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8 Key Nutrients Vegetarians Need (Page 4)

Iron

Iron

The body needs iron to make hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood. If you're mostly meatless but occasionally eat meat and poultry, red meat and dark meat in chicken are some of the best sources of easily absorbed iron. Iron is also found in some plant foods. Ir­­on from plant sources—dried fruits, legumes, seeds, vegetables and whole grains—is less readily absorbed, especially when we eat these foods with tea, coffee or cocoa (they have compounds that bind the mineral). Thus, recommended iron intake for vegetarians is 1.8 times that of nonvegetarians. Consuming vitamin C with iron-rich foods markedly helps its absorption.

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