Strawberry Leaf Graphic

Illustration: Dan Saelinger

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Iron + Vitamin C

The Teamwork
Everyone knows that iron is an essential nutrient. But were you aware that there are two kinds? One (heme) is found in meats and seafood; the other (nonheme) is in chickpeas, dark leafy greens, and other plants. The trouble is, nonheme isn't as easily absorbed by the body—which is where vitamin C comes in. Foods high in C (like citrus, bell peppers, and strawberries) raise the acidity of the intestines, allowing nonheme to be more readily absorbed.

The Options
Drizzle lemon vinaigrette on a spinach and strawberry salad. Or add chopped red bell peppers to chickpeas for a side dish. At meals where you're mixing iron and C, try to avoid tea, whole grains, and dairy products—all of which inhibit nonheme-iron absorption.