Come on, see 7 ways to increase iron absorption to prevent anemia

Come on, see 7 ways to increase iron absorption to prevent anemia – Iron is one of the important minerals needed by the body. Iron is needed for energy production, development, change, and hormone synthesis. Iron is also related to immunity.

Iron deficiency can cause anemia. This occurs because the body cannot carry oxygen to all parts of the body. When absorbed by the body, iron acts as a protein building block for hemoglobin which helps move oxygen throughout the body.

When iron absorption is disturbed, iron deficiency anemia can develop. In addition to consuming enough foods that contain iron, it is also important to increase absorption. Although not all iron is absorbed evenly, some foods can increase the body's ability to absorb it.

Besides that, reducing the number of foods that can block the absorption of iron, can also help. The following steps increase the absorption of iron.

In food, iron is present in two forms: heme and non-heme. Heme iron is found in animal foods that contain hemoglobin, such as meat, fish and poultry. Heme iron is the best form of iron, because up to 40% of it is easily absorbed by the body.

Non-heme iron comes primarily from plant sources and is found in whole grains, vegetables and fortified foods. It is estimated that 85–90% of total iron intake comes from the non-heme form, while 10–15% comes from the heme form. Non-heme sources of iron include spinach and kale, dried fruit and nuts.

  • Consume foods rich in vitamin C

Vitamin C has been shown to increase iron absorption. It captures non-heme iron and stores it in a form that is more easily absorbed by the body. Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, cantaloupe and strawberries.

In one study, taking 100 mg of vitamin C with food increased iron absorption by up to 67%. Consuming foods and drinks rich in vitamin C while eating foods high in iron can increase the body's absorption.

Vitamin C is suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets in terms of iron absorption. This is because the absorption of non-heme iron can be optimized by including vegetables containing vitamin C during the meal.

  • Consume foods rich in vitamin A and Beta-carotene

Vitamin A plays an important role in maintaining healthy vision, bone growth and the immune system. Beta-carotene is a compound that can be converted into vitamin A in the body. Good food sources of beta-carotene and vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, pumpkin, red peppers, cantaloupe and oranges.

One study in 100 people fed a cereal-based diet found that vitamin A increased iron absorption by up to 200% for rice, 80% for wheat, and 140% for corn. In the same study, adding beta-carotene to food increased absorption of more than 300% for rice and 180% for wheat and corn.

  • Consumption of meat, fish and poultry

Meat, fish, and poultry not only provide well-absorbed heme iron, but can also stimulate absorption of the non-heme form. Several studies have reported that adding beef, chicken or fish to a cereal-based meal results in about 2-3 times greater absorption of non-heme iron.

Research also shows that adding 75 grams of meat to a meal increases the absorption of non-heme iron by about 2.5 times. Based on research findings, it is estimated that 1 gram of meat, fish or poultry provides a boosting effect similar to 1 mg of vitamin C.

  • Avoid foods containing phytate

Phytate or phytic acid is found in foods such as whole grains, cereals, soybeans, nuts and legumes. Even small amounts of phytate can significantly reduce iron absorption.

In one study, as little as 2 mg of phytate in food inhibited iron absorption by 18% when added to whole-grain bread. And when 250 mg of phytate is eaten, almost 82% of iron is not absorbed. However, the negative effects of phytate can be overcome by eating foods that increase the absorption of non-heme iron, such as vitamin C or meat.

  • Reduce calcium foods

Calcium is an important mineral for bone health. However, some evidence suggests that calcium inhibits iron absorption. Studies have shown that 165 mg of calcium from milk, cheese or supplements reduces iron absorption by about 50-60%.

However, most studies are short-term and conducted in one meal. A comprehensive review of long-term studies found that calcium and dairy products did not have an adverse effect on absorption.

To maximize absorption, calcium-rich foods should not be eaten with iron-rich foods. Calcium and iron supplements should be taken at different times of day, if possible.

  • Reduce foods containing polyphenols

Polyphenols are found in plant foods and drinks, including vegetables, fruits, cereals and nuts, tea, coffee and wine. Coffee and tea, both of which are mostly consumed with meals, have high polyphenol content. It has been shown to inhibit the absorption of non-heme iron.

In one review, drinking a cup of black tea with a meal containing it reduced iron absorption by 60-70%. However, when the participants drank tea between meals, the reduction in absorption was only about 20%.

To combat the negative effects of polyphenols, be sure to leave a few hours between eating iron-rich foods and tea or coffee.

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