a lot of people know that ...
Iron, B12 and EFAs
... are vital to stay healthy, but there's always a natural
veggie equivalent to match these dietary essentials otherwise
found in meat.
But with vegetables you need to know where to find
a daily basis, the most important life sustaining nutrients
for a vegetarian are: IRON, Vitamin B12 and EFAs
of us are aware that lack of iron can cause anaemia. This
means that the body's natural stores of iron are depleted
leading to a range of dangerously unpleasant symptoms. The
healthy body contains between 3.5 and 4.5g of iron, 2/3
of which is present in haemoglobin (the essential red pigment
in your blood). The remainder is stored in the liver, spleen
and bone-marrow. Symptoms of anaemia include tiredness,
lack of stamina and headaches. Iron deficiency is also associated
with impaired brain function, and in young people can result
in impaired learning ability and behavioral problems.
is the least plentiful nutrient in the typical Western diet
and anaemia is fairly common in the UK particularly in female
vegetarians. Females can require at least twice the amount
of iron than males, particularly at child bearing age and
exists in two forms. Haem iron only exists in animal
tissues, while non-haem iron is present in plant
foods. A mixed omnivore diet distributes around 25% of non-haem
iron. But haem iron from meat makes up the rest of the
75%. To complicate matters more, non-haem iron from
plant foods is less easily absorbed by the body than haem
iron. This is why it's vitally important that vegetarians
make a conscious effort to keep their iron levels well stocked.
how: Some natural chemicals in plant foods can actually
inhibit iron absorption into the body (like tannin in tea).
So it's important that you accompany iron-rich plant foods
with Vitamin C which greatly increases the absorption of
non-haem iron. Foods rich in Vitamin C include citrus
fruits, green peppers, potatoes and fresh leafy green vegetables.
Citric acid, sugars and alcohol (in moderate quantities)
can also help promote iron absorption.
vegetarians don't eat nearly enough fresh green leafy vegetables.
A side plate per person of steamed broccoli, spinach,
mixed green salad or other iron rich vegetables should always
accompany a main meal ... and remember to eat these foods
with an accompaniment of Vitamin C enriched foods or drink,
which helps to absorb this non-haem iron.
if you take an iron supplement such as Floradix or iron
water sachets, mix them with fresh orange juice (or eat
an orange). Don't drink tea for a few hours either side
of taking an iron supplement. Iron water sachets are probably
the best choice for people who find that other iron supplements
give them an upset stomach. Naturally iron enriched water
from a natural source is great poured into a small glass
mixed with some orange juice.
A list of iron enriched
section ties in with symptoms linked to low iron levels.
So if you are suffering from any amount of anaemia read
B12 is synthesized by bacteria and is found primarily in
meat, eggs and dairy products. Again, this is why it's important
that veggies take special care in sourcing B12 as part of
their every day diet. It is currently suggested that the
kind of B12 present in plant foods is not easily absorbed
by the human body. This means that plant foods shouldn't
be relied upon as a ready source of B12. Vitamin B12 is
necessary for red blood cell synthesis, the maintenance
of the nervous system and growth and development in children.
With symptoms similar to iron deficiency, lack of B12 can
cause anaemia - involving the degeneration of nerve fibres
and irreversible neurological damage. As with iron deficiency,
symptoms also include excessive tiredness, breathlessness,
listlessness, pallor, and poor resistance to infection.
Other symptoms in females can include menstrual disorders.
Anaemia may also be due to folic acid deficiency - folic
acid also being necessary for DNA synthesis. Rapid DNA cell
division synthesis in young people is important for healthy
bone and blood development. Anaemia caused by lack of B12
and iron can cause irreversible damage. It can take up to
twenty years for the full effect of B12 deficiency to become
apparent. This depends on how effectively each individual
is reabsorbing B12 through bile. B12 is a complex thing
and primarily linked to meat origins. But there are sources
which are synthesized and generated though plant extracts
such as yeast.
it is important to supplement your diet with yeast extract
on a daily basis, particularly if you are vegan. If you
are vegetarian, milk, cheeses and especially bolied eggs
provide naturally absorbable B12.
Fortified cereals such as Bran Flakes should contain both
iron and B12 vitamins.
B Vitamin daily intake and more information on B12 click
(Essential Fatty Acids):
Liver Oil is always noted as a best source for Omega 3 essential
fats. But for vegetarians did you know that there are seed
oils such as flax seed oil which is very rich in Omega 3.
For example there is a product available called Udo's Choice
Ultimate Blend which combines Omega 3 and Omega 6 from unrefined
organic vegetable oils, and is also suitable for vegans.
a list of EFA enriched foods
out more about Omega 3 at VeggieGlobal Q & As