Did you know that tea and coffee can inhibit the absorption of iron? This occurs because tannins found in tea and coffee bind to iron from plant sources, which inhibits iron absorption. It’s worthwhile pointing out that black tea inhibits more iron absorption than herbal tea.
Regardless of whether you’re drinking tea or coffee the recommendation is to avoid tea/coffee consumption one hour prior to a meal containing iron and for at least one hour after an iron rich meal (2 hours is probably a safer window.)
Vitamin C and iron absorption
We’ve talked about how tea and coffee can make it harder for our bodies to absorb iron but did your know that vitamin C can help our body’s absorb more iron from plant sources? That’s right; vitamin C helps to keep iron in a stable form that our bodies can utilise! Next time you’re eating some iron rich tofu, red kidney beans or quinoa remember to add a good squeeze of lemon or lime or add some tomatoes or capsicum.