Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Nutrition info - Iron

It’s another lovely warm day in Melbourne; I just wish I could be outside enjoying it! A long beachside lunch would be super, but alas that will have to wait. Le sigh.

Today I will start my ‘series’ on nutrition. Obviously I want to be as healthy as possible, and ensure I am nourishing my body with the correct nutrition and the right vitamins, minerals etc. So to start with, Iron.

Iron

If you’re a fan of The Simpsons, then no doubt you will remember this – it randomly gets stuck in my head……. Argh!

According to the Victorian Government’s Better Health Channel website, iron is ‘an important dietary mineral that is involved in various bodily functions, including the transport of oxygen in the blood. This is essential in providing energy for daily life’[1]. So pretty important really!

We all know we’re meant to get decent amounts of iron; otherwise we can become anaemic and get very sick.

Anaemia caused by iron deficiency can be a nutritional problem for vegetarians, especially women.
The major function of iron is to transport oxygen to all of the organs, muscles and tissues in your body. Symptoms of iron-deficiency anaemia can include tiredness, weakness, shortness of breath, and headache.[2]

The recommended does of iron each day is;
Males - 8mg per day
Females - 18mg per day 

The only way to get a proper reading of your iron levels is by blood test – unfortunately. I am a TOTAL needle-phobe, and it’s almost like I become irrationally possessed when faced with a blood test. I become hysterical, start crying and then pass out. Tough cookie, aren’t I?!! I avoid them at all costs, but now that I am vegan, I am resigning to the fact that I will probably need to get them semi-regularly to ensure I am being as healthy as possible.

I know that when I was growing up, I was taught that the only source of iron came from red meat (and spinach, if you recall that TV ad several years ago where they compared a small serve of lamb opposite a ginormous bowl of the good ol’ green leafy stuff!). Luckily, this false advertising was sponsored by the meat industry, and means that as vegans/vegetarians, we can get our iron from other sources. And what tasty sources they are!

There are also vegan iron supplements available – I’m not familiar with any Australian brands that sell them, however I have just purchased a Deva multivitamin from iherb.com. Without wanting to sound sales pitchy, I have found iherb to be excellent as they offer discounted prices and cheap speedy shipping to Australia (about $4!). With our strong dollar, it’s a great time to buy!!

When I originally put this list together, it was really only for L-whack and me. But then I started this blog, and am now sharing it with you. Unfortunately I got this information from various websites and I cannot remember which ones, so I cannot credit them where it is due. So apologies!


Serving size
(mg) per serve
% Daily Value - male
% Daily Value - female
Soybeans, cooked
1 cup
8.8
110
49
Blackstrap molasses
2 Tbsp.
7.2
90
40
Lentils, cooked
1 cup
6.6
83
37
Spinach, cooked
1 cup
6.4
80
36
Quinoa, cooked
1 cup
6.3
79
35
Tofu
114g
6.0
75
33
Bagel, enriched
85g
5.2
65
29
Tempeh
1 cup
4.8
60
27
Lima beans, cooked
1 cup
4.4
55
24
Swiss chard, cooked
1 cup
4.0
50
22
Black beans, cooked
1 cup
3.6
45
20
Pinto beans, cooked
1 cup
3.5
44
19
Turnip greens, cooked
1 cup
3.2
40
18
Chickpeas, cooked
1 cup
3.2
40
18
Potato
1 large
3.0
38
17
Kidney beans, cooked
1 cup
3.0
38
17
Prune juice
237ml
3.0
38
17
Beet greens, cooked
1 cup
2.7
34
15
Tahini
2 Tbsp.
2.7
34
15
Veggie hot dog
per hot dog
2.7
34
15
Peas, cooked
1 cup
2.5
31
14
Black-eyed peas, cooked
1 cup
2.3
29
13
Cashews
1/4 cup
2.1
26
12
Brussels sprouts, cooked
1 cup
1.9
24
11
Bok choy, cooked
1 cup
1.8
23
10
Bulgur, cooked
1 cup
1.7
21
9
Raisins
1/2 cup
1.6
20
9
Almonds
1/4 cup
1.5
19
8
Apricots, dried
15 halves
1.4
18
8
Veggie burger, commercial
per patty
1.4
18
8
Watermelon
1/8 of medium
1.4
18
8
Soy yogurt
178g
1.1
14
6
Tomato juice
237ml
1.0
13
6
Green beans, cooked
1 cup
1.2
15
7
Kale, cooked
1 cup
1.2
15
7
Sunflower seeds
1/4 cup
1.2
15
7
Broccoli, cooked
1 cup
1.1
14
6
Millet, cooked
1 cup
1.1
14
6
Sesame seeds
2 Tbsp.
1.0
13
6
Baked beans
2/3 cup
2.9
36
16
Lentils/pulses/dried beans (cooked)
2/3 cup
2.9
36
16
Wholemeal/wholegrain bread
1 slice
0.5
6
3
Milo
2 heaped tsp. (9g)
2.2
28
12
Muesli
1 cup
5.0
63
28
All-Bran
1 cup
4.0
50
22

Obviously I am not an expert in this area (I feel faint at the sight of blood and have to cover my eyes whilst watching Grey’s Anatomy!), so this is a guide only. I have gathered information from sources that I believe to be reputable, however take no responsibility if it’s incorrect. It’s essential to speak to your health professional about your own individual needs and if you have any concerns or queries. Yada yada yada.


[1] http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Iron_deficiency_adults?open
[2] http://www.mydr.com.au/nutrition-weight/iron-intake-for-vegetarians

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