How to maximize iron absorption in the strict vegetarian diet

Food and minerals you eat can have a significant influence on how iron is absorbed into your body. Watch some key foods will help you absorb as much iron as possible in your diet.

As the absorption of iron works?
Iron is the only nutrient that you eat that is strictly regulated by your body. Healthy adults will only absorb about 10 to 15 percent of your iron intake in the diet. This is because your body does not have an effective way to get rid of the iron. If there is too much iron in the body, it can lead to excessive formation of free radicals and tissue damage.

Most of its iron is found in its red blood cells, and a bit is stored in the liver, spleen, bone marrow and muscle tissue. When your body feels that these areas are low in iron, it will signal your digestive tract to increase the absorption of the nutrient. The additional iron is used to produce more blood cells red and replenish their stocks.

There are two main types of iron:
Heme iron – found in muscle tissue of animals.
Non-heme iron – found in plant foods as well as meat and eggs

The heme iron is naturally absorbed by the body more easily than non-heme iron. But this is not the end of history.

The absorption of non-heme iron can be greatly influenced by other nutrients you eat. Whereas other nutrients have little effect on the absorption of heme iron.

What helps absorption of iron
Iron is absorbed more easily when eaten with foods rich in vitamin C. It includes vitamin C supplements In fact, a 2009 study found that ingestion of a small quantity (63mg) of vitamin C with a meal rich in non-heme iron increased iron absorption by almost three times.

Some foods that are classified as the highest in vitamin C are:

Sweet chili
Guava
Dark green leafy vegetables
Kiwi
Broccoli
Red fruits (especially strawberries)
citrus fruits
Tomato
Pea
Papaya

These foods are especially rich in vitamin C, but most fruits and vegetables will still contain enough to help increase the absorption of iron.

Fermented foods have other organic acids and vitamin C, helping to increase the absorption of iron.

The blocking the absorption of iron
Unfortunately, the list of substances that block the absorption of iron is a little longer. Research shows that iron absorption is less when iron-rich foods are eaten with:

Phytic acid or phytate (found mainly in grains, vegetables and other seeds)
Minerals that compete with iron absorption, including calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper
tannic acid in tea
Certain herbs such as chamomile and peppermint
Coffee
Cocoa
Caffeine (often added to soft drinks and energy drinks)
Fiber

This does not mean that you need to cut all these foods in order to properly absorb iron. But it may be beneficial to pay more attention to what you are eating in combination with iron.

dietary tips for better absorption of iron
Vitamin C will always help iron absorption, regardless of the other foods you eat right now. It can counteract the effect of many of the foods that block absorption.

For example, a study took vitamin C supplements for anemic preschool children who ate purely vegetarian diets, including meals high in phytate. After 60 days, the majority of children had significantly improved health of red blood cells, and were no longer anemic.

Grains, beans and other seeds are naturally high in phytic acid. But the effective preparation can remove these largely acids. Steeping, germinating and cooking, all this removes the phytates and makes them easier to digest food and the most bioavailable iron.

High amounts of minerals seem to block the absorption of iron rather than in lesser amounts. Therefore, it is more important to avoid eating iron-rich foods with products such as multivitamins, mineral supplements or fortified vegan milks that are rich in calcium.

It is best to drink coffee, tea or other caffeinated beverages at least one hour before eating. Research has shown that a cup of coffee reduced iron absorption from a meal at 39 percent, and a cup of tea reduced by 64 percent. The effects were the same when the coffee has been consumed in one hour after the meal. But there was no decrease in absorption when the coffee has been consumed an hour before the meal.

For comparative purposes, know that a serving of meat, even if it has better absorbed heme iron, it contains only 2.62 mg of iron. Already a lot of cooked lentils has 6.59 mg of iron. If you eat a lot of lentils combined with foods rich in vitamin C, you can potentially eat more iron than you consume a lot of meat.

Because food is preferable to iron supplements
Another problem that can affect iron absorption is gut health. Friendly bacteria usually make up most of your gut and keep all harmful bacteria under control.

Iron is important for human health, but many species of harmful bacteria also require iron for growth. If you have too much iron in your system, more iron will naturally be excreted through your digestive tract.

This encourages the overgrowth of harmful bacteria, which can lead to a variety of gastrointestinal problems such as constipation and impaired absorption of nutrients. Large amounts of iron supplements can often make these symptoms worse.

Comparatively, foods have much lower amounts of iron and less likely to upset the balance of your intestinal bacteria. If you take iron supplements, use probiotics or other measures to maintain healthy intestinal flora will also help in the absorption of iron.

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