Can you get enough iron from a plant-based diet?

The NZ Vegetarian Society says New Zealanders can get enough iron from vegetarian and vegan diets, and is encouraging New Zealanders to learn more about iron deficiency.

NZ Vegetarian Society spokesperson Philip McKibbin says vegetarian and vegan diets can be good for you and the planet:

“The good news is that there is an abundance of options for plant-based iron-rich foods that are consistent with long-term healthful eating and environmental sustainability”, Mr McKibbin says.

Regular consumption of whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, iron-fortified cereals and green leafy vegetables can provide an adequate iron intake, according to some studies.

Mr McKibbin says it is important that vegetarians and vegans remember this, as there is a lot of misinformation circulating. While maintaining a healthy iron level is indeed essential – and although red meat does contain plenty of iron, he says there are concerns around red meat, which Beef & Lamb New Zealand is not highlighting, including carcinogens, cholesterol, and saturated fat.

Mr McKibbin says it’s important that Kiwis are critical about the information they receive, “not everyone sharing nutritional information has an interest in your well-being. If a person or a company is trying to sell you a product – like red meat – be wary of the information they’re giving you, and make sure you check that what they’re saying is true, and that they’re giving you the full picture”.

If you are after some inspiration for some new plant-based recipes, good recommends this vegetarian lasagne or cauliflower galette.

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