Woman's World

Stop brain aging—and get an energy boost!


Great news! Six studies suggest that just making sure you’re absorbing all of the iron in your diet can protect against Alzheimer’s (cutting your risk 37%!)—plus double your energy, stamina, focus and memory right now! The connection? Iron delivers vital oxygen and nutrients to your brain, ensuring that it can function at its peak. How can you improve your iron absorption? Experts advise:

Doubling absorption with vitamin C

Adding a pinch (1/16 tsp.) of powdered vitamin C to your meals doubles your absorption of the iron in fruits and vegetables, reports the Internatio­nal Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research. Vitamin C changes the iron in plants—which can be difficult to absorb—into a form your tissues soak up more easily, says study coauthor Birgit Teucher, PH.D. ■ Important: Always check with your doctor before starting a new supplement.

Adding iron with darker cuts of meat

Beef, pork and chicken are all good sources of iron. But to make them great sources of the mineral, choose the darkest cuts you can find. New Zealand researcher­s report that darker red meat and poultry contain up to 15% more iron than pink or white cuts. Not a meat eater? Cooking vegetables makes their iron easier to absorb, helping your body use 30% more, researcher­s say.

Healing your intestines with yogurt

Eating a daily cup of probiotic-rich yogurt increases iron absorption as much as 54% in three months, Swedish researcher­s say. Yogurt’s healthy bacteria tame inflammati­on in the digestive tract, so it’s easier for iron to pass into your bloodstrea­m.

Accessing iron with heat

Your body absorbs up to four times more iron from cooked cruciferou­s vegetables— such as broccoli, cauliflowe­r, kale and bok choy— than from raw, a recent Rutgers University study shows. The heat from steaming, broiling, stir-frying, baking or grilling helps break down the tough cell membranes in these vegetables, releasing more iron to be absorbed by your intestines, explain researcher­s.

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