Hi, I'm Teresa, and welcome to My Fresh Kitchen. Today I want to talk about food combinations to get you the most iron. Iron is an essential mineral in your body because it's responsible for getting oxygen into your cells to create energy. If you don't have enough iron in your body, energy production slows down, which can make you tired, lethargic and can decrease your immune system. If your iron levels stay too low for too long, you develop a condition called anemia. Consuming enough iron and absorbing enough iron are two totally different stories. The National Institute of Health says that we actually only absorb about 10 to 15 percent of the iron we consume. So how do we make sure you absorb the most? Well first of all it's important to understand that iron exists in nature in two forms, heme iron comes from animal sources, like lean red meat, and non-heme iron, which comes from plant sources. The heme iron is much easier for your body to absorb because its similar in structure. Non-heme iron actually needs to be reduced by vitamin C in order for us to absorb it. We also know that if you consume non-heme and heme iron together, it can triple your iron absorption. So here's some really great food combinations to make sure you absorb the most of your iron. A great idea would be to take some kale and some quinoa, which are both great sources of non-heme iron, and if you added some peppers and some oranges, you could make a delicious salad. And if you wanted to add fresh chicken to that, it would even increase your iron absorption even more. Another option would be to take some lentils, which are also a good source of non-heme iron and put them with some red potatoes and some tomatoes, and that would make a really hearty stew. And again, you could add some lean red meat to that to even increase your iron absorption and your overall intake. Another great option would be oatmeal. Oatmeal's a great source of non-heme iron, and if you added some fresh berries to that, it would increase the vitamin C. Another thing to keep in mind that there are certain phytonutrients that can actually block iron absorption, and those would be found in dairy products and some certain legumes and some whole grains. So you'd want to make sure that you limit consumption of those to make sure you maximize your iron absorption.