MEAT ALTERNATIVES AND NECESSARY CONSIDERATIONS

On choosing to adhere to a vegetarian or vegan diet, one must be careful to include sufficient protein, Iron and Vitamin B12 in the daily food intake.

PROTEINS

Buckwheat, millet, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, sprouted seeds and grains, soybeans, peanuts, almonds, eggs, vegetables – especially green leafies, avocados, potatoes, fresh wheatgerm, brewer’s yeast and Spirulina.

IRON

Pine-nuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, parsley, soybeans, wheatgerm, yeast, apricots, apples, blackberries, dried peaches, raisins, prunes, bananas, walnuts, lentils, egg-yolk, molasses, dried peas, green leafy vegetables ie turnip greens, spinach, beet tops and alfalfa sprouts.

VITAMIN B12

Egg-yolk, Spirulina, bee-pollen, bananas, brewer’s yeast.

IRON BIO-AVAILABILITY – DIETARY FACTORS AND THEIR INTERACTIONS

HAEM IRON – Iron as Haemoglobin found in red meat, poultry and fish.

NON-HAEM IRON – Ferrous or Ferric Iron salts as found in non-animal sources including plant foods and supplements, is absorbed at the rate of 5% or less

1   Calcium – inhibits haem and non-haem iron absorption when intake at a meal exceeds 50 mg, with maximal effect at 300 – 600 mg.

2   Soy protein – inhibits non-haem absorption.

3   Egg – inhibits non-haem absorption by about 27%.

4   Polyphenols – inhibit non-haem absorption [ a cup of tea or coffee inhibits absorption by 60 – 80% even a few hours after a meal ], with ascorbic acid and meat counteracting the inhibitory effect.

5   Phosphate-bound Phytate – inhibits non-haem absorption.

6   Ascorbic acid and non-acidic Vitamin C – an enhancing effect on absorption.

7   Alcohol – enhances absorption of non-haem Iron.   The inhibiting effect of Poly-phenols in red wine will cancel the enhancing effect of alcohol.

8   Red meat, poultry and fish – increase non-haem absorption and to some extent counteract the inhibiting effect of Phytate.

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