WHY IS IRON IMPORTANT?
Iron is a mineral and it is arguably one of the most important in the body. It’s also one of the minerals that a lot of people are deficient in or at least has higher probably of being deficient in, especially if you follow a plant-based diet. So iron is responsible for the production of hemoglobin in our bodies. And hemoglobin molecules are basically there to transport oxygen throughout our system. So most of them can be found inside of our blood, obviously, and that’s where a lot of the iron is stored, about 60 to 70% of the iron in our body is found in our hemoglobin molecules.
Other places that iron is found inside of the body are things like our liver, our kidneys, and some of our other organs, and basically it just lives there so that the hemoglobin can pull from those storage areas if it needs any extra. So there are two main forms of iron. There’s heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron, which is more easily absorbed by the body is found in animal products.
So about, heme iron is about 10 up to 30% absorbable. Whereas non-heme iron, which is what is found in plant-based sources, is less absorbable. Maybe about 8 to 10%, so that means if you are following a plant-based diet, you’ll have to be a little bit more mindful of your iron, and getting in adequate amounts of iron and also insuring that you’re absorbing iron. So, if you are at all wondering if you’re deficient in iron, the only thing that I can recommend is that you get a blood test done. Go to a functional medicine doctor or just any sort of doctor, have a blood panel done, and that will give you a sense of where you fall in the range.
And soybeans which obviously are a bean, are also the base of a a lot of plant-based protein options for those of us who are following a plant-based diet. Things like tofu, tempeh, edamame, those are all forms of soy, also soy milk and that is a really good way to get in some extra iron. The one thing to keep in mind if you are somebody that consumes soy is that you wanna make sure that you’re buying organic and non-GMO varieties, just is a little bit easier on your system, easier for your body to absorb and digest and just healthier for the overall world and your own health in geneal.
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