Foods That Interfere With Iron Absorption

Woman buying cheese ina supermarket
Woman buying cheese at the supermarket (Image: ShotShare/iStock/Getty Images)

Iron is a mineral that is essential for good health. The body uses iron for different purposes. It is used in cell differentiation and cell growth. It is also used in the production of hemoglobin, which is used in the transport of oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. Iron is needed for the building of muscle and bones. When the body’s iron needs are not being met, a condition called iron deficiency anemia can result. Iron deficiency anemia is a condition characterized by a lack of energy and a state of being constantly tired. Although there are many foods that have iron and can contribute to the daily iron needs, there are some foods that interfere with the body’s absorption of iron from the diet.

Dairy Products

Dairy products such as yogurt, cheese and milk interfere with the absorption of iron in the body, according to the U.K. Thalassemia Society. Thalassemia is a condition characterized by irregular production of hemoglobin in the body. Also, calcium supplements that are taken within two hours of a meal that is rich in iron can result in a decrease in the body’s absorption of the iron in the meal. It should be noted that the calcium in dairy products is an important part of a healthy diet.

Coffee, Tea and Oregano

Coffee and tea will decrease the absorption of iron when they are drunk with a meal that is rich in iron. According to the University of Notre Dame, coffee can decrease the absorption of iron by as much as 39 percent. Tea can decrease the absorption of iron by as much as 87 percent. Oregano is a spice that can decrease the absorption of iron in the body.

Cereals and Soy

Cereals made with corn, rice, oats and wheat bran can decrease the absorption of iron in the body. Soy products such as soybeans and tofu can also interfere with the absorption of iron.

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