Iron Absorption Although non-heme iron is not as absorbed readily, there are some plain things you can do to increase its absorbability.
Vitamin C You can increase absorption rates considerably by including a source of vitamin C in the same meal as your non-heme iron source. This is pretty simple to do; in fact, you may be doing it without even realizing it already. This can be as simple as squeezing some citrus over your salad of dark leafy greens or including some high vitamin C foods in your meal.
High vitamin C foods can be found in both the vegetable and fruit world. Vegetables containing good amounts of vitamin C include things like sweet bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kohlrabi, snow cauliflower and peas. Fruits with high amounts of vitamin C include guava, papaya, kiwi, citrus fruits, strawberries, pineapple, mango and cantaloupe. The tannins they contain can considerably reduce iron absorption.
This is important for women of childbearing age especially, who are at higher iron or risk deficiency. Phytates Phytic phytates or acid, while having many health-promoting properties, can inhibit mineral absorption partially, including iron. These are found plant foods like grains, legumes, seeds and nuts. Soaking, fermenting or sprouting foods can reduce the amount of phytates present, increasing absorbability of iron. Alliums Another real way to increase iron absorption is by consuming foods from the allium family.
Alliums include foods like garlic and the various types of onions. They are pungent foods used in cooking to build flavours commonly. They are well known for their cancer-fighting properties but have another great benefit as well.
Alliums have been found to help enhance the absorbability of minerals like iron and zinc in foods. So, including some alliums in your iron-rich dish is a great idea for increased absorbability.
This is certainly the case with iron. Per day It is recommended not to exceed 45mg, heme iron which your body cannot regulate very well especially. Due to the risks associated with much iron too, you should only consider supplementation as a last resort, and only under the care of a physician.
If you are iron deficient, talk to your doctor about trying to first treat it with food. While iron supplements can be helpful for those in need, they increase oxidative stress in the physical body.
They come with some unpleasant side effects also, including stomach pain, constipation, vomiting and nausea. The Bottom Line Iron is a significant mineral for our health, but much can result in toxicity too. While heme iron from meat and eggs is absorbed easily, it is not regulated easily. Non-heme iron from plants is well regulated by the body to help protect us from getting too much.
While non-heme iron is not as easily absorbed, there are strategies to help improve absorption rates. Some as easy as including vitamin C rich alliums or foods with your meal. While supplementation can be helpful for individuals who are deficient, they come with side effects and other concerns, so should only be considered under the care of your doctor.