5 Meal Hacks to Boost Iron
If you are feeling a little run down and lack luster, you could be running low on iron. Women especially are more likely to suffer from a low iron intake. Which can have negative health and well being effects.
I thought I'd share some simple nutrition hacks to help you make the most of the iron rich foods you are eating! If you are vegan or vegetarian make sure you have a read of my post about 4 plant foods high in iron!
1. Avoid alcohol, tea and coffee with meals
You may have heard of tannins? It’s what gives tea, coffee and red wine that rich flavour. Unfortunately it also binds to vitamins and minerals like iron, preventing your body from absorbing as much as it can.
So, before drinking that glass of wine wait about 25-30 minutes or so before and after meals. Alternatively choose a herbal tea instead.
2. incorporate Vitamin C rich foods
Where tannins can be a bit clingy, Vitamin C is irons best friend. It helps to boost your absorption of iron.
Vitamin C rich foods include: citrus fruits, leafy greens, cauliflower, tomatoes and broccoli amongst others. Add these to soups and stews or simply use a tomato based pasta sauce !
3. Eat fermented foods
Fermented foods are great for your gut, being full of gut friendly bacteria - however they also help increase availability of iron.
Add sauerkraut, kimchi, miso and kefir to your meals and add a side of pickled vegetables like cucumbers, artichokes, olives and radishes!
RECIPE! Try my morning miso!
4. Eat balanced meals
Phytates, or phytic acid, are found in wholemeal and wholegrains such as brown rice, nuts and seeds, legumes and pulses. They have been shown to bind to minerals like iron and slow the absorption, which could reduce your iron intake. However they still have health benefits so you shouldn't cut them out.
If you eat balanced meals, with a wide variety of foods then you should be fine - you can find a guide to correct portions sizes here
5. Try cooking with cast iron
It may sound a little odd but cast iron cook wear leeches iron into our food and this is a GOOD thing for those who have low iron. It might only be a little bit of extra iron but every little bit counts! Someone has even developed an iron fish, originally for people in need to add to their cooking pots
Cook with cast iron or look into getting a lucky iron fish!
See a health professional
It's a good idea to head to your doctor for a regular blood test to see what your levels are. If you are low, make sure to eat plenty of iron rich foods such as red meats, poultry and these plant based iron sources.