Moving towards a plant-based diet can have loads of health benefits and help to reduce your environmental impact.
There are plenty of ways to find plant-based protein from a variety of plants. However, it can be easy to forget about a common nutrient deficiency – iron. If you’re feeling low and fatigued, it is possible you’re not getting enough iron in your day-to-day diet.
Why do I need Iron?
Iron is essential for your body’s health. This mineral helps your body’s red blood cells to transport oxygen from your lungs throughout the body. Your cells and tissues need oxygen to effectively convert food into energy.
If your iron levels are too low, then your body is unable to produce healthy red blood cells to provide the rest of your body with oxygen. This can lead to iron deficiency anaemia and you could start to feel fatigued, lightheaded and have difficulty concentrating.
Not all Iron is the same
There are actually two types of iron: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is found in animal sources such as meat and fish, whereas, non-heme iron comes from plant-based foods including legumes, nuts and leafy vegetables.
The problem is your body finds it easier to absorb the heme iron found in meat and fish. The non-heme iron from plant-based sources is more difficult for your body to digest.
This is why it may be harder for vegetarians and vegans to maintain healthy levels of iron. But it is possible (without needing to resort to iron supplements).
How do I boost my Iron intake?
If you’re feeling wiped, one trick to increase your iron intake is to eat foods high in Vitamin C, which aids your body in absorbing non-heme iron more effectively. Boosting your iron levels will help to make you feel more energised, increase your immunity levels and improve your focus. To boost your energy this summer, try these superfoods rich in iron:
Wheatgrass powder is packed with iron which reduces tiredness and supports cognitive function. Try adding Wheatgrass to a delicious Pineapple & Wheatgrass Smoothie for a dose of nourishing nutrients.
Barleygrass powder is also a good source of iron to help energise your body and improve concentration. Adding Barleygrass to hummus will help you feel energised for longer.
Hemp Protein powder is packed full of plant protein and essential minerals including iron. Bursting with spicy flavours, these Hemp Protein Falafel are perfect to enjoy in pitta bread with hummus and salad for a nourishing lunch. Rolling the falafel in hemp seeds gives them a nutty crunch.
If you’re worried about getting enough iron, try boosting your diet with plenty of non-heme iron found in plants. Remember, it is possible to eat adequate amounts of iron without supplements. Reach for those iron rich foods for a boost of energy. Your body will thank you.