Things your doctor doesn’t tell you about iron absorption!

Do you know the best way to help iron be absorbed by your body? 

Do you know there are some food combinations that actually reduce the amount of iron absorbed too? 

I had an appointment with a dietician and I learned so much!

The dietician explained that food combinations could increase or decrease iron absorption. 

That’s exactly what I wanted to find out.

I’ve been eating more iron rich foods.  But I have been making mistakes with my food combinations and drastically reducing the amount of iron my body is absorbing. That’s not good at all!

Here’s what I learned.

Ways to increase iron absorption

Eat Vitamin C rich foods with iron rich foods. 

Vegetables high in Vitamin C are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, potatoes, tomatoes and red and green peppers.

Fruits high in Vitamin C are oranges, strawberries, lemons, cantaloupe, grapefruit, kiwi, honeydew melon, and other berries.

Vitamin C rich foods are typically delicious and easy to include in meals and snacks.  Juices are ok too but are very high in sugar.  It’s always better to eat the whole fruit.

Cook foods in cast-iron cookware.  Some of the iron is absorbed as the food is cooked.

Food combinations that decrease iron absorption

Drinking coffee or tea with meals reduces iron absorption.  I was really surprised by this one.  I drink 2 small cups of coffee at breakfast and like to have tea after dinner.  But that is going to change! 

Taking an iron supplement and a calcium supplement at the same time is not a good combination at all.  These supplements should be taken hours apart.

Taking a psyllium fibre supplement, like Metamucil, with iron rich foods will also decrease the absorption.  This was another combination I was making.  The dietician recommended that the psyllium supplement be taken on it’s own, not with a meal.

I learned so much from my dietician. I have been really trying to include more iron rich foods but I’ve made some food combinations which has resulted in very little of the iron actually being absorbed!

Here’s an example.  My breakfast consisted of 1 egg, 2 pieces of toast, pumpkin seeds and 2 cups of coffee and a psyllium supplement.  Because I didn’t include any Vitamin C food, and I had coffee and a psyllium supplement, very little of the iron was actually absorbed. 

My new lifestyle changes:

  • -Coffee an hour before breakfast.  
  • -Each meal will include a vegetable or fruit with Vitamin C. 
  • -I will take my psyllium supplement in the evening.
  • -I will take my iron supplement in the morning and my calcium supplement before bed.

Today’s little step:  Include Vitamin C rich foods with each meal to help with the iron absorption.

We women need all the energy we can get for our crazy busy lives.  Hopefully you have a few more strategies now to help that iron be absorbed.

Keep taking these little steps to health.  Every little step makes a difference.


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Come walk with me on the path of health and well being. Together we will navigate life. No diet. No program. Just real life struggles and successes! But believe this statement - Every little step makes a difference!

3 thoughts on “Things your doctor doesn’t tell you about iron absorption!

  1. Along with all these tips, I also found taking half plant based iron and half meat based iron pills helped me. (Don’t use grape juice as your vita c. Grape juice has tannins-like tea- which hamper the absorbtion.)

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