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too much iron during one meal?

8/17 8:51:30


Is there a problem with getting too much iron in one meal? I realized the other day that my breakfasts tend to be pretty high in iron.  I eat a 1/2 cup of grapenuts cereal(which has 90% iron per serving).  I put coconut milk, bananas,dried berries, and nuts in it as well (I'm not sure how much iron is in all that).  I also have 2 glasses of a fruit/veg smoothie which is vitamin c based and has about 8% iron total. I add a hemp protein powder to this which has 9% iron per serving. (I do not take any multivitamins other than B12.)

As you can see I exceed the daily requirement for iron in one sitting.  I also eat other iron rich foods during the day--for example for lunch I will have foods like lentils or chickpeas.  I should add that I am a healthy female (who is still menstruating).  I primarily eat a vegan diet (however I occasionally I do eat vegetarian foods).  I have read that vegan females who are still menstruating should increase their iron to almost double the daily requirement for meat eaters.  I think all in all I do get a fair amount of iron throughout the day--I just would like to know if getting a ton of of it at one meal is bad for our bodies?

Hi Jenny,

First of all, I can't give medical advice here.

Iron is one of those few nutrients that can be very dangerous to overdose on. Overdosing NEVER occurs when you eat whole, unprocessed foods (fruits, vegetables, berries, nuts, etc.).

Overdosing can occur when you eat heavily processed foods that are highly fortified or, much more commonly, when you take a vitamin supplement that contains iron.

Getting a lot of iron in one meal is not going to hurt you - it's getting too much every day for a period of weeks or months that will do damage, and again, this is most often from supplements. Furthermore, the iron fortified cereals do not contain bioavailable iron, they are often filled with iron filings - which is quite disgusting, but in your case, should provide some relief because you're not going to be absorbing that iron from any processed cereals.

Just Google "Iron filings in cereal" to see how the iron is added to processed cereals.

If I were you, I would continue eating your vegan diet and just focus on getting your iron in natural foods like beets, for instance. You really shouldn't have to worry about overdosing unless you're taking a supplement that contains iron or eating lots of processed foods that are fortified.

I hope that helps!

I do personally advocate a vegan diet for health and reducing your risk of disease and give nutrition tips and advice on how to do it for free in my newsletter. You can get access for free at www.AuthenticHealthCoach.com

Wishing you wellness,
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