Nutrition: Orange Juice Boosts Iron Absorption

Nutrition: Orange Juice Boosts
Iron Absorption

Dick Moss, Editor, Physical Education

Anemia is a common problem in female athletes - particularly those involved in endurance sports.

Heme iron is the iron found in meat products, particularly red meat. It's the form that's the most easily absorbed and effective in preventing iron deficiency. However, many girls have an aversion to red meat.

As an alternative, non-heme iron is found in many vegetables, fruits and grains. Examples of non-heme foods include beans, prunes, enriched breakfast cereals and pasta, and leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale.

While non-heme iron is not as readily absorbed as its heme counterpart, you can improve its absorption rate with the following tip.

Non-Heme Iron Absorption Tip
It has been proven that vitamin C improves the absorption of non-heme iron, so have your students drink a source of vitamin C (i.e. orange juice) at the same time as they're eating non-heme foods.

Adding fruit such as bananas, strawberries or raspberries to enriched breakfast cereals is also a good practice.

Iron Content of Fruit Ratings
To find a relative rating of the vitamin C content of different fruits, check out the following link:

Reference: Bob Seebohar (M.S., RD, CSSD, CSCS - formerly a sport dietician with the US Olympic Committee), Improve Your Ferritin Level, Olympic Coach, Winter 2009.

To download the pdf version of this
article, click here: Download Now

© 2019, Physical Education Update,

Bookmark and Share