If you are following diet free of meat, then it means that you are always on the look-out from some adequate substitute particularly when iron is concerned.
There are smart clever nutritionist-approved strategies which will provide your body with many essential minerals.
Excluding or just cutting back on red meat means that you are as well as cutting out on iron. It is a true fact that plant-based foods have this mineral in their content, but it is not as readily absorbed because only 2% – 20% of the iron in plants or otherwise known as non-heme gets to the blood, contrary to 15% – 35% of the iron in animal foods known as heme.
Luckily, you can increase the bioavailability of non-heme iron in your body, just by adding some vitamin C into your meal. In fact, it enhances its amount by as much as six fold.
Here are six plants abundant in iron each one combined with a fruit or vegetable packed with vitamin C. You need to know that these combinations are not fixed; you can match and mix them as much as you like. There are so many combinations by using these fruits and veggies which will efficiently help you in getting all the iron body needs.
- Spinach combined with red bell peppers Iron + vitamin C
These two vegetables can be combined in so many ways; for instance, raw and minced peppers can be mixed in a spinach salad. Likewise, spinach can be cooked and stuffed into bell pepper or simply sauté sliced peppers with spinach. This combination can be seasoned with garlic, olive oil, and crushed red pepper.
- Lentils combined with Brussels sprouts Iron + vitamin C
Shaved Brussels sprouts and lentils can be a great stuffing for lettuce cups. You can prepare a nice serving of grilled or oven-roasted Brussels sprouts placed over a bed of seasoned lentils. You can as well as include them into a fresh garden salad.
- Black beans combined with cabbage Iron + vitamin C
There are many ways to combine these two for many people. The most favourite one for most people is when combined in black bean tacos, each topped with a generous portion of vinegar-based slaw. You can also try black bean-stuffed cabbage rolls or just add whole, chilled black beans to a slaw.
- Broccoli combined with tomatoes Iron + vitamin C
You can prepare a quick dinner consisted of sauté broccoli and tomatoes with onions, mushrooms, olive oil, garlic, and Italian herb seasoning. Make a complete meal with lean protein foods like chicken breast, salmon, or white beans accompanied with a small serving of a healthy carb like brown rice pasta or quinoa. Mix steamed broccoli florets in sundried tomato pesto. You can enhance the iron content even at breakfast by adding broccoli and tomatoes to an omelet or just prepare a frittata.
- Kale combined with oranges Iron + vitamin C
Both ingredients can be blended into a smoothie, and then orange wedges can be added into a kale salad or added into a stir fry. They can be a great nourishing snack like orange with some crunchy kale chips, which is an ideal combination.
- Dark chocolate combined with strawberries Iron + vitamin C
Aside the fact that it is a delicious dessert dark chocolate is an incredible source of iron; therefore you can freely melt and sprinkle it over whole strawberries. There are so many savoury combinations with these ingredients: adding them in your smoothie, then in your morning oatmeal, or simply folding them into protein-packed Greek yogurt.
In order to have interesting healthy delicious dessert you can prepare Frozen Pops: use molds and pour in them almond milk, minced strawberries, chopped dark chocolate, together with seasonings like chopped mint, fresh grated ginger, or ground cinnamon.
- Try to avoid foods that interfere with iron absorption
One of them is tannins which is present in coffee and tea and for that reason try to avoid drinking tea and coffee. Calcium also interferes with the absorption of iron; therefore avoid taking calcium supplements before the consumption of meal high in iron.
When you use this type of cookware you transfer some of the iron into your food thus enhancing the iron intake. This would be ideal with acidic foods such as tomato sauce as they have higher moisture content. According to a conducted study regarding the use of iron cookware it was shown that the iron content in spaghetti sauce increased nine fold after being cooked in a cast iron pot.