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Simple tips to enhance your dietary iron absorption

While your diet may seems to be rich in iron, only a small percentage of it is absorbed. Iron from vegetable source (non heme iron), which constitutes the major part of dietary iron, have only 5-8% absorption rate in typical Indian diet, while iron from animal source (heme iron) has up to 25% absorption rate. Below are the few simple tips to enhance the absorption of vegetable iron.

  1. Cooking iron rich vegetables (sowa, broccoli,  etc) with tomato and carrots: Studies have shown that B-carotene in these vegetables enhances non heme iron absorption.

  2. Using lemons on your veggies: Citric acid and ascorbic acid found in it enhances non-heme iron absorption.

  3. Taking a glass of fresh orange juice after your meals. If you are anemic and looking to increase your hemoglobin levels, fresh orange juice without added sugar can help in boosting your dietary iron absorption.

  4. If you are okay with non-veg, cook small portions of it with your iron rich veggies: Studies have shown that taking animal food like meat, fish, and chicken enhances absorption of non heme iron. The substance responsible for this improved absorption is termed as meat factor. It is not affected by heat and is still present in insoluble meat precipitates. 

  5. Consult a Registered Dietitian to plan a personalized iron rich diet for you.

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