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Foods that hurt iron absorption

Foods that hurt iron absorption

We all know Iron is one of the important minerals that our body demands during different phases of life such as during puberty, pregnancy, lactation, even otherwise for general health.

Iron produces hemoglobin which is the main component of Red Blood Cells, it transports enough oxygen to each cell. If a person is deficient in iron, they may develop health risks like Hypertension, Anaemia, Weakness, Nausea etc.  The best source of iron is Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Green Leafy Vegetables, Whole grains, Dried beans, Chicken, Salmon etc.

Do you know there are some dietary factors which can inhibit the iron absorption? Despite consuming iron sources, people may develop iron deficiency due to the presence of iron inhibitors in some food items.

Let us know about some of the iron inhibitors;

  1. Phytates – Phytates are one of the strong inhibitors for iron absorption. Phytates are present in whole grains, high fiber food like crude vegetables, soy products. Usually, high phytates containing food are rich in iron. The effects of phytates can be reduced by washing the food in hot water.
  2. Oxalates – Oxalate is a compound that derived from oxalic acid, is a well-known iron inhibitor. Oxalates are present in dark chocolate, kale, beans, nuts etc. The effects of oxalates can be profound if your diet is deficient in Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to change the chemical composition of oxalates and thus helps in iron absorption.
  3. Polyphenols- Polyphenols can inhibit iron absorption in a wide range. Polyphenol is present in cocoa, coffee, and tea. It is suggested these foods or substances should not be consumed within 2 hours prior to and following your iron-rich meal. Consuming such foods along with your iron-rich food can reduce the bioavailability of iron to some extent. Washing the foods with hot water, and including Vitamin C in the meal can protect the iron. Vitamin C foods like amla, olive, orange, sweet lime etc. can be added to your platter for better iron absorption.

If you want to know more about it then write to us at so that our nutritionists can get back to you.


References (n.d.). diet.



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