Should iron and calcium-rich foods, supplements be taken together?


Do you reach out for a bowl of yogurt after enjoying a plate of rajma rice? Well, turns out it may not be a great way to finish your meal.

Taking to Instagram recently, nutritionist Leema Mahajan shared that one should refrain from pairing calcium with iron-rich foods.

( READ MORE: Healthy Eating: Dos and Don’ts; should you stop consuming carbs – check )

Take a look at what she had to say.

Lentils and beans are rich in iron, and yogurt is rich in calcium. Calcium reduces the absorption of plant protein by 50-60 per cent when consumed together or around the same time,” Mahajan shared.

Calcium-rich foods should not be paired with iron-rich foods. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

According to the expert, to enhance iron absorption, one should add protein and vitamin C-rich foods to the diet.

She also advised against having tea/coffee with meals. “For the same reason, do not take your calcium and iron supplements together,” she added.

Why is the pairing not recommended?

Dr Jinal Patel, dietitian, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Mumbai told that calcium and iron compete for the same receptors and, as a result, calcium inhibits the absorption of iron when taken together. “Studies on human subjects have shown that calcium (Ca) can inhibit iron (Fe) absorption, regardless of whether it is given as calcium tablets or in dairy products,” said Dr Patel.

What is the best way to have them?

Dr Patel noted that iron supplements should not be consumed with milk, coffee, tea, other dairy products (or along with calcium tablets) for better absorption. “Calcium supplements, on the other hand, should be consumed lose to bedtime, and be had after a gap of 2-3 hours from iron supplements!” Dr Patel said.


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