In our second of a series of blog posts on vitamins and minerals found in hemp foods, we are focusing on iron. Iron is critical in helping red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. What could be more important than getting oxygen to our bodies?! Not having enough iron leads to anemia, which can cause weakness, difficulty concentrating, and decreased immune function.
To get technical, there are actually two different types of iron:
1) heme iron, which is found in animal based foods
2) nonheme iron, which is found in plant based foods (such as hemp seeds) and is also found in animal based foods
Heme iron is absorbed by the body better than nonheme iron, and consuming foods that contain vitamin C helps with the absorption of both types of iron. Since hemp foods only contain nonheme iron, eating them with foods high in vitamin C or alongside meat or seafood will help ensure that your body can fully utilize the iron. Try adding hemp hearts or oil to a strawberry smoothie, or sprinkle hemp hearts on top of a vegetable stir fry that includes broccoli, sweet peppers, and kale to maximize your iron absorption.
Just three tablespoons of hemp hearts contain 2.38mg of iron, or about 13% of the daily recommended intake for women and 30% for men. To put this in perspective, that is about the same amount of iron as 1/2 cup of tofu, kidney beans, spinach or lentils OR about 7oz of roasted chicken. It can be hard to get enough iron in our diets, especially a meat-free diet, so hemp foods provide one more tasty way to ensure we get enough! Iron is just one of the many vitamins and minerals found in hemp foods, check out all the blogs in this series and our recipes to learn more about making hemp a part of your diet.
National Institutes of Health. (2019, December 10). Iron Fact Sheet for Consumers. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-Consumer/
National Institutes of Health. (2020, February 28). Iron Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/
U.S. Department of Agriculture (2019, April 1) FoodData Central search: Seeds, hemp seeds, hulled. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170148/nutrients