When we want to have a healthy and energetic life, we pay attention to different types of nutrients that our bodies need to work their best.
Vitamins and minerals are important for our health, but there’s a special mineral that we often overlook, it’s called Iron.
Iron does two things in our bodies: carrying oxygen all around and keeping our energy levels up.
But here’s the thing: getting more iron isn’t as easy as just eating foods that contain it.
The real challenge is making sure our bodies can absorb as much iron as possible.
If you’ve ever wondered why you might still feel low on iron even if you eat foods with lots of it, don’t worry! we’re here to help you understand why and figure out how to absorb iron better.
In this article, we’ll share 10 tips to help your body absorb more iron.
These tips will make sure you get all the benefits of this nutrient in your blood.
Whether you’re a vegetarian or just want more non-heme iron, these 10 tips will help you increase your iron intake and improve your health.
Tips To Increase Iron Absorption
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Here are the 10 powerful tips that can help boost iron absorption in your blood, ensuring that you get the full benefits of this vital nutrient.
1. Pair iron-rich foods with vitamin C
Vitamin C improves the absorption of non-heme iron from foods.
Include foods rich in vitamin C, such as strawberries and oranges in into your meals to boost iron absorption.
Consider having a glass of orange juice with your iron-rich breakfast cereal or adding lemon juice to your iron-rich vegetable stir-fry.
2. Eat iron-rich foods separately from calcium-rich foods
To help your body absorb more iron, it’s best to avoid eating calcium-rich foods like dairy products, fortified plant-based milks, and calcium supplements at the same time as iron-rich meals.
Instead, have them separately, ideally a few hours apart. This will maximize your iron absorption.
3. Soak and sprout grains, legumes, and seeds
Phytic acid is found in grains, seeds, and legumes. When we eat foods containing phytic acid, it can attach itself to iron and stop our bodies from absorbing it effectively.
If you soak and sprout these foods before eating them, it can help reduce the amount of phytic acid they contain. This makes iron in the foods easier for our bodies to absorb and use.
Incorporate soaked and sprouted grains, legumes, and seeds into your diet whenever possible.
4. Include heme iron sources
Heme iron is found in animal-based foods and is more readily absorbed than non-heme iron.
Include heme iron sources such as lean meats, poultry, fish, and organ meats in your diet if you are not a vegetarian or vegan.
Combining heme iron with non-heme iron sources helps your body absorb iron better.
So, try to have foods like meat, fish, and poultry along with plant-based iron sources in your meals to get the most out of the iron you consume.
5. Avoid consuming tea and coffee with iron-rich meals
The tannins found in tea and coffee makes it harder for your body to absorb iron. If you want to improve iron absorption, avoid drinking tea or coffee during or right after meals that contain iron-rich foods.
If you can’t give up your cup of tea, consider having them at least an hour before or after your meals.
6. Include fermented foods
Incorporating fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi in your diet promotes a healthy gut microbiome.
A healthy gut microbiome helps your body absorb iron better by making certain compounds that improves iron absorption.
7. Limit consumption of phytates and oxalates
Some foods like spinach, beet greens, and rhubarb, contains phytates and oxalates.
These substances interferes with iron absorption. So, it’s good to be aware that these foods might not allow your body to absorb iron as effectively.
These foods have their own good qualities and provides us with nutrients. However, it’s important to be cautious and not eat too much of them, especially if you have iron deficiency.
8. Avoid consuming iron supplements with calcium-rich foods
Just like the calcium we get from food, calcium supplements also interferes with the way our body absorbs iron.
If you take iron supplements, avoid consuming them with calcium-rich foods.
Opt for taking iron supplements with a glass of orange juice or another vitamin C-rich beverage instead.
9. Blood Test
If you suspect iron deficiency, check your iron status through blood tests and get some advice on how to improve your iron absorption.
10. Timing Matters
Choosing the right time to take iron can help your body absorb it better.
Eating iron-rich foods or taking iron supplements between meals usually works better than having them with a meal.
This is because dietary components, such as fiber and phytate, competes with iron for absorption.
If you feel uncomfortable in your stomach when taking iron, having it with a meal can help lessen any possible side effects.
To keep your iron levels in a good range and avoid iron deficiency, make sure your body absorbs iron well into your bloodstream.
By using these 10 tips, you can help your body absorb more iron from the food you eat and keep your iron levels in a healthy range.
Be mindful of your tea, coffee, phytate, and oxalate consumption, incorporate fermented foods, and seek professional guidance when necessary.