Tea and Iron Absorption

Iron is involved in many cellular functions and is needed to transport oxygen to cells. Although sometimes there may be a relationship between tea drinking and reduced absorption of iron, research indicates that individuals consuming a typical Western diet are not likely to be at risk for iron deficiency anemia, regardless of their tea intake. Iron is found in many foods including red meat, dried fruits, and legumes and is added to foods such as breakfast cereals. Tea has no effect on iron absorption from meats or when consumed between meals, but may decrease the absorption of iron from plant foods when consumed with a meal. To offset tea’s effect on iron absorption, foods rich in vitamin C, such as orange juice, strawberries, or tomatoes can be eaten in the same meal. Adding lemon to tea works as well.