Vegetarian Eating for Children and Adolescents

Laurie Dunham, MS, RD, LD; Linda M. Kollar, RN, MSN

Disclosures

J Pediatr Health Care. 2006;20(1):27-34. 

In This Article

Iron

Iron is necessary for optimal oxygen transport in red blood cells. Meat (red meat, in particular) offers the most easily absorbed type of iron, called heme iron; however, the iron that occurs naturally in plant products (non-heme) can be consumed along with a vitamin C source to enhance absorption (Cook & Monsen, 1977). For example, adding a tomato, orange, or strawberries to a meal without meat will improve the absorption of the non-heme iron found in plant sources. Foods like spinach, dried fruits, dried beans, bulgur, fortified soy products, fortified cereals, and enriched grains contain iron. Vegetarians require 1.8 times the amount of iron than do nonvegetarians because of the lower bioavailability of iron from plant-based diets (National Academy of Science, 2003). However, it is of interest to add that iron deficiency anemia has not been shown to occur at higher rates in vegetarians compared with nonvegetarians (Ball & Bartlett, 1999; Larsson & Johansson, 2002; Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: Vegetarian Diets, 2003). Compounds called phytates, along with some additional factors naturally found in legumes, nuts, and whole grains, can inhibit iron absorption, so it is important to consume a variety of iron-rich foods daily (Gillooly et al., 1983; Hallberg, Brune, & Rossander, 1989; Messina & Mangels, 2001).

Comments

3090D553-9492-4563-8681-AD288FA52ACE
Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.

processing....