We need some iron in our diet every day, but it can be a challenging mineral to absorb from plant-based sources.
At the same time, too much iron, especially in men, can damage and age tissues prematurely – which is a caution to those who promote a Paleo diet believing the greater absorption of “heme-iron” from flesh is a good thing: It’s not! (Read "My Problem with the Paleo Diet" here at DoctorKlaper.com.)
Since we need to absorb some iron from plant-based foods, it is important to know that vitamin C in food can increase iron absorption substantially! And, so can chewing your food to a puree!
So, when you’re ready to enjoy your next generous helping of kale or broccoli, squeeze some lemon juice over it. And, when you make a spinach salad, add (mandarin) orange slices to your mix.
This "citrus and greens" combination will you maintain good iron balance – deliciously!
Here are links to two studies listed in the US National Library of Medicine that support this contention (note: external links open in a new tab or window):
– "The role of vitamin C in iron absorption," by Hallberg, Brune, and Rossander, published in the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research (1989;30:103-8).
– "Interaction of vitamin C and iron," by Lynch and Cook, published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (1980;355:32-44).
For more about the value of combining citrus and greens, as well as the importance of chewing well, watch a recording of my webinar, "Thriving on a Plant-based Diet." The video runs 1 hour 47 minutes and one viewer described it as "fabulously rich with information."