Friday, February 7, 2014

" Iron … "

Love the way I feel, streets replaced with fields.
Wide awake in here, you shine.
Ran away from goals, left you in the cold.

Nothings in our way tonight.
You know that you'll never be replaced.
And everyone here made the same mistakes as me.

And either way our time won't go to waste...
Our hearts will never be the same again.
Our hearts will never be the same again.

~ Calvin Harris ~ Iron ~ 

Recently I learned that if you are a vegetarian, your choice in beverage, specifically coffee, tea and wine can decrease iron absorption from plant based foods.  So while you think you are eating all your nutrients you may be missing out.

What about Popeye?
“Iron is an essential mineral that our bodies use to form red blood cells, which transport oxygen around your body.  Iron is also necessary for your body to produce energy.  If you are deficient in iron, you will feel tired, have a harder time remembering tings, be more likely to get sick and have difficulty maintaining your body temperature.”

Regarding beverages, more and more people drink tea than any other beverage except water.  Green tea may lower your risk for health conditions ... yet, it can also decrease the amount of iron you absorb, which can be important if you already don’t consume enough.  And our body has the ability to absorb non-heme iron, the iron found in plant and dairy foods.  Yet these particularly beverages can inhibit this because they contain compounds that bind to the mineral in your intestine.  Some studies even show that iron absorption rate decrease by up to 39% with coffee and 46% with tea.  

So how do we decrease the risk of iron deficiency but still enjoy our beverages?  Drink them at least an hour before our after meals.  Also make an effort to consume foods containing vitamin C when you eat plant-based forms of iron because it increases the absorption of iron ... e.g. Orange juice can increase iron absorption by 85%.  

did you know that 100 calories of spinach has the same 
amount of iron as eating 1,700 calories of sirloin steak ...

In general, dried beans and dark leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of iron.  Yet here are other options to consider ...

where can vegetarians source their iron:
  • whole grains
  • dried beans
  • egg yolks
  • dried fruits
  • soybeans
  • lentils
  • quinoa
  • pinto & kidney beans

where can vegetarians source their Vitamin C:
  • broccoli
  • brussel sprouts
  • tomatoes
  • potatoes
  • red & green peppers 

So did Popeye get it right?  Well he really tried!  Although spinach is a great source of iron, it contains oxalic acid which can also inhibit the absorption of iron.  But don’t be discouraged ... there are loads of alternatives (as listed above) to consider.  
Look at food combinations and find out which works best for you.

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