When it comes to managing anemia, taking iron supplements sometimes isn’t enough. However, new research shows that adding a little vitamin C into the mix can help an iron deficiency tremendously.
Iron deficiency is a problem for people of any age, but it can cause a number of health problems starting in your forties, fifties, or sixties, including chronic tiredness, shortness of breath, dizziness, heart palpitations, inflammation, and damaged hair, skin, and nails. In fact, somewhere between 10 to 17 percent of older women suffer from an iron deficiency.
Treating anemia isn’t as simple as just taking iron supplements though. A huge issue is how much iron is actually absorbed by the bloodstream and into cells to make it effective. Luckily, one study showed an easy trick for upping the amount of iron that circulates through your body: Add fruit juices that contain vitamin C, like orange, grapefruit, and tomato, to your meals. In fact, the research found that having 100 milligrams of vitamin C along with an iron-rich meal could increase its absorption four-fold.
On the flip side, there are also a few drinks that you should sip in moderation if you’re looking to get your iron levels up. Any type of tea contains compounds called tannins, which actively inhibit iron absorption, and coffee has chlorogenic acid, which is also known to stop iron from entering the bloodstream and cells. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up both delicious beverages entirely, but you should keep an eye on how much your drink if you’re worried about getting enough iron. Maybe it’s even time to swap that coffee or tea for OJ at breakfast. It’s still delicious!