Iron is an essential mineral needed by the body to take oxygen to muscles and organs. Without enough iron, you may become anemic. Iron is found in red meat, fish, poultry, dried fruits, leafy green vegetables, seeds, nuts and fortified cereals. Layering the iron with other nutrients can aid in the absorption. Some of the combinations provide a synergistic effect. However, other foods that are rich with polyphenols, such as cola, tea or coffee will block and prevent some absorption of iron. Soy protein with plant sources of iron and bran may also decrease absorption of the mineral.
Adding citrus fruit boosts the body’s ability to absorb iron. For example, to increase the benefits of iron in a spinach salad, serve it with mandarin oranges or other citrus fruit. A glass of orange juice with a breakfast of iron fortified cereal does the same thing. Another delicious and nutritious combination is a poached egg and enriched whole wheat toast with a side of all natural citrus marmalade.