JSB and A MEATY Difference of Opinion: 3
My blog series response to the recently published letter in the Napier Courier, written by Fiona Greig, the nutrition manager for beef and lamb New Zealand Inc.
What are the best and healthiest food sources of iron?
A standard serving of any of the following foods will easily give you your daily iron intake: spirulina, tempeh, sprouted soybeans, lentils and mung beans, spinach, tahini, cooked beans (Lima, kidney, navy, black and pinto), pumpkin and sesame seeds and good quality traditionally-prepared tofu. Other very good sources are chick peas, quinoa, sea vegetables, dried figs and apricots, dried fruits, brewer’s yeast, raisins, nuts, thyme, turmeric, dark, leafy green vegetables, string beans, turnip and mustard greens, oats, millet, brown rice, barley, shiitake mushrooms, romaine lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, leeks, Brussels sprouts, baked potatoes, parsley and rhubarb.
Cath emailed me in August 2012 and said “I have just given blood today - nothing unusual in that - but I have struggled for years with my hemoglobin - bordering on the low side - dizzy when I stand / get out of bed etc. My Hb today was 137 which is excellent! How’s that for being on thelifeplan (eating plant-based meals) since November 2011! Who says you need to eat meat?”
Free iron can be deadly
Iron in vegetables is safe non-haem bound iron (which is attached to protective proteins) and does not lead to iron problems. If iron exists as free iron, it can trigger intense inflammation, free radical generation, lipid peroxidation and lead to cancer. Women drinking more than 20g alcohol daily significantly increase the free iron in their breast tissue and have a higher incidence of the most deadly invasive breast cancer.
An overdose of synthetic iron pills in small children can be lethal and is the most common US cause of poisoning in infants, producing vomiting, upper abdominal pain, pallor, cyanosis, diarrhea, drowsiness, shock and death. Iron in plant foods is safe and regulated by the body in a way that guards against iron overload. Animal-sourced iron and plant-sourced iron are both easily used by the human body.
If you are eating a well-balanced, plant-based wholefood diet then you are getting as much iron as a heavy red-meat eater. You also get more vitamin-C-prebiotic-rich-foods for better and safer iron absorption.