Iron Rich Diet is evidently a diet that includes the use of foods rich in the mineral Iron. Iron plays a key role in several important body processes – as heme the metal component of haemoglobin responsible for the transportation of oxygen to all cells, tissues and organs; as part of myoglobin for carrying oxygen into muscular tissues and as part of cytochromes that are energy releasing complexes in cells. Iron is required in connective tissue formation, production of neurotransmitters in the brain as well as to maintain the immune system functions. Because Iron is involved in multiple roles, the body must obtain a constant supply of this nutrient through the diet.
Iron deficiency symptoms a person might exhibit include - paleness, fatigue, and mental decline. Extreme health effects such as stunting of mental and physical growth may be observed in children.
Laws Governing Iron Rich Diet
- In order to compensate for iron losses through urination, sweating, defecation, sloughing of cells from the skin, menstrual bleeding in women about 18 g of iron must be consumed every day. Certain situations such as heavy bleeding and pregnancy call for increased iron intake.
- The best sources of iron are red meat, liver, and yolk of eggs, nuts, beans and fortified cereals.
- In response to iron deficiency Anaemia, discovered among children, infant formulas as well as other children’s foods may be fortified with this mineral. Iron supplements may be prescribed by paediatricians if needed.
- During pregnancy iron supplements are invariably prescribed by the Doctor. Benefits of iron supplementation are not limited to increasing iron intake alone; these also help enhance absorption of dietary iron. Since iron intake is so critical during this phase, red meats form the best source of iron, free from iron inhibitors found commonly in other sources like nuts beans, grains and seeds.
- Incidence of Anemia is rare among regular meat eaters. Even small amounts of meat included in the diet would enhance overall iron absorption.
- The only deterrent with respect to iron containing grains, nuts and beans is that phytic acid present, works as an active inhibitor, decreasing iron absorption. Grains without phytic acid like quinoa, teff, or amaranth may be used instead. Soaking grains and beans for 8-12 hours prior to cooking them may reduce their phytic acid content.
- Fermentation of soya beans to produce miso and tempeh can reduce the phytic acid content significantly.
- Reduction of phytic acid content by soaking nuts and seeds before consumption may be a good idea.
- Green leafy vegetables are another good source of iron. However oxalic acid inhibitors reduce the bioavailability, a problem that may be overcome by boiling or steaming the greens.
- Along with intake of iron from various sources, vitamin C intake is important to ensure absorption of iron.
Iron rich Diet Menu
- Breakfast: 2 Boiled eggs + 1 small cup of iron-fortified cereal + handful of nuts + 1 orange
- Lunch: Baked beans with whole wheat toast + Spinach and corn lasagna + 1 glass of lemon juice.
- Dinner: Stir fry tofu + Fresh Tomato, Bell Pepper, Parsley and herbs salad.
- Snack: Soy milk/Tomato juice + Mixed beans on toast.
Thus, an Iron-rich diet is suggested for all age groups and especially for those whose iron requirements are greater, in order to prevent iron deficiency anaemia.