In the human body, nutrients interact with each other in different ways. Some of these interactions are advantageous, while others are prohibitive, which is why it’s important to know which foods are nutritionally beneficial to eat together.
For example, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron at a better rate, while vitamin C also plays an important role in synthesizing red blood cells.
This article will explore the relationship between iron and vitamin C and how these two nutrients are crucial to one another. We’ll also highlight the general importance of vitamin C in the diet and what has vitamin C to help individuals include more of it in daily meals.
Absorption of Iron and Vitamin C
The strongest connection between iron and vitamin C lies in the fact that the body absorbs iron much more effectively when vitamin C is present as well. In addition to the absorption factor, vitamin C also helps to synthesize red blood cells. This is another connection between iron and vitamin C because iron is the main part of hemoglobin, which is found in the red blood cells.
Vitamin C is also essential to maintain healthy blood vessels in the body. The amount of iron that is absorbed increases in individuals who are iron-deficient, which is why it’s so important for people with iron deficiency to consume adequate levels of vitamin C as well as iron.
How to Take Iron with Vitamin C
To increase one’s absorption of iron-rich foods and iron supplements like Fergon, it is recommended to consume vitamin C at the same time as iron. This is especially true when consuming nonheme iron derived from plant-based sources. When these two nutrients are ingested together, the nonheme iron and vitamin C combine to became more easily absorbed and useful in the body.
It is a good idea to pair iron-rich foods with vitamin C-rich foods in the same meal to achieve this result. Aim to get at least 25 milligrams of vitamin C in meals that contain plant-based iron sources to aid absorption. Sample pairings include lemon with spinach, strawberries with tahini, sweet potatoes with lentils, and oatmeal with blueberries.
What Has Vitamin C?
There are many different nutritious foods that contain vitamin C, which makes it easy to get this nutrient along with your daily dose of iron. Fruits, vegetables, juices, vitamin C supplements, and multivitamins all contain this important nutrient to boost the immune system and aid iron absorption. Smoothies are a great way to get more vitamin C in the diet without having to eat as many filling, whole foods throughout the day.
Fruits with High Vitamin C
Oranges are the most well-known vitamin C food, but there are many other fruits with high vitamin C as well. These fruits include strawberries, kiwi, papaya, pineapple, and mangoes also have a very high vitamin C content.
In addition to these fruits with high vitamin C, there are also many vitamin C-rich vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, and cabbage. Brussels sprouts, kale, and bell peppers are other vegetables that are high in vitamin C and pair well with plant-based sources of iron for meals.