Heme and nonheme
There are two types of iron:
Heme iron: from meat
Nonheme: from vegetable which is less assimilable.
Vegetarians must improve the absorption of this type of iron.
The absorption of iron depends on many factors:
It is increased in the presence of vitamin C. Consume vitamin C rich foods at each meal (citrus fruits, broccoli, tomatoes, green pepper...)
On the contrary anti-acids, oxalates-rich foods (spinach, rhubarb, Swiss chard, chocolate...), phytates-rich foods (wheat bran), coffee and tea lessen its absorption.
Phytate levels diminish when soaking legumes or cereals and when nuts are roasted.
Fermented foods such as tempeh, miso, and soy sauce do not inhibit iron absorption since inhibitors are broken down during the fermentation.
Body recycles iron but some is lost every day and must be replaced.
Iron is found in:
Seeds: pumpkin, sunflower and sesame.
Too much iron is not good. It is believed that excess iron binds with free radicals increasing risks of cancers as well as cardiovascular diseases.
Realized by Laurence LIVERNAIS-SAETTEL, dietetian
© Copyright L. Livernais-Saettel 2000
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