Plant Based Iron & Why It’s Important

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I know a lot of people are hesitant about starting a plant-based lifestyle because they fear they’ll miss out on essential nutrients, one of those being iron. Do I get enough iron on my plant based diet? Hell yeah I do! Iron is actually found in a huge range of vegan sources and it’s not a challenge to get exactly what you need.

ironsource

What Is Iron & Why Is It Important?

Iron is an essential mineral that we need to maintain a healthy, happy body. It’s main job is to carry oxygen around our body and without it our body struggles to do this, red blood cells decrease in number & size and our organs, tissues and digestive system can’t work as well as they normally would. So clearly iron is extremely important and making sure we get enough of this mineral is vital.
Plant-based iron sources are found everywhere and studies have actually shown that vegans consume as much iron as omnivores too, sometimes even more! This could be due to the fact vegans tend to get more vitamin C through their diet than meat-eaters and vitamin C boosts iron absorption dramatically.

What Are The Best Plant-Based Iron Sources?

It’s recommend women (aged 14-50) need 15-18mg iron a day (women over 50 need 8mg) and men should be getting 8-11mg daily. Easy peasy!

80g Chickpeas = 2.4mg Iron
75g Lentils (cooked) = 6.6mg Iron
40g Cashews = 2mg Iron
90g Spinach = 3.2mg Iron
90g Kidney beans = 2.2mg Iron
2 Tbsp Tahini = 2.7mg Iron
1 large potato = 3.2mg Iron
50g Raw cacao powder = 3.7mg Iron (yessss raw chocolate!)
90g Quinoa (cooked) = 1.4mg Iron
170g Broccoli = 1.1mg Iron
150g Peas = 2.5mg Iron
50g Oats = 1.9mg Iron

If you had porridge for breakfast with almond milk, raisins and nuts then a lentil soup for lunch, hummus and carrot sticks as a snack and a curry with broccoli, spinach and chickpeas accompanied by quinoa for dinner you’re smashing your iron needs for the day!

Can I Still Be Iron Deficient On A Plant-Based Diet?

Whether you’re on a plant based diet or not it’s always possible to be iron deficient or anaemic, especially if you suffer with coeliac disease or any condition that causes stomach or bowl inflammation. If you’re worried about your iron levels you can see your doctor who will run blood tests. To boost your iron levels even more make sure you’re eating foods high in vitamin C like red pepper, oranges, kiwi, cauliflower, broccoli and strawberries.

I know iron intake is a big concern for people before they transition to a plant-based diet, so I hope this helped you see it’s actually not something you even have to think about if you’re eating a wide range of delicious, fresh, wholesome foods.

Raw Cacao & Almond Butter Cups

I used to love Reese’s peanut butter cups, the chocolatey outside and the smooth peanut butter filling was amazing but they’d leave me feeling guilty and sluggish, my skin would suffer and I’d feel generally yucky after consuming just one. After switching to this amazing plant-based lifestyle I rarely enjoy making healthy versions of popular sweet treats and this has to be one of my favourite creations to date. These raw cacao & almond butter cups are a nutritious twist on the peanut butter cups found in your local shop, they’re completely natural, refined sugar free, vegan and unprocessed but they taste absolutely heavenly!

Raw Cacao & Almond Butter Cups

Raw Cacao & Almond Butter Cups

 

Raw cacao is the unprocessed cocoa bean, it’s packed with magnesium and bursting with anti-oxidants. My almond butter cups also contain wonderful healthy fats from the almond butter and coconut oil to help your hair shine and your skin glow!

I love how easy this recipe is, how few ingredients there are and how little washing up is required afterwards…total win. These raw cacao and almond butter cup are such a mouth-watering sweet treat, and I just know you’re going to love them as much as I do.

Blackberry Chia Seed Jam

What’s more simple and delicious than a piece of yummy toast with sweet, fruity jam?

It’s always been one of my go-to comfort breakfasts or a snack on a cold day. The combination of crunchy, organic toast with fresh jam is so satisifying and it makes my tummy feel super happy.

Unfortunately shop-bought jams are loaded with nasties such as sugar, preservatives, artificial ingredients or pectin so they aren’t good for our body. The good news is making your own healthy jam is so super easy and tastes even more delicious than anything you could buy from the local shop!

Blackberry Chia Seed Jam

Blackberry Chia Seed Jam

The jam texture is created by the wonderful chia seeds which soak up liquid amazingly and create an amazing gelling power, it’s pretty cool! The sweetness comes from the berries, as well as the pure maple syrup that I decided to add which creates the most rich sweetness and isn’t bad for us if we make sure to use the pure, raw version that’s 100% natural. Then you’ve got the added zestiness of the lemon juice which also acts as a preservative.

As well as tasting super delicious this jam is packed full of goodness! Blackberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of all fruits which means they help reverse damage done in our body, protect us and even slow down signs of ageing. Blackberries are also packed full of vitamin C and bioflavonoids.

Chia seeds are a well known super food and their popularity is growing and growing, unsurprisingly really as these tiny little seeds pack in so much nutritional power. Chia seeds are the highest plant based source of omega-3 fatty acids – essential for keeping your heart healthy, lowing blood pressure and reducing your risk of heart disease, omega-3 is also great for the brain and a wonderful ‘happy food’. They’re also brimming with fibre, protein and iron which is all going to help eliminate toxins from the body, boost your metabolism, keep your skin glowing and your hair healthy.

You can get 10% off my favourite superfoods at Creative Nature by using the code AMELIA10 at checkout!

So now you see, sweet yummy jam can be healthy! I love to spread my blackberry jam on organic millet or buckwheat bread from biona, dollop some on top of my porridge or enjoy with a brown rice cake.

Blackberry Chia Seed Jam

Christmas Pudding Energy Balls

Christmas, we all love it, but for those of us who’d like to be a little healthier over the festive period it can be tricky – especially if you’re avoiding gluten, animal products and sugar!

I decided to come up with a few Christmas recipes to make this time of year still so exciting because of the yummy food and to make my tummy happy. I’ve got a few coming your way over the next 2 weeks, but I’m starting with these yummy Mini Christmas Pudding Energy Bites!

Christmas Pudding Energy Balls

Christmas Pudding Energy Balls

Christmas Pudding Energy Balls

Energy bites are my go-to healthy snack, they’re super easy to make, last a long time in the fridge, are incredibly tasty and give you that boost of nutrients & energy that you need.

These energy bites are made using almonds and cashews, which’ll give you a good amount of protein and healthy fats, then you’ve got the medjool dates, raisins and dried cranberries that make them super sweet and of course the all important spices and zest that help to create the wonderful Christmas pudding taste that is so delicious.

The icing is what makes these energy bites even more interesting and indulgent, but being made out of all natural ingredients you know you’re getting so much goodness with every bite. I used my favourite sweetener, the Date Nectar from BelovedDates, which is 100% pure date nectar – nothing artificial hiding in there!

I hope you have fun making these festive treats, and enjoy every mouth-watering bite!