly work together to protect your bones. Calcium builds and maintains your bones, while Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Calcium and Magnesium work together to provide a similar value. Magnesium keeps calcium out of the soft tissue and within the bones, where it’s needed most.
Let’s start with a deep-dive into Vitamin C. We’ve heard about the benefits of Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, for a long time. Discovered by biochemist Albert Szent-Györgyi’s in the 1930s, this remarkable chemical enables the body to healthfully sustain itself and helps it efficiently use fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
Centuries ago, when fresh vegetables were not always easy to find, sailors would experience fatigue, weakness, open sores, bleeding gums, loose teeth, and unusual hemorrhages beneath the skin. The condition was known as Scurvy, and in the 15th century, it ravaged sailors and low-income families, causing sickness, disability, and death. Szent-Györgyi’s won a Nobel Peace Prize for his discoveries, the lot of which provided excellent value for the British Navy.