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The perfect pair : iron + vitamin C
December 4th, 2020 + The Naturopathic Co.

Iron is an essential mineral your body needs to function properly, but did you know that by pairing vitamin C rich foods with iron-rich foods, you can increase your level of iron absorption.

This is important for women to remember, because iron deficiencies are common for women (particularly vegetarians/vegans, and those with heavy periods). Often we need to address deficiencies through supplementation, however if we can try and remember to intake foods high in iron with vitamin C then it’s a really good preventative measure.

Why is iron beneficial?

Iron is not only crucial for moving oxygen around the body, it it also plays a role in your metabolism. Iron is needed for immune resistance, and skin, hair, nail strength.  You will feel really fatigued if your iron is low. Your naturopath can check your nails and eyes to get a fairly good indication of whether you are iron deficient.

You can get heme iron from animals sources (meat, fish, poultry), and it is more readily absorbed by the body. You can also get iron from non-heme sources (plant sources; grains, vegetables) but is it less bioavailable to the body.

Foods high in iron are almonds, apricots, avocado, oysters, parsley, pine nuts, soy beans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, red wine (yes!), and meat.

Why is vitamin C beneficial?

Vitamin C is wonderful for the skin, it promotes collagen synthesis, which is needed for beautiful skin health, gut health, and anti-aging. It has anti-histamine properties (good for hayfever), good for excretion of heavy metals, and aids detoxification. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which helps to fight free radicals and combat illness.

Foods high in vitamin C include vegetables such as capsicums, dark green leafy vegetables, parsley, potatoes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, and fruits such as blackcurrant, guava, pawpaw, tomatoes, citrus fruits, melons, strawberries, pineapple, Kakadu plum.

If you are susceptible to low iron, then ensure you consume some of the above foods each day, and particularly aim to consume them alongside each other. If you are unsure of your levels, make a time with your naturopath who can run pathology tests if we suspect your iron is low.

Yvette is a qualified Melbourne-based Naturopath and Nutritionist, MINDD Practitioner, member of the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia, and Complementary Medicine Association. Yvette specialises in the treatment of conditions commonly affecting women and children, with a key interest in children’s digestive and neurological conditions, as well as women’s hormonal concerns, digestive issues, fatigue, anxiety, and skin concerns. Yvette consults in South Yarra, Melbourne, as well as Australia-wide via skype/zoom/phone. Book here.


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