Foods That Boost Iron Absorption

Which of the following is known to enhance iron absorption? Vitamin C, Ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, and meat are the foods that boost iron absorption? Learn more about each one of these. And don’t forget to eat plenty of meat! Meat is the perfect food for boosting iron levels. And what about other foods that are known to help with iron absorption?

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most potent antioxidants known to boost iron absorption in the body. When taken in adequate quantities, it can increase iron absorption up to 2.6 times. It is especially effective when combined with other nutrients, including vitamin C. Vitamin C is found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and juices and helps transform ferric into ferrous iron. Studies show that ascorbic acid improves the absorption of iron up to fourfold.

The findings of this study are not surprising. While previous studies have not found a clear link between Vitamin C and haemoglobin levels, this one contradicts the results of other studies. In the study, increased ascorbic acid levels improved iron absorption. The amount of iron absorbed increased from 0.8% to 7.1%, and the patients’ hemoglobin levels improved. Hence, Vitamin C can increase iron absorption in the body.

Ascorbic acid

Ascorbic acid has numerous physiological functions. It enhances the absorption of iron, promotes collagen synthesis, and helps maintain blood vessels and heart valves. It is also essential for the synthesis of neurotransmitters, including dopamine. Ascorbic acid also aids in the synthesis of other proteins in the body, including cytokines. When consumed in adequate amounts, ascorbic acid can aid the body in the healing process of wounds. The intake of 500 mg to 1 g of ascorbic acid daily can help the healing process.

The antioxidant properties of ascorbic acid can prevent cancer and other human diseases. Its effects were observed in a study on human mammary tumours by Nobel laureate Pauling, who noted that ascorbic acid enhanced the body’s ability to absorb iron. The antioxidant also increased the survival time of terminal patients, including complete regressions in some cases. However, some studies at the Mayo Clinic did not find a significant difference in survival time between groups. In addition, Cameron and Pauling hypothesized that ascorbic acid may prevent the invasion of cancer cells by inhibiting the production of collagen.


Some research supports the benefits of beta-carotene, which is commonly found in fruits and vegetables. However, high doses of beta-carotene can reduce sun sensitivity in some people. People with erythropoietic protoporphyria, a rare genetic disorder that causes pain and liver problems when exposed to sunlight, are often prescribed high doses of beta-carotene. A doctor may adjust the dosage gradually over several weeks to ensure that the person is not too sensitive to sun exposure. In such cases, he or she may prescribe a higher dose of beta-carotene or allow their skin to be exposed to more sunlight.

Foods rich in beta-carotene are high in vitamin A, which is converted in the body into usable forms of vitamin A. Good sources of beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, kale, red peppers, cantaloupe, and spinach. Foods high in beta-carotene can improve iron absorption in the body by as much as 200%. They can also stimulate the absorption of non-heme iron.


Meat contains a form of iron known as heme, which is much easier for the body to absorb. This type of iron is also more easily absorbed than non-heme iron, making it a good source of dietary intake for healthy people. This type of iron is found in oysters, pumpkin seeds, fortified cereals, and red meat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture notes that meat contains between 40 to 45 mg of heme iron per ounce, which is the type you should seek to consume.

Meat is also known to improve nonheme iron absorption in infants. In a recent study, Hurrell RF and colleagues studied the effects of meat inclusion on infant iron absorption. The researchers found that beef muscle, egg white, and bovine serum albumin enhanced nonheme iron absorption compared to vegetarian puree. Although this research shows that meat improves nonheme iron absorption, it’s not clear whether this is the same effect in infants.