Iron is the vehicle that helps red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Low levels of dietary iron make for oxygen-hungry cells and a fatigued, energy-deprived body. Unfortunately, iron can’t do much for the body if it can’t process it. Nonheme iron, the kind found in plants such as lentils, beans, and leafy, green vegetables, is difficult for the body to absorb—only 2-20% of the iron is actually used. Enter vitamin C: through a series of chemical reactions, this nutrient helps iron become more bio-available (up to three times) so the body can use the iron for energy.
Try this: Salad with spinach and citrus dressing; hummus with red pepper strips; chili with pinto, black, or kidney beans and crushed tomatoes; chicken cacciatore with tomatoes and peppers