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 Herb Purslane Is A Nutritional Powerhouse
The lovely, moist succulent known as purslane, is 93% water, features dark magenta stems, and rich green, rounded leaves. Also known as Portulaca oleracea, this nutritious, edible weed has collected some colorful nicknames over the years, including: little hogweed, pigweed, and fatweed.
A first-century historian named “Pliny the Elder” suggested that Romans used purslane as the primary vegetable during dinners and as a crunchy addition to salads. Some 18th-century French farmers were known to hate the plant, saying “it’s a mischievous weed meant for pigs.” The herb can be found in Africa, North America, Asia, and Australia.
Some say that Europe is purslane’s native home, but given its succulence, it most likely originated nearer to deserts. The plant has been native to India, Greece, and Persia for centuries, but may have first appeared in North Africa some 4,000 years ago. Some archeologists suggest the plant is prehistoric. Slightly sour and infused with nuanced flavors akin to watercress and spinach, the fleshy purslane is loved by millions throughout the world.
This jade-like plant can be sautéed, juiced, boiled, pickled, drenched in butter, or featured in a delicious salad with oil, salt, and vinegar. It’s a versatile weed that can be grabbed from the Earth and immediately consumed. As it’s often found in plentiful heaps strewn across the countryside, the plant is easy to grow and has provided helpful sustenance throughout the ages, especially during times of famine.
“I have made a satisfactory dinner on several accounts, simply off a dish of purslane, which I gathered in my cornfield, boiled, and salted.” — Henry Thoreau