If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet you probably know how difficult it is to maintain iron levels.

Children, adolescents and women of reproductive age, particularly during pregnancy, are most at risk of iron deficiency.

Anemia (iron deficiency) occurs when your body does not have enough iron to produce hemoglobin – the part of the red blood cells that bind and carry oxygen in your blood, and may have various symptoms, including fatigue, dizziness, headaches, sensitivity to cold and shortness of breath when doing simple tasks.  Moreover, iron deficiency can result in poorer attention span and mental function. In fact, being deficient during early childhood has been linked to lower IQs.

A plant-based diet can make it exceedingly difficult to maintain iron levels, not only because of the amount of iron but actually because of the type of iron being consumed.

Most people know that certain grains, vegetables and fruits are excellent sources of iron.  But did you know that not all iron is the same, and that certain foods help your body absorb certain types of iron?  Heme iron, found in animal foods and derived from the hemoglobin originally found in these foods, is readily absorbed by your body.  Non-heme irons, on the other hand, are found in vegan foods such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and leafy greens, and is not as easily absorbed into the blood stream.

Enter the strawberry – our super fruit!  Strawberries are known to be a rich source of Vitamin C.

Vitamin C has been shown to specifically enhance the absorption of non-heme iron originating from plant-based foods.

Adding strawberries to your menu daily will help you maximize your dietary iron intake and ensure that your body functions properly.