Those on the fence about following a primarily raw, plant-based diet are most commonly concerned about iron deficiencies, but there’s no need to be. In fact, those who refuse to eat meat and instead rely on plant-based foods receive more fiber, magnesium, vitamins and, yes, even iron, according to Nutrition Facts. Plus, those individuals don’t have to worry about the harmful side effects that come with consuming animal products. But what is it that makes plant iron the better option?
Let’s take a closer look at some of the differences between plant and animal iron, and how it may be more beneficial to rely on a plant-based diet:
Plant Iron vs. Animal Iron: What’s the difference?
It’s easy to assume that iron only exists in meats, but there’s plenty more where that came from. Non-heme iron, the kind found in plants, is the first type. Heme iron is the kind found in meats. The main difference between the two is that heme iron is absorbed faster than plant iron. While this may seem like a good thing, it could cause concern, because having too much iron in the blood – also known as hemochromatosis – is associated with heart attacks and can harm the lining of the blood vessels. This is more likely to occur when relying on meats for iron.
The second big difference is that absorption of heme iron is not regulated, while plant iron absorption is. If your body needs more iron, it absorbs more from plants. If