Iron Absorption From Foods: Which Foods Do You Choose?

By Wiki Healthier Staff

Vitamin C has proven to be effective in better assimilating iron. One study showed that taking 100 mg of vitamin C during meals increases the absorption of iron in food by 67%.

Iron is a fundamental mineral for a healthy and active organism. But did you know that only a small amount of iron is assimilated in food? Well, there is food and they favor the absorption of iron and inhibit it. If you are deficient in iron and want to find out how to increase absorption, this article is for you.

What is iron and how much do you need to take?

Iron is a mineral that is involved in the formation of hemoglobin, muscle and bone proteins, and the transport of oxygen to tissues. Lack of iron can cause sideropenic anemia, the symptoms of which are fatigue, palpitations, lack of concentration and paleness.

Anemia can also cause chapped lips, headache, nausea, and weakness and hair nails. The amount of iron to consume depends on the sexual and physiological stage, where the person is.

  • In general, women of childbearing age should consume around 18 mg of iron per day, as well as pregnant women or mothers while breastfeeding. This is what is reportedly published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
  • For women older than 50 and adult men, the recommended doses drop to 10 mg of iron per day.

Types of iron in food: IME EME and NO EMENSE

Minerals are found naturally in untreated foods. Iron from the EME group is more easily assimilated through foods of animal origin, such as meat and fish, with an absorption rate ranging from 15 to 25%.

The rate of non-emema iron, which comes from food plants, such as greens, seeds and nuts, varies around 4-8%. The only non-emphasized iron food that has a 50% absorption rate is breast milk.

How to increase the absorption of food

A correct absorption of iron depends mainly on the diet. Some foods improve the body’s ability to absorb this mineral. Among them we find:

1. Foods rich in vitamin C

Vitamin C is ideal for anemia. When combined with the consumption of non-EMA iron-rich foods, it favors a considerable increase in the degree of absorption of this mineral, as a study published in food and functions.

This is due to the action of citric acid that reduces iron from its ferrous ferrous form, much easier to assimilate. Improve iron absorption, therefore vitamin C becomes helpful in avoiding sideropenic anemia.

An additional study confirmed this theory: assuming 100 mg of vitamin C in a meal, iron absorption increases to 67%. Here is a list of foods rich in this vitamin:

  • citric fruits.
  • Green vegetables vegetables.
  • peppers.
  • melons.
  • strawberries.

2. Foods with vitamin A and beta-carotene

Vitamin A protects eyesight, helps bones grow, and strengthens the immune system. On the other hand, beta-arotene is a pigment that the body is capable of converting into vitamin A and located in some plants and fruits. Some sources of beta-charotene are:


  • american dad.
  • spinach and cabbage.
  • pumpkin.
  • Red peppers.
  • melon.
  • apricots, oranges and peaches.
  • A study involving 100 people on a cereal-based diet revealed that the presence of vitamin A increases iron absorption up to 2022 if you eat rice, 80% if you eat wheat, and 140% with corn. The addition of beta-carotene favored more than 300% increase with rice and 180% with wheat and corn.

    3. Meat, fish and chicken

    Meat, fish, and poultry not only contain iron, but can stimulate iron absorption, not EMEM. Scientific studies indicate that the consomer meat, poultry or fish in a cereal meal increases non-EMA iron absorption 2-3 times.

    Science estimates that 1 gram of meat, fish and birds have a multiplier effect similar to that of 1 mg of vitamin C.

    4. Group B vitamins for better iron absorption

    Group B Vitamins are a good solution to allow the body to assimilate. One of your good ally is folic acid, particularly recommended for pregnant women.

    Both substances are found in whole grains and in many varieties of fruits and vegetables. They are nutrients that should not disappear in our diet, not only because they help to assimilate iron, but also because they contribute to the ideal maintenance of tissues.

    Better diet planning for better iron absorption

    For correct iron absorption, it is necessary to combine this mineral with foods that reinforce its effects through a balanced and varied diet. To avoid iron deficiency, it is essential to avoid food restrictions and plan a high vegetable diet.

    It may interest you… Read about life plus iron deficiency health regulations

    Although the most important symptom is anemia, a shortage of iron has other consequences that are always good to know.


    • Zhang C., Rawal S., Dietary iron intake, iron status, and gestational diabetes. I am j clin nat, 2022.
    • H., Qiao Y., Zhang Z., Wu Z., et al., Dual action of vitamin C in therapeutic iron supplementation for iron deficiency anemia: prevention of iron overload-induced liver damage. iron. Food Feature, 2022. 9(10): 5390-5401.
    • MICHELAZZO FB., Oliveira JM., Stefanello JM., Luzia La., et al., The influence of vitamin supplementation on iron status. Nutrients, 2022. 5(11): 4399-4413.