Build Your Blood on a Plant-Based Diet


I’ve been fully vegetarian for the past few years, and on-and-off for at least a decade, and although there’s been much more awareness about meat-free sources of protein, one question I get a lot is “How do you get enough iron?”

This is a great question because as a woman, I need almost twice as much iron as a man. I’ve suffered iron deficiency at times, but over the years I finally figured out what I need to eat in order to keep myself energetic and balanced. Here are my blood-building essentials.

-Dark Green Superfoods: Spirulina, chlorella and wheat grass are the superfoods of green. Every day or two I take a teaspoon of spirulina in a glass of juice. Haven’t had any iron problems since.
-Dark Leafy Greens: Though they’re not as high in iron as the superfoods, leafy greens like spinach, kale and mustard are good to incorporate regularly into salads.
-Nuts and Seeds: Tahini (sesame butter) and almonds top the list in this category.
-Dried Fruits: Dried figs, apricots, peaches and raisins. I put these in my luxurious snack mix.
-Beans: Garbanzo beans (the main ingredient in hummus), lentils, black, kidney and pinto beans. I eat a meal incorporating legumes at least two or three times a week.
-Vitamin C: It’s very important to eat enough citrus fruits and berries, because vitamin C helps your body better absorb iron.

The real answer to getting enough iron is a balanced, varied diet of whole foods, plus the green superfood boost. It’s as tasty and easy as that.

Images: derek purdy

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