Posted by: Poppy | 2009/07/06

Oats and Iron Absorbtion

Hi Diet Doc
Thank you for a great forum and valuable advice.
I was told recently that eating jungle oats for breakfast every morning can be detrimental to iron absorbtion. Is this true? I love oats and look forward to eating them every morning, but apparently only 3 times a week max in healthy? I have slightly low iron levels and could not donate blood as the droplets would not sink in water.
Also, is half a cup of raw outs considered two carb portions and is this a good amount to eat per serving?
Thank you!

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Our expert says:
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Dear Poppy
Thank you for your kind words, they cheer me up no end on this cold morning. Basically all grains, especially wholegrains with a high dietary fibre content (like the oats bran), tend to reduce the absorption of all minerals, including iron. However, most breakfast cereal manufacturers add iron to their products to compensate for this fact. I checked the 2 different instant oats packages in my cupboard and both of them are enriched with iron, one supplies 25% of the daily requirement and the other providing 100% of the daily requirement per serving. It also helps to have a fruit or fruit juice with a high vitamin C content at breakfast, because vit C helps the body to absorb iron. Under these circumstances, I don’t see why you can’t eat oats every day. Half a cup of oats is about 1 portion of carbs. To address your low iron levels, you can also eat more iron-rich foods such as lean red meat, liver, fish, eggs and dried fruit to boost your iron intake. I would, however, recommend that you consult your medical dr about your low iron levels because: a) the dr needs to finds out why you are anaemic (insufficient intake or blood loss perhaps?) and b) supply you with an iron-folic acid supplement like FerroFolic to replenish your low iron stores (this can take up to 3 months).
Best regards

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