Healthy Eating -3


Iron, copper, folate, B12

Think of the blood that courses through your veins as a busy river – it is used to transport a lot of different things to various far-off places. Your blood delivers oxygen throughout your body, brings carbon dioxide back to the lungs, delivers nutrients to your cells, and transports waste products to be eliminated from the body. Your body needs iron, copper, folate, and B12 so that it can make healthy red blood cells to do all of these jobs and more.

Red Blood cell

The most common nutrient deficiency in the world is iron deficiency, which causes anemia – and women are more likely than men to become anemic. The most common cause of an iron deficiency is blood loss, not getting enough iron in your diet, or having an intestinal disorder, like coeliac disease, that prevents you from properly absorbing iron. Pregnant women, vegetarians, and women with very heavy periods are at a higher risk for developing anemia, whose symptoms’ can include tiredness, dizziness, shortness of breath, cold hands and feet, and rapid heartbeat. If you feel that you might be


If you are a vegetarian, you should be consuming almost double the recommended daily intake of iron to prevent a deficiency. The best plant sources of iron include pulses, soya beans, tofu, nuts, dried fruits, like apricot; dark green leafy vegetables. Like spinach, spring greens, like kale and turnip greens: and fortified cereals. But veggie lovers have to take extra precautions. The body isn’t that great at absorbing iron from plant sources, but vitamin C, helps with that process. So squeeze some lemon juice on your steamed kale, make a beautiful salad with spinach and strawberries or top your tofu with stewed tomatoes. Always try to pair your iron with a vitamin C-rich food for maximum nutritional benefit.

vitamin B12

Getting enough B12 can also be a struggle for vegetarians because it is found only in animal products. Vitamin B12 is responsible for some very important functions, like maintaining your nerve tissue; if you go without it for too long, you can ultimately damage your nervous system, vegetarians should look for B12-fortified products, like cereals and nutritional yeast, and may want to consider supplementation as well. Your GP can also give you a B12 shot.

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