Q. Yesterday I attempted to donate blood and was deferred for low iron. A fact sheet they gave me said that teas inhibit iron absorption. Do I have to avoid my daily chai and green teas to maintain my iron levels?
A.The tannins found in black and green tea can inhibit the absorption of iron, especially if you get your iron primarily from vegetables as opposed to animal sources. But I don't think you need to give up tea. To maximize iron absorption, don't drink tea with or immediately after your meals. Having a cup of tea at other times of day should be fine. More to the point, be sure that you're getting enough iron--especially if you're a vegan. You can look up the iron content of most foods on NutritionData.com. You might also want to follow up with your doctor just to be sure you've got those iron levels where they need to be!
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