thy levels of iron in your body are dependent on what you eat and how well you absorb it. Earlier this week we looked at plant-based sources of iron that most diets can accommodate. Now let’s look at tips to maximize the absorption of iron:
• Add in Red Meat, Chicken, and Fish
It’s been found that consuming sources of heme iron from animal sources also boosts absorption of non-heme iron from plant sources when eaten at the same meal. So if your diet allows it, red meat or chicken or fish are all good sources of heme iron that are easily absorbed and boost absorption overall.
• Add Vitamin C
Combining vitamin C with foods rich in non-heme iron can increase absorption by up to five times. Some iron-rich foods like broccoli and tomato paste already have vitamin C or you can go with combos such as beans and rice with salsa or falafel with tomatoes and hummus with lemon juice.
• Add Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene
Including vitamin A and beta-carotene rich foods can also increase iron absorption, among many other benefits. Think carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, squash, apricots, and peaches.
• Space Out Coffee, Tea, and Dairy
Coffee and tea contain tannins and polyphenols that inhibit iron absorption so it’s recommended to keep a couple of hours between them and a meal for maximum iron absorption. Also, calcium-rich foods can cut iron absorption by 50% so try and space out your calcium and iron intake.