The iron from green, leafy vegetables is not as easily absorbed by the body. Also, some foods, like tannins (in coffee), calcium and fibre, can interfere with non-haem iron absorption. But, the vegetarians out there need not lose heart — vitamin C, present in fruits and vegetables, can aid in the absorption of non-haem iron. So, to maximise your iron absorption, try to combine it with vitamin C – for example, add tomatoes to your spinach curry, sprinkle a dash of lemon juice on your food, or wash down your iron-fortified breakfast cereal with a glass of orange juice. In addition, recent research indicates that anti-oxidants could help improve brain functioning, apart from having an overall positive effect on the human body. Berries and green tea have high anti-oxidant content. So, do consider a berry-rich diet and substituting regular tea with green tea.
There are two different types of iron. Haem iron is present in the haemoglobin and myoglobin that is in blood. Red meat is the richest source of haem iron. Non-haem iron is found in every other food: vegetables, eggs and dairy products.
There are plenty of paths leading to a healthy brain. Whether you choose to eat fish curry, enjoy walnuts on ice cream, or sell the idea of a ragi roti or dosa breakfast to your family, eating healthy really can be fun if you find a way to make it interesting. So go ahead and experiment – add “Brain Food” to your family’s daily diet, but do it differently every day. Eat brain-smart and see the difference for yourself!