Important Nutrients- Iron And Zinc Sources In Vegan Diet
Vegan diets can meet all the recommendations for nutrients. The key is to consume a variety of foods and the right amount of food to meet your calorie needs. Follow the good group recommendations for your age, sex and activity level to get the right amount of food and the variety of foods needed for nutrient adequacy. Nutrients that vegans may need to focus on include protein, iron,calcium, zinc and vitamin B12. In this articles we will discuss about nutrients iron and zinc and various sources of these nutrients for Vegans.
Zinc is necessary for many biochemical reactions and also helps the immune system fuction properly.
Zinc is important to include in our diet because:
It helps to stabilize our blood sugar levels
Has been shown to keep depression at bay
Supports a healthy sense of taste and smell
Prevents a week immune system
Zinc Souces For Vegans:
Sources of zinc for vegans include many types of beans (white beans, kidney beans and chickpeas), zinc fortified breakfast cereals, wheatgerm and pumpkin seeds.
Tips: Zinc must be consumed daily becuase our bodies have no storage for this mineral.
Vegans needs up to 50% more zinc than the recommended daily allowance to compensate for the poor absorption of zinc from plant based diets
Iron is a very important mineral, and can be found in many foods, that you might not expect.
Iron is a mineral required to transport oxygen through the blood and is essential for providing energy for daily life.
The best source of iron is found in animal foods, as not only do they usually contain more iron ,but our bodies can absorb it better than the iron from plant foods.
Although iron deificiancy is often talked about, particularly in regards to a plant based diet, in the US ,iron over loaded is much more common. Thus the real issue may not be are you getting enough , but are you getting too much? However non heme (plant-based ) iron is less easily absorbed, creating a natural control to help ensure you dont get too much iron. A duet comprised of fruits, vegetables, grains and beans provides sufficient iron without getting too much.
Iron has Three Main Functions
Carrying oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body .
Maintaining a healthhy immune system
(Body protects itself from antigens, which includes virus , bacteria and foreign substance that make sick)
Aiding energy production
(Iron is constituent of several enzymes including : iron catalase, peroxidase and cytochrome enzymes)
Vegan Iron Sources:
This iron is harder for our body to use meaning we get less iron from it and need to eat more.
Legumes: soybeans and soy products, beans , especially kidney beans lentils
Dark Fruits: Prunes, raisins, apricots
Nuts/Seeds: especially almonds, cashew nut ,Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, tahini s
Greens Leafy Vegeatables: Spinach, turnip greens, broccoli ,even potatoes especially watercress (karisis), ota , chaurawya.
The Helper: Eating Vitamin C can double the amount of iron your body absorbs
We can get vitamin c from tomatoes, fruits and bright vegetables
The Blocker: Tea can block your body from absorbing iron. Avoid drinking tea 1 hour before and after a meal.
The recommended daily intake of iron for women between the ages of 19 to 50 is 18 milligrams a day