Most people follow plant-based diets for health benefits, and this is mainly due to the higher nutritional content and lower calorie density of plant-based food. Remember that they have higher amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals compared to animal-based food. Also, studies show that the adverse effects of eating calorie-dense food can be limited to a certain extent by including whole foods in an omnivore diet. However, those who follow a vegan diet have an increased risk of developing deficiency diseases like anemia. In this article, we will discuss avoiding anemia on a vegan diet.
What Is The Reason For Anemia On A Vegan Diet?
Anemia is the most common health disorder affecting Americans. It develops when the body does not produce enough red blood cells and is mostly caused due to iron deficiency. But it can also develop due to vitamin B12 deficiency, pregnancy, or as a symptom of other health disorders.
Vegans may have a higher risk for developing anemia mainly due to two reasons. They strictly eat plant-based food, which does not have vitamin B12, and the iron they contain is not easily absorbed by the body. Some of the symptoms of anemia are pale skin, chronic fatigue, dizziness, weakness, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, headache, cold hands and feet, and chest pain.
Plant-Based Food Rich In Iron
Beans: Legumes like black-eyed peas, chickpeas, soybeans, lima, kidney, and pinto beans have good iron content. Also, you must keep in mind that home-cooked dried beans have the highest iron content, and this is especially true about chickpeas.
Lentils: Lentils also contain decent amounts of iron along with protein; cooked lentils have about 6.6 mg of iron. Also, they are available in different varieties, which can be used in different plant-based recipes. For example, green and brown lentils are good for curries or stew, red lentils can be used in Indian dahl recipes, and so on.
Soy Products: Soy products like tofu, tempeh, soy milk, etc., are good sources of iron. You can use soy milk for your morning bowl of oats or cereal. Also, tofu and tempeh can be used as meat substitutes in plant-based recipes.
Dark Leafy Greens: Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, collards, swiss chard, and beet greens are excellent sources of iron. For example, there is more iron in 100 grams of spinach than the same amount of salmon, red meat, chicken, and eggs.
Including these plant-based foods in your vegan meal will ensure that you will get adequate amounts of iron and can help you with avoiding anemia.