According to experts, iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiency diseases. Because the body can better utilize the important trace element from food than from tablets, it is recommended to include iron-rich foods in the diet. But caution! Some drinks impede the absorption of the mineral from food.
Iron is an essential trace element. It plays a central role in many metabolic processes. It also keeps skin, hair and nails healthy and strengthens our immune system. The mineral must be taken in with food. But it is often heard that black tea inhibits the absorption of iron. But is that really true?
As the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern consumer advice center reports on its website, it is difficult to estimate the absorption of non-haem iron – iron from plant foods – into the human body as a whole. It is not only determined by the availability from the diet, but also by the iron status and need of the respective person. For example, iron absorption is increased during pregnancy.
Iron from food
When looking at the absorption of iron, one has to distinguish between vegetable and animal iron. According to the experts, the difference lies in the chemical structure. Iron from animal foods (haem iron) can be absorbed much better by humans than iron from fruit, vegetables or cereal products (non-haem iron).
According to the data, the absorption rate for non-haem iron is only one to ten percent (compared to 20 to 30 percent for haem iron). A number of factors can influence the absorption rate. Both the digestive tract itself and various food components with their various properties and interactions play a role.
The bioavailability of non-haemice is reduced most by tannins from plant foods, especially tea and coffee, and by phytates from cereals. Because the vegetable tanning agent tannin binds the iron in the stomach and it is excreted again, explains the consumer center Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on its website.
The bioavailability of non-haem iron is most strongly promoted by vitamin C. As the experts explain, it converts the iron ions in the intestine into the more soluble and absorbable form. A glass of orange juice or fruit with meals can improve iron absorption.
Good sources of iron include meat and meat products, whole grain products, salmon and tuna vegetables such as spinach, Brussels sprouts and beet, and oilseeds. Furthermore, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, sugar beet syrup and poppy seeds have a relatively high iron content. (ad)
According to the information provided, the inhibitory effect also affects iron tablets. Those who have to take such preparations should not drink coffee or black tea for at least two hours before and after taking them. The influence of other food components on the absorption of heme iron (from meat, fish and poultry) is very small, according to the experts.
Does black tea inhibit iron absorption?
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.