Q. I recently heard part of a medical segment on the news regarding the effects of dark colored fruit juices like grape or cranberry on iron absorption. I regularly drink cranberry juice and I am also being watched for hemochromatosis. Do you know of any connection?
A. We tracked down the story you heard and found it in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (Nov. 5, 2002). The scientists discovered that antioxidant compounds in dark juices such as red grape and prune block the absorption of iron. Light colored juices like pear, apple, grapefruit, orange and white grape increase iron absorption.
Hemochromatosis is a condition in which excess iron builds up in the body and damages organs such as the heart and the liver. For people such as yourself, limiting iron absorption is desirable, so you might want to drink more red grape and prune juice. Tea also prevents iron absorption. Unfortunately, the scientists did not study cranberry juice, so we don’t know how it affects your iron balance.

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