Iron absorption enhancers
Haem-iron is the typically absorbed at a higher rate than non-haem iron. To enhance non-haem iron absorption, combine iron-rich plant-based foods with food rich in ascorbic acid (vitamin c). High amounts of vitamin C can be found in some of these sources: citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach.
Iron absorption inhibitors
In contrast, iron absorption. is reduced when consumed in combination with tannins. Tannins can be found in teas, red wine, and coffee.1
Calcium is important for the skeletal system, however, when taken at the same time with iron it may inhibit iron absorption. Zinc is another mineral that inhibits iron absorption when consumed together with iron.2
Recommended Dietary Allowance
The Recommended Dietary Allowance of iron for adult women is 18 milligrams a day and 8 milligrams a day for men.3 Ensure to not overdose with iron, which can cause poisoning.
The two forms of iron that we can get from food include haem iron, which is iron from animal source and non-haem iron, which is iron from plant-based sources.
1.Hurrell, RF., Reddy, M. and Cook, JD. (1999). Inhibition of non-haem iron absorption in man by polyphenolic-containing beverages. British Journal of Nutrition, 81, 289–295.
2.Olivares, M., Pizarro, F., and Ruz, M. (2007). Zinc inhibits nonheme iron bioavailability in human. Biological Trace Element Research, 117(1);7-14.
3.Australia Government – National Health and Medical Research Council (2014). Nutrient reference values for Australia and New Zealand. URL: https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/iron. Access date: 15/3/16.