Why Lemon Must Be Added To Spinach To Get All The Iron From The Vegetable

In the world of nutrition, choices seem endless and the advice often conflicting. The secret to healthy eating lies not just in what we eat, but also in how we pair our foods. Finding the perfect food combination can sometimes feel like a treasure hunt. Among the myriad options, there exists a dynamic duo that stands out for its health-boosting benefits: spinach and lemon juice. Yes, it might come as a surprise to you but spinach and lemon juice make a great pair and tasty too… in most recipes. 

According to Ayurveda, improper food combinations can disrupt the balance of doshas in our bodies, leading to indigestion and other health issues. This philosophy underscores the importance of choosing complementary foods that enhance nutrient absorption and overall well-being.
Also Read: These 7 Classic Food Combinations Are Ideal To Make When Craving A Comforting Taste

Consider the classic example of palak-paneer, a beloved Indian dish featuring spinach and cheese. While both spinach and cheese boast nutritional benefits individually, when combined, their minerals bind together, hindering optimal nutrient absorption. Studies even suggest that calcium, found abundantly in dairy products like cheese, may reduce iron absorption by as much as 50-60%.

So, what’s the solution? Enter lemon juice, the unsung hero of food pairing.

Spinach and lemon juice complement each other.
Photo Credit: iStock

Spinach with lemon juice: how iron and vitamin C work together:

The science behind this pairing is simple yet profound. While spinach’s oxalic acid may inhibit iron absorption, the addition of vitamin C from lemon juice helps convert iron to a more absorbable form, facilitating its uptake by the body. Even the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States underscores the importance of consuming spinach with vitamin C-rich foods to optimize iron absorption.

While calcium may inhibit iron absorption, vitamin C, abundant in lemon juice, is believed to enhance it. Research conducted by Professor Hallberg and his team at the University of Goteborg in Sweden found that consuming iron-rich foods alongside vitamin C significantly improves iron bioavailability.
Also Read: These 7 Regional Food Combinations Will Give You A Taste Of India

More iron and vitamin C combinations:

But why stop at spinach? The iron and vitamin C connection extends beyond leafy greens to a variety of foods. Whether it’s pairing soybeans with lemon juice or enjoying a refreshing blend of guava and kiwi, incorporating vitamin C-rich foods into our diet can amplify the benefits of iron-rich sources. Nutritionist Dr. Anju Sood suggests, that experimenting with different combinations like beetroot and amla or oranges with guava can help us maximize our nutrient intake and support overall health.

For those seeking alternatives to spinach, moringa, also known as drumsticks, emerges as a nutritional powerhouse rich in both iron and vitamin C. Whether consumed as a powder or incorporated into smoothies, moringa offers a convenient way to boost iron levels and support overall health.

So, the next time you enjoy a vibrant spinach salad or savour a zesty lemon-infused dish, know that you’re not just indulging your taste buds, but also nourishing your body from the inside out.

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