by Ciara McNulty, Perpetua RIDE Coach
It’s no surprise that food and immunity is on everyone’s minds and lips at the moment. Contrary to popular belief, there is no one food or super nutrient that can immediately cure or prevent us from picking up a bug in this day and age. Something we should all strive for is maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet to keep our bodies functioning as well as possible.
All About Iron
Iron is a micronutrient most females fall short on, with 42% of Irish women having inadequate iron in their diet.
Iron’s main role is in transporting oxygen around the body and creating new DNA. We know there are so many benefits of following a mainly plant-led diet, but due to differences in absorption between animal and plant sources of iron, plant-based sources provide a more difficult route of absorption. Vegans and vegetarians require 1.8 times more daily iron intake compared to meat-eaters. We can increase our absorption by combining iron with vitamin C, another topical micronutrient for its “cold-fighting properties”. Studies have shown health-benefits for those with pre-existing deficiency and a possible role in speeding up recovery times from the common cold in healthy people!
Plant-based iron-rich foods: fortified cereal, beans and lentils, dried fruit (mango, figs), green leafy veg (pak-choi, kale, spinach), wholegrains (rice, pasta), tofu nuts and seeds.
Plant-based vitamin C sources: bell peppers, tomato, citrus fruit, potatoes.
RECIPE: Veggie Iron-Rich Burrito
Black bean, tomato, red pepper, sweetcorn and lime salad with kale, coriander and a wholegrain wrap. For extra protein and calcium, top with yoghurt or cheese.
- 1 tin of black beans
- 1 large tomato
- ½ red pepper
- ½ tin sweetcorn
- 1 cup of raw or steamed kale
- 2 spring onions
- 1 avocado
- salt, pepper, garlic
- 2 wholegrain wraps
- 1 lime
- fresh coriander
- Add the onion, garlic, black beans, red pepper, sweetcorn, and tomato puree to a pan and saute until the sweetcorn looks charred. (This may require some oil and water to prevent from drying and sticking to the pan)
- Whilst this is cooking, make up your guacamole by chopping up and mashing the avocado, tomato, and spring onion. Season with salt, pepper, and the juice of 1 lime. If you like, add in some fresh coriander
- Heat up your wholegrain wrap, smear the guacamole and dollop your warm bean dish
- For extra protein and calcium, top with cheese, yoghurt, or fortified soy yoghurt