Iron on a raw vegan diet

Any deficiency might be the result of bad digestion, which was in turn created by mucus forming foods. So even more importantly then adding something to our menu, we need to make sure that our diet is clean of chemicals, gluten, animal protein and ideally, of all or at least most of the cooked food. Then, by adding variety of fresh fruit, dark greens, veggies, nuts and seeds we will take our absorption of all nutrition on a whole new level.

Iron plays very important role in our body. It is a main part of hemoglobin that is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Anemia caused by iron deficiency is a common health problem in most of the counties and it is especially common in children and in young women.

There are two forms of iron found in food, heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron, which is found only in animal products has a higher absorption levels then non-heme iron found in plants (fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds). However, if food also contains vitamin C, it increases non-heme iron absorption up to six-fold which makes the absorption of non-heme iron as good or better than that of heme iron.1 Also, please remember, that tannins found in tea and coffee and calcium supplements reduce iron absorption.2

Research shows that iron deficiency anemia is no more common among vegans than among the general population.3,4 In fact, there are many iron-rich vegan foods to enjoy and there is no need to suffer from deficiency. If you compare vegan and non-vegan foods by the amount of iron per calorie, vegan foods are certainly superior to animal sources. To get the amount of iron we are getting from 100 calories of spinach, one would need to eat 1700 calories of steak.

The best sources of iron would be those, which are rich in both, iron and vitamin C, such as mulberries, spinach, dandelion greens, broccoli, kale, plums and other dark colored greens, fruits and veggies.

Iron Requirements

The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends the following: 5

Infants and children
Younger than 6 months: 0.27 milligrams per day (mg/day)
7 months to 1 year: 11 mg/day
1 to 3 years: 7 mg/day
4 to 8 years: 10 mg/day

9 to 13 years: 8 mg/day
14 to 18 years: 11 mg/day
Age 19 and older: 8 mg/day

9 to 13 years: 8 mg/day
14 to 18 years: 15 mg/day
19 to 50 years: 18 mg/day
51 and older: 8 mg/day

Raw vegan sources of iron

Spinach (3 ounces) 3.1 mg
Dandelion greens (3 ounces) 3.1 mg
Kale (3 ounces): 3mg
Beet Greens (3 ounces) 2.6 mg
Red leaf lettuce (3 ounces): 1.2 mg
Turnip Greens (3 ounces) 1.1 mg

Sauerkraut (1 cup): 2.1 mg
Peas (1 cup): 2.1 mg
Pak-choi (1 cup): 0.6 mg
Broccoli (1 cup): 0.6 mg
Tomato (1 large): 0.5 mg
Onion greens (1 ounce): 0.5 mg

Seeds and nuts
Pumpkin seeds (1 ounce): 4.2 mg
Sunflower seeds (1 ounce): 1.5 mg
Almonds (1 ounce): 1.1 mg
Sesame seeds (1 ounce): 0.7 mg


Mulberries (1 cup) 2.6 mg
Plums (1 cup): 2 mg
Black currants (1 cup) 1.7 mg
Blackberries (1 cup) 0.9 mg
Watermelon (1 wedge) 0.7 mg
Blueberries (1 cup) 0.6 mg
Apricots (1 cup): 0.6 mg
Peaches (1 large): 0.5 mg
Grapes (1 cup): 0.5 mg
Pears (1 large): 0.4 mg————————————————————————————————————–
1. Hallberg L. Bioavailability of dietary iron in man. Ann Rev Nutr 1981;1:123-147.
2. Gleerup A, Rossander Hulthen L, Gramatkovski E, et al. Iron absorption from the whole diet: comparison of the effect of two different distributions of daily calcium intake. Am J Clin Nutr 1995;61:97-104.
3. Haddad EH, Berk LS, Kettering JD, Hubbard RW, Peters WR. Dietary intake and biochemical, hematologic, and immune status of vegans compared with nonvegetarians. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;70(suppl):586S-93S.
4. Obeid R, Geisel J, Schorr H, et al. The impact of vegetarianism on some haematological parameters. Eur J Haematol. 2002;69:275-9.

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