Iron-Rich Plants

According to this Reuters report, iron deficiency is a major global issue, but some Swiss scientists have a solution. Grow plenty of iron-rich plants. Here’s more:

Growing iron-rich plants may be the best way to combat iron deficiencies in people around the world, Swiss scientists said on Thursday.

With genetic engineering and selective breeding of such plants, growers can make strides against a problem that affects two billion people worldwide, they wrote in the Lancet medical journal…

… Iron-rich meat is too costly for many in the developing world, they said. Iron supplements in pill form are difficult to distribute in those nations, and many people are reluctant to take them.

While fortifying foods such as wheat-flour or rice with iron has worked well, genetically enriching these plants would preserve more of the mineral during processing.

That’s why I eat a ton of Romaine lettuce! In Nutrient Density of Green Vegetables Dr. Fuhrman points out that green vegetables are packed with iron. Check it out:

Nutrients Present in 100-Calorie Portions (Iron)
  • Broccoli: 3.5 mg
  • Sirloin Steak: .7 mg
  • Romaine Lettuce: 7.7 mg
  • Kale: 5.8 mg

More iron than steak and cheaper! Seems like a no-brainer.

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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
sara - August 14, 2007 2:29 PM

i thought that people in usa get too much iron. i know dr fuhrman intentionally does not put iron in the multi vitamin

Joel Fuhrman, MD - August 15, 2007 9:15 AM

People around the world do not eat enough greens, so adding some iron to other more heavily consumed plants could make sense. Plant iron is in the form of non-heme iron and is not as easily absorbed as heme iron from meat, which gets taken up in an unregulated fashion. That means it would be extremely unlikely to get iron overload that increases inflammation and heart attacks from plant food sourced iron, only meat-based iron or high dose supplementation could cause that.

Joy schwabach - March 31, 2012 8:10 PM

I'm thriving on Dr. furhman's "Eat to Live" diet but I just started using a calorie count app on my iPad. According to its nutritional analysis, I get an "A" overall but my iron is too low at 11 to 18 mg. and it thinks my vitamin A and C levels are way too high.

I guess more lentils and tofu are called for, right?

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