Do vegans and vegetarians have an iron deficiency? I get that question a lot. I also overhear people sometimes claim that we actually do have that deficiency. I wanted to get to the bottom of this and see how close to or far from the truth they are.
Let’s take a look at some plant-based iron sources.
- White beans
- Kidney beans
- Dry roasted cashew nuts
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Ground linseed
- Pumpkin seeds
- White grains
- Fortified breakfast cereal
- Dried apricots
- Dark chocolate (Ooh, I love this iron source! I could eat chocolate every day 🙂 )
Important note: if you – like me – love to drink tea, then make sure you don’t drink too much black tea when you ingest iron. Black tea causes your body not to absorb the iron. I love Earl Grey, English Breakfast tea, and Chai which are all black teas, so on days when I eat a lot of iron, I remind myself to drink green tea or any other tea that is not black. The same goes for excessive amounts of coffee.
Why shouldn’t you drink coffee and/or black tea when you eat iron-rich foods?
Both tea and coffee contain tannins that inhibit iron digestion. Tannins bind with iron during digestion, making the absorption of this important mineral difficult.
So, eating iron-rich foods won’t do much for you if you drink a lot of coffee and/or black tea.
So, you see, as a vegan there are plenty of iron sources, and there is nothing to worry about. Those claims that vegans and vegetarians lack iron are based on the myth that iron is only obtained through meat, but the same has been claimed for protein and we know by now that that isn’t true either.
If you remember to limit black tea and change it to green or fruit teas when or after you eat plant-based iron sources, then you’ll be fine. Rooibos (or Rooibos vanilla) tea is also a delightful alternative.
While I did not plan on making this post about tea, I couldn’t resist adding these lovely tea cups here. Aren’t they divine?
Thank you for stopping by again. I hope this post was useful to you. If you have any comments or questions, please let me know in the comments below.