Spotlight on... high-iron
Are you getting enough iron? Jo Lewin explains when you should eat a high-iron diet and which foods may help ensure you get your daily dose.
Friends and foes
It must be pointed out that there are two forms of iron. Haem iron is found in animal products and is the most efficiently absorbed form of iron. Non-haem iron is found in plant foods and the body finds it more difficult to absorb by comparison. Vitamin C is a strong promoter of iron absorption, and when vitamin C rich foods are combined with foods rich in iron, absorption of the iron is substantially increased. Watch the amount of tea you consume as a substance called tannins found in tea is thought to inhibit the absorption of iron. Be aware that decaffeinated teas contain just as much tannin as normal tea. Foods high in phytates and oxylates, such as spinach, nuts, chocolate, parsley and rhubarb may also have a negative impact on iron absorption so just make sure you try to eat a varied, balanced diet.
Recipe suggestions for iron-rich meals
Go crazy for lentils, beans and peas with these tasty light lunches:
Puy lentil salad with soy beans, sugar snap peas & broccoli
Lemony rice & peas
Molasses is surprisingly high in iron. Try it when baking:
Jo Lewin holds a degree in nutritional therapy and works as a community health nutritionist and private consultant. She is an accredited member of BANT, covered by the association's code of ethics and practice.