The word "khana" in Indian Khana Made Easy means food. So come on, let's explore and cook some easy Indian food together including Gluten Free dishes.

October 27, 2020

Tip Four - Boost Nutrition with Food Pairings: Vitamin C and Plant-based Iron

Spinach with Vitamin C (Orange or lime juice)


Iron is an essential nutrient that plays an important role in many bodily functions. A diet lacking in iron can result in low energy levels, shortness of breath, irritability, headaches, dizziness, or anemia.

Iron can be found in two forms in foods - heme and non-heme. Heme iron is only found in animal products, whereas non-heme is only found in plants. The recommended daily allowance/ intake (RDA/ RDI) is based on a person's gender and life stage.

-Post-menopausal women and men, 8mg/ day
-Mensurating women, 18g/ day
-Pregnant women 27g/ day

Non-heme iron tends to be less easily absorbed by our bodies than heme iron. Hence the RDI for vegetarians or vegans is 1.8 times higher than for meat-eaters.

To best absorb non-heme iron (plant-based), we need to pair it with a source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps break the iron down into a form that the body can more easily absorb. Absorption will be much greater if both the nutrients are in a single meal. 

Spinach provides many health benefits but very few calories. About 3.5 oz (100g) of raw spinach contains 2.7mg of iron or a 15% daily allowance. Leafy greens, such as Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, and beet greens contain between 2.4 - 6.4mg of iron per cooked cup. For example, 100g of spinach contains 1.1 times more iron than the same amount of red meat and 2.2 times more than 100g of salmon.

Below is a salad recipe that pairs the non-heme goodness of plant-based food with Vitamin C enriched food:
 
Spinach and Orange Salad

Baby Spinach                2 cups packed
Orange (any type)         10 - 12 wedges de-skinned
Olive oil                        1 tbsp
Black pepper                  To taste or 1/4th tsp.
Walnuts (optional)        10 - 12 pieces

Place spinach in a bowl, drizzle olive oil, add pepper, and garnish it with orange wedges and walnuts. Toss well and serve. You can also make a colorful salad with spinach and sliced strawberries that have a good amount of Vitamin C (a 3.5oz contains 59mg of Vit C or 98% daily value). Other combos: Broccoli with bell Peppers, chickpeas with tomatoes.

Who would have thought these simple ingredients would make such a yummy salad. We couldn't wait to share it with all of you. 

We hope you are enjoying our tips on food pairings to boost nutrition. Keep posted for more tips. 

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