In our previous newsletter, we did cover up on how common and widespread is iron deficiency anaemia especially among women & children and the ways to treat iron deficiency.
However, eating iron rich foods is not just sufficient to increase iron levels in the blood. The absorption rate is more important than the intake. Absorption rate depends upon from which food source the iron is coming from. You find two types of iron in food- Heme iron and non heme iron.
Heme iron is found in animal foods which contains Haemoglobin. It is considered as best form of iron as 40% of it is readily absorbed by the body. Food sources include-
-Organ meat like liver
-Fishes like Salmon, Tuna, Haddock
-Shellfishes like Oysters, Clams and Mussels
Non heme iron is found in plant foods. Food sources include-
-Dark green leafy vegetables like kale, Amaranth, spinach
-Fortified cereals and grains
-Lentils, sattu and soyabean
- Dried fruits like raisins and apricot
Non heme iron is absorbed less efficiently than the Heme iron. Researches have shown that Vitamin C help’s in increasing the non heme iron absorption from plant sources.
So always pair Vitamin C with your foods for maximum absorption of non heme iron.
How can you do that???
-Include Vitamin C rich foods in your meals like citrus fruits, tomatoes, lemons, strawberries, green, red and yellow bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi.
-Breakfast is the best way to start with. Drink a glass of freshly homemade orange juice along with your iron fortified cereal or pohe/upma or add pieces of strawberries to your oats porridge.
- Squeeze in lemon juice to your protein rich dals, green leafy vegetables or our very own sattu Foodrik Choco Nutri Bar. .
- Avoid intake of caffeine like tea, coffee or any soft drinks along with meals. Caffeine interferes with the absorption of iron. You can consume them in between your meals.
-Calcium also affects iron absorption; whether it is coming from food or as a supplement. Do not consume any calcium rich foods in your meals when you are focusing on getting more dietary iron. In case of supplements, take the calcium and iron supplements at different times of the day.