Guest post from Lara Hennessey

Get More Iron in Your Diet


Iron deficiency anemia is something that affects many people.  It usually shows up as fatigue and pale skin.  Many people know meat contains iron, but most people don’t know that there are many great plant sources of iron too.  One surprising source is molasses. One tablespoon blackstrap molasses has about 1mg iron, which is a good chunk of the 8mg recommended for most adults.  The iron in plants can be harder to digest for some, so below are some tips on optimizing your iron absorption.

  • Include Vitamin C in your meal. Vitamin C is known to increase absorption of iron.  Add some red peppers, broccoli or citrus to your beans and oatmeal.

  • Soak your beans.  Soaking beans overnight removes phytates which can inhibit absorption of many nutrients, including iron.  Make sure to dump out the soaking water and cook them in fresh water. 

  • Optimize stomach acid. Stomach acid interacts with iron to change it into a form that is absorbable.  Taking antacids or proton pump inhibitors may substantially reduce iron absorption. 

  • Have tea and coffee away from food. Like phytates, the polyphenols in these beverages can reduce iron absorption. 

Lara Hennessey is an Integrative Nutritionist at Sunflower Health and Wellness. Other services at the practice include, Primary Care, Psychiatric medication management and Psychotherapy,  Massage, Reflexology, Acupuncture, Aroma Therapy. Please feel free to check out our website at for more information or call 240.631.0200 to schedule your next appointment for your consultation.


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