As I mentioned in Part 1, iron is very difficult to absorb in the body. One of the reasons why it is so difficult to absorb iron is because of many inhibitors that are consumed simultaneously. The idea is not to completely eliminate these inhibitors from your diet (because they also have many health benefits), but to be mindful and try to avoid when consuming iron rich foods.
Here are some iron inhibitors:
Polyphenols (such as tannins or derivatives of gallic acid) – are found in coffee, black tea and red wine (as well as grape juice). Polyphenols are very powerful antioxidants that help fight premature aging and help prevent certain cancers (among many other benefits). However, they also hamper the absorption of iron.
Oxalic acid – found in raw spinach (cooking spinach will help eliminate the oxalic acid - note that spinach is an excellent source of iron), chard, berries, CHOCOLATE, and teas.
Phytates – found in maize, whole grains and legumes (such as beans).
Phosvitin – a protein found in egg yolks.
Other nutrients such as calcium, zinc, manganese, and nickel.
Stay tuned for more on iron and other nutrients!
Best of health,
© Kate Ezra Wolf, 2012