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A good intake of iron is vital to the formation of blood cells. Healthy blood may help maintain energy levels as well as physical and cognitive performance and overall health. The following advice can help maintain optimal absorption of iron and boost energy levels.

Iron absorption

  • Meat and animal products tend to contain the haem form of iron which is more readily absorbed by the body. Try to get your iron from these food sources.
  • Plants usually contain non-haem iron which is more difficult to absorb. Vegetarians and vegans do become more efficient at absorbing this type of iron with time.
  • Vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron, so have a glass of pure orange juice with meals. Alternatively, combine foods rich in vitamin C with meals. Citrus fruits, berries, green vegetables, peaches, apples, bananas and tomatoes are all good sources.
  • Vitamin B2 also aids in the absorption of iron, so try combining foods containing vitamin B2 and iron. Goods sources of vitamin B2 include liver, breakfast cereals, bananas, poultry, legumes, cod, egg, spinach and yeast extract.
  • Calcium decreases the absorption of iron by about 20%, so try to avoid having calcium rich foods with meat. Rich sources of calcium include things like milk, cheese, and yoghurt.
  • Drinking tea and coffee tends to decrease iron absorption, so avoid having these drinks at mealtimes. Drink water instead, or diluted fruit juice.

Lifestyle Tips

  • Exercise can help boost your circulation and give you more energy. Exercise should be regular and vigorous enough to make you slightly out of breath. Aim for 20-30 minutes of exercise three times a week.
  • Relax! Stress can have a negative impact on your energy levels. Laughing, meditation, tai chi and exercise are all excellent ways to help manage stress.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep - for most people, an average of 8 hours per night. A lack of sleep can leave you feeling fatigued and make it difficult to concentrate.

Please note that any health tips or advice provided on this site are not intended as, and should not be regarded as a substitute for medical advice from your doctor or health professional.