Disease Proof

Iron, No Meat Needed

Most nutritarians only eat meat once a week or less, so, are they getting enough iron? Yup, they certainly are. Veggies are loaded with iron. Take a look at this:

Now, Sally Squires of The Washington Post examines the issue of iron without the meat. Here’s some of her article from The Lean Plate Club:
Dietary iron comes in two forms. One is in red meat, poultry, seafood and other animal products. Known as heme iron, it's absorbed more efficiently and more easily than the iron found in plants, from dried beans to spinach.

So what can you do?

Eat cereal fortified with iron. One cup of instant fortified oatmeal has 10 milligrams of iron -- about 60 percent of the daily value. Eat a half-grapefruit or sip a half-cup of orange juice with it, since Vitamin C helps boost absorption of iron.

If you are a pesce vegetarian -- that is, you eat some seafood -- then you've got a lot of options, including oysters and clams. Just six oysters provide more iron than three ounces of chuck steak. And six ounces of clams -- about three-quarters of a cup -- have more iron than three ounces of beef tenderloin.

And if you don't eat seafood, then load up on dried beans and greens. There are delicious ways to do this. One cup of lentils packs 35 percent of the daily value of iron. Kidney beans are also a rich source of iron.
Okay, here is an interesting tidbit about iron, too much can actually be problematic. Dr. Fuhrman explains:
Certain minerals are toxic and if consumed daily with even as little as 5 to 10 times the recommended daily allowances (which is found in some supplements) can have detrimental effects. These minerals with a narrow therapeutic range are primarily chromium, selenium and iron.
This worrying about iron if you don’t eat meat, reminds me of the mindless blathering about protein. More from Dr. Fuhrman:
There is protein in all foods, ESPECIALLY VEGETABLES, not just in animal products. The fact is, protein deficiency is not a concern for anyone in the developed world. It is almost impossible to consume too little protein, no matter what you eat unless your diet is significantly deficient in overall calories. If it is, you’ll deficient in other nutrients as well.
Take me for example. The only animal I eat is some fish a few times a month and here are my protein and iron levels:
Iron: 73
(reference range; 45-175 mcg/dL)

Protein: 7.5
(reference range; 6.2-8.3 g/dL)
Oh! And I bench-press more than my bodyweight, so yeah, I’m not too worried about protein and iron. What do you think?
Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
Comments (2) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
don stewart - April 9, 2008 10:11 AM

My wife and I gave blood last week. Her hemoglobin was 16 and mine was 15.9. We are 67 and 64 years old, respectively. The Red Cross people are amazed at our healthy hemoglobin levels. We get there with plain veggies--no meat with it's 'easily absorbed iron' and no iron fortified cereal and no iron pills. So we don't have to worry about excess iron oxidizing our cholesterol and creating plaques in our arteries. Are we missing something? I don't think so.

Don Stewart

Gerry Pugliese - April 9, 2008 10:21 AM

Hey Don-

Awesome! I get similar reactions from people my age. Since I'm in my twenties and in good shape, everyone thinks I must eat loads of meat and protein, when I tell them I don't, they look at me like I'm the elephant man--its funny.


Dr. Fuhrman's Executive Offices
4 Walter E. Foran Blvd.
Suite 408
Flemington, NJ 08822