Boosting iron levels does not just have to come from animal products, find out what vegetarian and vegan foods could support red blood cell formation and other vital functions in the body in this week’s Nutrition News covering the latest nutritional studies.

10 vegetables rich in iron

Animal-derived foods such as meat are known to be a good source of iron, which has led to concern of deficiency for those following vegan and vegetarian diets. Iron is an essential mineral that is needed for the production of hemoglobin in the body, which is a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Without enough iron, you risk developing anaemia, which can leave you fatigued and short of breath.

Sources of iron include red meat and liver but there are also vegetable sources of iron that could help bolster iron levels in vegetarians and vegans, as shown in this article by Medical News Today. These vegetables include:

Chanterelle mushrooms

Black salsify

Spinach

Swiss chard

Cooked beet greens

Canned tomatoes

Lamb’s lettuce

Green cabbage

Brussels sprouts

Boiled green peas

Each vegetable listed here provides anything between 0.94 mg and 6.94 mg iron per serving, so they are great options for ensuring you’re getting enough plant-based iron in your diet.

Omega 3 could support healthy ageing

Countless studies have shown the beneficial effects of omega 3 on the body but one recent study has gone as far as suggesting that it could prolong life and promote healthy ageing. The study from research scientists of The Fatty Acids and Outcomes Research Consortium (FORCE), reported on by NutraIngredientsUSA, involved data for a pooled analysis of circulating long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids measurements of 42,466 individuals. What the researchers found was that those who had an Omega 3 index of 7.6% had a 13% lower risk of death from all causes than those who had an Omega 3 index score of 3.5%.

Speaking of the findings, study author Dr William S. Harris said, “we believe that these are the strongest data published to date supporting the view that over the long-term, having higher blood omega 3 levels can help maintain better overall health.”

While the results are promising, it is worth noting that this was an observational study and, to reach concrete results, more research would be needed to establish the extent of which omega 3s and fatty acids could benefit health and healthy ageing.

Leafy greens for heart health

As heart disease is one of the leading causes of death, keeping the heart healthy has never been so important. We know that eating healthily is a large part of keeping the heart functioning well but now a study, which has been reported by Medical News Today this week, has shown an association between the consumption of leafy greens specifically and positive heart health.

The study from Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Joondalup, WA, in Australia found that leafy greens and other vegetables high in nitrates were associated with better heart health, with subjects showing lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease. The study was an observational one that looked at data from over 50,000 people over a 23 year period. The study’s authors found that just one cup of raw leafy green vegetables a day was the right level for heart health benefits.

While it’s important to stress that this was an observational study and the participants were based in Denmark only, so it was not taking into account international findings, the results are promising and considered to be significant due to the sample size and the length of time of the follow up period.

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is the Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.