Health food is real food - Nutrition to increase iron and calcium in the diet

Iron Containing Foods

Haem compound iron is found in food sourced from animals and is more readily absorbed by the body, whereas vegetarian sources of iron tend to exist in unabsorbable complexes as inorganic iron salts. Cooking improves iron bioavailability, and consuming vitamin C rich foods in the same meal can increase iron absorption by up to 50% (Wahlqvist, 2002, p. 276).

Photo by Bet_Noire/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Bet_Noire/iStock / Getty Images

Iron and calcium compete at the same receptor sites for absorption.  If taking an iron supplement try to avoid having large amounts of dairy foods at the same time.

Haem iron foods

  • Red meat

  • Liver

  • Eggs

  • Tuna

  • Salmon

  • Oysters

Non­haem iron foods

  • Seaweed (dulse, kelp)

  • Lima beans

  • Soya beans

  • Spinach

  • Dates

  • Wheat germ

  • Walnuts

  • Figs

  • Sesame seeds

  • Millet

  • Prunes

  • Rice bran

  • Mung beans

  • Wheat bran

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Lentils

  • Pistachio nut

Vitamin C foods

Kale leaves
Brussell sprouts Cauliflower

Calcium‐rich foods (non‐dairy):

  • Sesame seeds (tahini)

  • Leafy green vegetables

  • Almonds

  • Soya beans

  • Hazelnuts

  • Parsley

  • Brazil nuts

  • Chickpeas

  • Pistachio nuts

  • Dried figs

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Broccoli

  • Olives

  • Rhubarb

  • Dried prunes

Wahlqvist. M. (2002). Australia and New Zealand: Food and Nutrition. (2nd edn.). Allen & Unwin: Crows Nest.