How to Boost Iron for Vegetarians

Posted on by Paula Gallagher

Last week I wrote about the powerful antioxidant potential when you combined ellagic acid and quercetin. This week's dynamic duo is targeted toward vegetarians: iron and vitamin C. Getting enough iron for vegetarians can be difficult. If your diet is mostly plant-based, you probably rely on tofu, legumes and spinach to get the iron you need. These are all iron-rich foods, however, your body actually only absorbs about 20% of the iron found in plants (non-heme iron). The solution: vitamin C. Vitamin C triples the bioavailability of non-heme iron by changing it to a more absorbable form called ferrous iron. Iron is an essential mineral and its most important job is to carry oxygen throughout the body. Without enough of it, your body can't make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells. A lack of red blood cells is called iron deficiency anemia – and is perhaps one of the reasons you may be feeling exhausted. So make sure that you if you rely on veggies or legumes for your iron source, you are combining them with some foods rich in vitamin c. Here are some tips:
  • Top your whole grain cereal with strawberries
  • Make a spinach salad with some sunflower seeds and mandarin oranges and drizzle with some lemon juice and olive oil
  • Quinoa tossed with red pepper
If you still don't think you get enough of these two nutrients in your diet, try a supplement that combines iron and vitamin C. Megafood Blood Builder is a food-based iron supplement that is easy to digest. Ask your doctor to test your iron levels to see how much you need to be taking.