Popeye the Sailor Man – toot, toot! Remember that show when you were a kid? He was always popping open a can of spinach for extra strength so he could go and save Olive Oil from Brutus! Well there really was something to it!
This recipe was born out of a need for meals with higher levels of iron. Since I have been eating less and less meat over the past few years and could almost call myself a vegetarian I have found myself seriously lacking in iron. My doctor wants me to go on meds but I am on a quest to find vegetarian options to increasing my iron so that I can do it without them. Those meds really upset my stomach and I can do without that! I eat lots of whole grains and dark leafy veggies but I guess not enough so I am uping my quantities in those as well and being more intentional about finding higher iron food options!
- Did you know that most of the iron that we consume normally comes from meat, poultry and seafood?
- Dried beans and dark green leafy vegetables are especially good sources of iron, even better on a per calorie basis than meat. For example, you would have to eat more than 1700 calories of sirloin steak to get the same amount of iron as found in 100 calories of spinach. Talk about more bang for your buck!
- Iron is an essential nutrient because it is a central part of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood.
- Iron is found in food in two forms, heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron, which makes up 40 percent of the iron in meat, poultry, and fish, is well absorbed. Non-heme iron, 60 percent of the iron in animal tissue and all the iron in plants (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts) is less well absorbed.
- Vegan diets only contain non-heme iron. Because of this, iron recommendations are higher for vegetarians (including vegans) than for non-vegetarians. The RDA for iron is 14 milligrams per day for vegetarian men and for women after menopause, and 33 milligrams per day for women prior to menopause.
- Adding a vitamin C source to a meal increases non-heme iron absorption up to six-fold. Both calcium and tannins (found in tea and coffee) reduce iron absorption. Tea, coffee, and calcium supplements should be used several hours before a meal that is high in iron.
There is so much info on iron and ways to increase absorbtion that I will be focusing more on this these next few days, hope you find some good nuggets of info for your family’s diet! This chickpea salad is really delicious and although I normally eat them blended up into hummus I am finding lots of new ways of eating beans and grains to up my iron the natural way.
|Chickpea, Lemon and Herb Salad|
- 15 oz. canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1/2 c. sweet onion, diced
- 1 lg. garlic clove, minced
- 1/8 t. kosher salt
- 1/8 t. pepper
- 1t. basil puree or 1 T. basil, fresh, chopped
- 1 T. Italian parsley, chopped
- 2 T. lemon juice, fresh
- 2 T. parmesan cheese, grated (the good stuff!)
- Saute onion and garlic until softened in olive oil over medium heat in a small saute pan – add salt and pepper.
- Combine rinsed and drained chickpeas, basil, Italian parsley, fresh lemon juice, and pressed garlic clove in medium bowl. Add grated Parmesan cheese and toss gently to blend all ingredients thoroughly.
- Cover and refrigerate. Serve salad chilled or at room temperature.
Serve over a fresh spinach salad to increase your iron further.