Foods That Inhibit Iron

Foods That Inhibit Iron

Because it plays an important role in such processes as growth, healing and immune functioning, iron is a mineral that is essential for good health. Although iron can be obtained easily through the consumption of iron-rich foods, there are some foods that actually inhibit the absorption of iron. These foods include eggs, oxalates, polyphenols, phytates and calcium. To ensure maximum absorption of iron, avoid including these foods in otherwise iron-rich meals.
Egg
Eggs contain a substance called phosphoprotein that binds to iron, inhibits iron absorption. According irondisorders. org, one boiled egg eaten with a meal reduces the absorption of iron in the meal with up to 28 percent.
oxalates
Foods like spinach, sweet potatoes, beets, nuts, chocolate, strawberries, wheat and tea contain oxalates, a compound derived from oxalic acid that inhibits the absorption of iron. Although some of these foods, such as spinach, contain large amounts of iron, the oxalate compounds prevent iron absorption.
polyphenols
Polyphenols are compounds which bind to iron to form a complex that the body can absorb. Some of the most consumed polyphenols include coffee and tea. According irondisorders. org, the iron absorption is reduced by up to 90 percent when coffee and tea are included in a meal. Other foods that contain polyphenols include apples, raspberries, blueberries, walnuts and some spices.
phytates
phytates are iron-inhibiting substances found in foods containing soy protein or fiber. These foods can reduce iron absorption by up to 65 percent, according irondisorders. org. Walnuts, almonds, lentils, peas, whole grains and soy products contain phytates.
Calcium
Such as iron, calcium is a mineral that is essential for good health. It is found in dairy products and other foods, including sardines, turnip greens and salmon. Even a small amount of calcium consumed with a meal will not inhibit iron absorption, a larger amount, such as in a glass of milk, can present a problem. Avoid taking calcium supplements with meals if possible.

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