Introduction and objective:
Iron is an essential mineral, the reserves of which in people on a plant­based diet are lower than in regular meat­consumers. The aim of the study was to summarize knowledge on factors that inhibit and improve iron absorption and on ways how to properly compose and prepare meals in order to maximize the bioavailibility of this micronutrient.

Review methods:
The article is based on a literature review covering the following issues: iron status of vegans and vegetarians, iron bioavailability, factors reducing and improving iron absorption. The study is mainly based on the results of research involving human subjects. The publications used originate from electronic databases – PubMed and Google Scholar.

Brief description of the state of knowledge:
In order to increase the absorption of iron from plant foods, a source of vitamin C should be added to meals, preferably raw vegetables or fruits. Various types of seeds (cereals, nuts, legumes) should be soaked before consumption; one should also consume sprouted seeds and fermented products. It is recommended not to drink with meals, especially tea and coffee, and to eat foods rich in iron and calcium in one meal. It may be helpful to introduce iron­fortified products into the diet and appropriate probiotic therapy.

People on a properly balanced plant diet, covering the recommended daily intake for iron, are not more likely to develop iron deficiency anaemia than people on a mixed diet. However, in order to meet the need for iron, increased in vegans (especially in women), it is necessary not only to choose products rich in this micronutrient, but also to properly compose and prepare meals.

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