Since Eid is around the corner so, most of us will be planning our Eid feast menu prior to save last-minute time and enjoy meat dishes later. Meaty Eid can be an advantage for you being the best time to make your iron levels up to mark.
But, how and why? Iron is an important component of hemoglobin that facilitates oxygen transportation, accounts for energy production and maintenance of cellular activities. See, what a vital mineral it is for our body needs!! The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for an adult is 8mg – 11mg of iron but it varies for children, pregnant women, and specialized individuals. Iron absorption can be enhanced as well as reduced. Yes, you read that right.
Below, I’ll be sharing up some tips to increase your iron absorption from the diet.
- Our body absorbs up to 35-40% of heme iron (iron present in animal-based foods) and 4-10% of non-heme (iron present in plants) from food sources therefore, to enhance it, the use of Vitamin C following Vitamin A increases the iron absorption to a greater extent. Ø Vitamin C is found in Bell peppers, lemons, tomatoes, cauliflower, potatoes, mango, berries, and oranges. Ø Vitamin A is found in Liver, fish, egg yolk, carrots, peaches, tomato, spinach, and lettuce.
- Try to incorporate both heme iron (meat, chicken, liver) and nonheme iron (fortified cereals, whole grains, egg, green vegetables, and nuts) in your regular diet. In this way, your non-heme iron absorption will be enhanced.
- Eliminate the use of tea, coffee, and phytate rich foods between or after eating iron-rich meals as phytate and tea or coffee reduces your iron absorption.
- Minimize the use of calcium-rich foods with iron-rich foods as calcium hinders iron absorption. You may eat calcium-rich foods later to maximize your iron absorption.
- Similarly, don’t take your calcium supplements along with iron supplements as it can also hinder iron absorption. Choose separate timings for both supplements to optimize absorption
- The use of cast iron pots while cooking food leads to the passage of iron from pot to food to a greater extent. Hence, maximizing your iron levels.
- Remember to eat in moderation to make your iron levels up to mark only and not rushing your iron levels to a stage of toxicity. This implies for meat and Vitamin A/C as well. Consulting an RDN will always be a good step to ensure safety recommendation and calculations.
DANIYA AMJAD KHAN BS NUTRITION & DIETETICS, DUHS