Iron is important for your health. It is required in energy production and oxygen transport throughout your body, and is essential for maintaining healthy hair, skin and nails. If you are experiencing the following symptoms; lethargy, headaches, poor immunity or pale complexion, you could be lacking in iron! Here we will provide you with 5 tips to increase your iron intake.
1. Go for foods rich in heme iron
Your body can absorb about 40% of heme iron. Heme iron is found in animal sources and is better absorbed by your body as compared to non-heme iron (found in plants). Good sources of heme iron include lean red meats, chicken and fish.
2. Consume foods high in vitamin C to improve your absorption of non-heme iron
Studies have shown that eating high-iron foods along with vitamin C-rich foods can enhance your iron absorption. Good vitamin C sources include citrus fruits and juices, broccoli, melons and strawberries. You can drizzle some lemon juice over dark green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach to elevate the amount of non-heme iron absorbed.
3. Stay away from coffee and tea close to mealtimes
Both coffee and tea can hinder your absorption of non-heme iron due to their rich polyphenol content. As such, it is important that you only drink these beverages a couple of hours before or after your meal.
4. Avoid eating high calcium foods with iron-rich meals. Take calcium and iron supplements separately.
Based on research, calcium intake from cheese, milk or supplement can lower iron absorption by up to 60%. This is so as iron and calcium compete with each other, resulting in decreased absorption.
5. Take natural, non-constipating iron supplements
Check out AFC Heme Iron; the most comprehensive iron supplement for superior absorption. This supplement contains a high concentration of Heme Iron, Vitamin C and Vitamin Bs, fortified with Prune Extract. Unlike other iron supplements, AFC Heme Iron does not result in constipation. Its natural prune extract helps regulate bowel movements. It is also gentle on the stomach, and is highly recommended for women, athletes, and elderly.