Most know that vitamin C and iron are important to have in your body, but some don’t realize it’s more than taking a supplement every day. Just because you include a certain amount of Vitamin C and iron in your diet doesn’t mean that that entire amount of iron is available for your body to use. There are substances in the foods you can eat that will enhance iron absorption in your body, and then there are some that inhibit it.
When you go for a check up, or have blood work done, you are likely to find out if you are getting enough iron into your diet. Eating the right foods and taking a iron supplement can help you from becoming anemic. Make sure you do not eat or drink anything within an hour of taking your iron supplement. You need time to allow it to absorb before eating the foods that might prohibit it from absorbing well.
So, where is iron found in foods?
Iron is found in red meat, fish, poultry, dried fruits, leafy green vegetables, seeds, nuts and grains. When you eat a food source rich in vitamin C with a meal, you can enhance the absorption of the iron present in the meal by as much as 20 times. Also, studies show that using cast iron cookware such as skillets, pots, and pans, can also increase the amount of iron you absorb, especially when you use them to cook acidic foods, such as tomatoes or tomato sauce.
Limit or avoid foods that are high in polyphenols which will block and prevent iron absorption. You need to stay away from these foods while anemic. These include bran, soy protein with plant sources of iron, coffee, and any form of sodas. Also if you are anemic avoid tea as it contains tannins that prevent you from absorbing the iron.
We suggest you try Spatone – a natural occuring iron found in water. You can add it in some juice in the and those who try it say it’s works great. It does have a slight metallic taste, but nothing bad. It has zero side effects because it absorbs right away into your body. Takes approx. 20 minutes on empty stomach to absorb.
Meats: Eat a fair share of red meats as the iron in these proteins is absorbed better than a vegetable iron, however, if your not averted to red meat eat a portion or two a week, and you can mask it in a lot of healthy foods like in spaghetti made with quinoa or zucchini. Tomato-based sauces, generous amounts of parsley, and sweet or hot chili peppers also helps to increase iron absorption and make an awesome pasta dinner.
Fruits: Citrus fruits are good to eat and high in Vitamin C so start your day with a warm cup of lemon water, then move on to a nice big glass of juice made from fresh grapefruit, tomatoes, grapes or oranges. For breakfast or a snack add fresh fruit grapefruit, or other fruits high in vitamin C which include guava, mangoes, papayas, pineapple, strawberries, kiwifruit, and tangerines. Don’t over look raisins and prunes as they also pack a good source of vitamin C.
Vegetables: Best choices are dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, collard greens, kale, Brussels sprouts) as they are packed with vitamin C. Others on the the list – sweet potatoes, peppers, cabbage, corn, cauliflower and peas. Sweet red peppers have greater vitamin C content than green ones. Try a mixed vegetable and lettuce salad with your meal to help increase iron absorption.
Nuts: Many nuts and seeds are good for but the European-variety chestnuts have highest vitamin C content.