Get the most out of green tea and iron-rich foods — by keeping them apart!

Timing may not be everything, but it’s something. And its influence goes beyond the poetic parts of life like romance and destiny. Timing also plays a role in how your body absorbs nutrients. Pairing vegetables with a source of nutritious fat like avocado, for instance, helps your body absorb the beneficial carotenoids and other phytonutrients in the veggies. But sometimes there’s interference, even among foods you might think would be “friends.” New research suggests that consuming green tea along with iron-rich foods like lentils may block some of the benefits of both. According to a preliminary study, at the same time that the tea is blocking iron absorption, the iron is blocking absorption of polyphenols from the tea. Polyphenols help protect your body from damaging molecules known as free radicals. The double whammy is easily avoided, though. Enjoy nutritious, iron-rich foods like beans, lentils, and dark leafy-green vegetables at meals. And then, later, enjoy green tea, which can boost brain power and reduce disease-causing inflammatory mediators. Just enjoy them separately! 

“In my own hands I hold a bowl of tea; I see all of nature represented in its green color. Closing my eyes, I find green mountains and pure water within my own heart. Silently sitting alone and drinking tea, I feel these become a part of me. - Sen Soshitsu, Urasenke Tea Master XIV

 

Posted on August 11, 2016 and filed under nutrition.