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A good diet should be a balanced mix of proteins, carbohydrates and iron. Iron helps in transporting and storing oxygen, assists in enzymatic activities responsible for increasing red blood cell formation and blood vessel growth and, forms an essential constituent of protein and enzymes. Nutritionist Karishma Chawla says, "Dietary sources of iron include heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is better absorbed and found in meat, seafood and poultry. Non-heme is plant-based, like grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds." It is often assumed that meat is the only good source of iron, which is incorrect.
Vegetarian foods rich in iron include
1. Soybeans: This is also a better source of protein than dals.
2. Spinach: This leafy vegetable is also a good source of folic acid and beta-carotene.
3. Prunes: Make sure you have this sparingly since it is a concentrated form of sugar and best had in the first half of the day
4. Kidney beans: Kidney beans have a host of health benefits. Besides being a rich source of iron, it is also known to keep your heart in top shape.
5. Pumpkin seeds: These are a mix of MUFA and Omega 6. They are excellent sources of certain amino acids.
You must try this healthy diet plan for fasting during Shravan.
Diet tips for vegetarians for optimal iron intake
1. Add a dash of lime to green leafy vegetables to enhance iron absorption.
2. Cooking in iron utensils is also known to increase the iron content of the food cooked in it.
3. If haemoglobin levels are very low, seek help from an expert to check if iron supplements are needed along with iron-rich foods.
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