Vitamin C + iron: match made in plant heaven!

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By The Gut Health Doctor Team

Dr Megan Rossi in a lab looking through a microscope

Vitamin C + plant-based iron = 67% more iron absorption!*

Here’s the deal. Our bodies can’t absorb the iron in plant foods (aka non-heme iron) as efficiently as it does the iron in animal foods.

So if you’re joining me in eating more plants, remember to add some vitamin C to each meal! It helps your body absorb more plant-based iron.


Vitamin C (aka ascorbic acid) can essentially combine with the iron and store it in a way that is more absorbable for our GI tract.

Eating 100mg of vitamin C in the same meal as iron was shown in one study to increase iron absorption by 67%!

This becomes pretty important when you hear as high as 1.6 billion people have anaemia related to iron deficiency.

So I have some winning combos for you guys!

  • Tomatoes + lentils
  • Peppers + tofu
  • Strawberries + wholegrain cereal
  • Oranges + handful of nuts

(vit C source on the left, iron on the right )

Broccoli, red cabbage, sweet potatoes and mangos are also great sources of vitamin C. For plant-based iron, you can go for leafy greens too.

*Depending on the specific meal, full disclosure: studies do vary and one even suggested vit C could 4x the iron absorption of some foods!


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