The body can utilize two type of iron - heme, which comes from animal sources, and nonheme, which comes from plants. The body absorbs 20 to 30 percent of heme iron, compared with 5 to 10 percent of nonheme. When the body's iron reserves are low, the absorption of nonheme iron increase. Consuming iron-rich plant foods with meat or with good sources of vitamin C boost nonheme iron absorption. By the same token, substances-for example, tea,bran,and the oxalates found in spinach and kale-decrease the body's absorption.
- Organ meats and iron-fortified foods.
- Iron supplements
- Alcohol, if there is liver damage.
- High dozes of vitamin C
Cut down on these iron-rich food sources if you are genetically predisposed to storing extra iron:
- Lean red meat, especially beef
- Iron-enriched cereals
- Dried beans and whole grains
- Eggs, especially yolks
- Dark green leafy vegetables