Iron is an essential nutrient. Without necessary iron, your body can't make enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells. It helps red blood cells deliver oxygen to the cells and organs of the body. If you think you are getting sufficient iron because you are consuming iron-rich foods, you might not be right.
The foods that are loaded with iron need to be absorbed. For example, soybeans have roughly twice the iron of beef (by weight) but only about 7 percent of the iron in soybeans is absorbed.
It is important for you to understand how iron is absorbed. Like most nutrients, the majority of the iron is absorbed in the duodenum by enterocytes of the duodenal lining.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps increase non-heme iron absorption when consumed along with iron. When you consume iron foods, you must combine it with tomatoes, citrus fruits and juices, dark green leafy vegetables or potatoes which are excellent sources of vitamin C. The combination reduces the iron to a form more readily-absorbed by the body.
Black beans + red bell pepper: Black beans are rich in iron but it is non-heme iron which doesn’t readily get absorbed. Combine black beans with red bell pepper to help absorb iron.
Whole grains + onions + garlic: Iron and zinc in whole grains takes time to metabolize. It is advised to combine whole grains with onions and garlic so that your body can absorb them.
Tomatoes + olive oil: You may be aware of the fact that olive oil is a heart-healthy fat which boosts "good" HDL cholesterol and lowers "bad" LDL cholesterol that can clog your arteries. Pairing olive oil with tomatoes can many health benefits, including better iron absorption.
Broccoli + tomatoes: The combination of broccoli and tomatoes not only helps absorb iron better but also fights free radicals and keep away many diseases.
Body doesn’t use iron the moment it gets absorbed but stores it for future use. Those who have sufficient supplies of iron can keep away many health conditions and illness related to iron deficiency. Health problems and common difficulties associated with iron deficiency are delayed cognitive function, poor exercise performance and lowered immune function. In children, iron deficiency (anaemia) can cause cognitive abnormalities resulting in future learning difficulties.
Read more articles on Anaemia.