How long after taking iron can you drink coffee? If you are a coffeeholic, you’ve probably speculated about this once or twice. Doctors recommend we take iron supplements on an empty stomach. We must remember this when taking any food or drink.
Coffee is one such drink that prevents the body from absorbing iron from food and supplements due to its caffeine content. That’s why you should only take coffee an hour before or after consuming iron. The same applies to iron inhibitors such as tea and wine due to their tannins and polyphenols.
This post will explore the benefits and drawbacks of taking iron. We’ll also look at the right way to take iron.
The Benefits of Taking Iron
Iron is an essential mineral in the body that aids hemoglobin in transporting oxygen in the blood. Lack of iron can lead to anemia, a disease that causes fatigue, breathlessness, and rapid heartbeats.
People who perform activities that require a lot of energy, such as athletes, will benefit from taking iron. It increases energy, enhances performance, and boosts immunity.
Iron also aids the body in regulating body temperature and improving focus. It is essential for a healthy pregnancy primarily because women’s bodies produce a lower supply of iron than men’s.
The Disadvantages of Taking Iron
Iron can cause gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, and bloating. People with a sensitive digestive system will suffer these problems after taking iron from supplements or foods.
Taking iron in excess can also trigger Diabetes and liver cancer. Individuals suffering from hemochromatosis should also not take iron because they absorb more iron from food than others.
Excess amounts of iron can also cause serious problems such as internal bleeding, organ failure, and seizures. It also leads to a coma or death in extreme cases.
The Right Way to Take Iron and What to Take with It
Now that you know coffee is an iron inhibitor, you may be interested to find out what enhances its absorption. Vitamin C is one of the nutrients that can help your body optimize iron from food and supplements.
If you are taking iron from foods, choose those that contain heme iron, such as beef, chicken, and seafood. It is better absorbed than non-heme iron found in vegetables.
You can take caffeinated drinks when taking these foods because caffeine does not inhibit the heme iron in them. Remember to combine them with Vitamin C to enhance their absorption. If you prefer to get your iron from plant-based foods, take copper-rich foods.
Copper enhances the absorption of non-heme iron, which is found in plant-based foods. You can get it from shellfish, organ meats, whole grains, prunes, and potatoes. Black pepper and cocoa also contain copper.
When taking iron, avoid foods and drinks that inhibit its absorption. Some examples are soy protein, high-fiber foods, calcium supplements, coffee, wine, and tea. Proton pump inhibitors like rabeprazole and aspirin also lower iron absorption.
Iron is a beneficial mineral in the body. We should have enough of it from diet and supplementation to aid blood circulation.
You should only drink coffee an hour before or after consuming iron and other caffeinated drinks. That’s because the caffeine in coffee is an iron inhibitor. If you suffer from iron deficiency, consider taking it correctly for your benefit.