TOP 10 IRON RICH FOODS AND FRUITS FOR KIDS AND PREGNANT WOMEN TO FIGHT ANEMIA
Iron is one class of food which is greatly underrated. The importance of Iron cannot even be over emphasized, however, most healthy food diets have been found to lack Iron. Here are some reasons why Iron is a must have for your body;
- Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin which is a substance that takes oxygen from the lungs and transports it to all parts of your body. You do not want to joke with the transmission of oxygen in your body, after all, oxygen is life.
- Iron is responsible for the maintenance of the cells in our body system, also for healthy nails, skin and hair.
- Anemia is a condition that takes place due to lack of iron in the body. Need I say that Anemia is deadly.
- Iron is a component of Myoglobin, which is an oxygen storage protein found in the muscles and this oxygen is used when we use our muscles.
WHO IS MORE LIKELY TO SUFFER FROM IRON DEFICIENCY?
- Lactating mothers
- Premenopausal women
- Vegetarians (Although there are substitution foods that can be consumed by vegans to avoid iron deficiency).
- Women who have given birth recently.
- Individuals who have undergone a major surgery.
WHY DO PREGNANT WOMEN AND KIDS NEED A LOT OF IRON
For children, Iron is very important for the development of a child. The condition called Anemia can also affect children, and during this condition, the red blood cells are unable to carry oxygen to the children’s muscles and organs where it is needed. There are critical cases where Anemia can lead to death. Now insufficient oxygen will prevent proper growth therefore leading to conditions like;
-Very slow growth, Lack of appetite, Regular infections, Unusual cravings (for sand and dirt), Pale skin, Long term damages to the brain and nervous system.
For pregnant women, Iron is used by your body to produce extra blood for you and your fetus. It also helps move oxygen from your lungs to you and your baby’s body. This means a pregnant woman needs twice the level of iron she normally consumes. Iron is essential throughout the pregnancy period, but it is even more crucial in the first and the third trimesters.
Also, note that there are certain substances that can prevent your body from assimilating iron, Meals containing phytase or phytic acids, dairy products, whole grain, coffee and tea. These should not be taken simultaneously with your iron giving diet, as it can neutralize the effect of iron in your body. However, consumption of food rich in vitamin C can counteract the actions of the substances.
Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency
Most times people lack iron and are not even aware of it. Here are some simple signs that can show that you need to really step on your iron diet;
-Increased rate of heartbeat.
-Headaches and dizziness.
-Restless leg Syndrome; this is a strong urge to move your legs at rest.
-Extreme difficulty during exercise; if you can barely jog for 3 minutes, there is something wrong with your level of Iron intake.
-Is your tongue almost always sore?
-Do you sometimes find it extremely difficult to swallow?
-Loss of hair
-Constant tiredness and fatigue
-Cold hands and feet.
If you experience any of these symptoms listed above, then your iron level is at risk. Remember that this is one class of food that you do not want to be deficient in as this can cause very fatal situations.
This article however is written to show you some foods and fruits that can boost your level of Iron. According to the Quest Diagnostic Laboratory, and the American College Of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the iron range for a kid of 1-3 years is about 7 milligrams for males and 8 milligrams for females of this same age range. For a kid of 4-8 years, 10 milligrams is recommended. For pregnant women, you need 27 milligrams of iron per day. For normal people, you need about 18 milligrams per day.
Iron Rich Food Recommended For Pregnant Women And Kids
Now, let’s find out the top 10 food and fruits which are filled with Iron and recommended for pregnant women and kids.
- Green vegetables;
Green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and the likes are very rich sources of Iron. Spinach contains 4 mg of iron per 100 grams, while broccoli contains 2.7 mg per 100 grams. Spinach is also filled with Folate which helps in the production of red blood cells and also prevents neural tube defects in pregnant women. Common green vegetables which are readily available in Africa like Pumpkin leaves and water leaf are also good sources of iron. Green vegetables are known to have a low amount of calories. They can be boiled and eaten, cooked as soup, or even spiced up as fruit and vegetable salad.
Try adding a few slices of lemon to green vegetables while cooking.
- Dried Apricots;
Every 100 grams of dried apricots contain about 6.3 mg of iron. Not only are dried apricots very affordable, they are also all round nutritious. It is a good source of fiber and also contains antioxidants. Not to mention its delicious taste. So, you can excite your taste buds while also gaining the nutrients you need.
Try slicing and refrigerating, then consume cold.
- Organ Meat;
All the extra parts of the meats are actually the most nutritious. The ‘assorted’ as some call it which consists of liver, heart, intestines, kidneys, and the rest all contain high values of iron. They are also rich in Choline, copper and vitamins B. Red meat is also an excellent source of iron Who knew that a plate of assorted pepper soup could produce such results!
There is so much iron contained in tomatoes, especially fresh, sun dried tomatoes. However, canned, stewed, or any other way which it is made, every 100 grams of tomatoes contains about 9.1 mg of iron. There are a lot of ways you could spice up this tasty fruit to add it to your diet.
Try blending and making a smoothie out of it, or making fruit salad with it or just plain eating it raw.
- Sea Foods;
The sea is filled with multiple meals, luckily for us, they are edible, most of them anyway. They are also very nutritious and high in Iron content. Shellfish, oysters, crabs, clams, octopus, mussels, cuttlefish and don’t forget the ever tasty prawns are all wonderful sources of iron. Don’t forget snails which contain 3 mg in every serving.
Try boosting your iron intake by mixing a richly cooked meal of sea food and vegetables.
Note that sea foods may contain high level of toxic minerals like mercury. Overdosing on this should therefore be avoided.
Raisins are simple grapefruits which have been dried. In every 100 grams of raisins, there is a 3 milligram level of iron present. Raisins have been found to contain more iron than most fruits. Non-heme iron is a type of iron in which absorption can be affected by the presence of certain substances which are found naturally in food. Since raisins contain non-heme iron, you should avoid the consumption of certain substances together with raisins. However, vitamin C has been known to increase the rate of absorption of iron food substances. So, all sources of vitamin C such as pineapples, guavas, black currant, cabbages and strawberries are encouraged to be consumed together with iron rich food.
- Unripe Plantain;
Per 100 grams, unripe plantain contains 0.6 mg of iron. Growing up, unripe plantain has always been recommended as a very good source of iron for kids and pregnant women. It is recommended by most nutritionist as the best source without any complications. What’s more, there are so many ways to enjoy this delicacy.
Try cooking it porridge with fresh sea foods and green vegetables.
This tasty fruit is a very rich source of Vitamin C as well as a good source of Iron. So since Vitamin C increase rate of absorption of iron, it is one of the fastest iron given fruit. Watermelon helps keep the body hydrated and refreshed as it contains about 90% water. It also helps detoxify the body as the water purifies wastes. All these benefits from one fruit! Watermelon is one of the best fruit sources of combined nutrition.
Try slicing and refrigerating, then eating cold especially during summer.
Whether sweet or Russet, potatoes are great sources of iron. There is about 3.2 mg of iron in one large Russet potato. White and red potatoes contain iron but in lesser amounts Russets however are the richest potato types in iron. Potatoes contain non-heme iron, so consider eating them with diced meat for more efficient absorption.
Try boiled chopped potatoes + Diced red pepper + Onion + hot tomato stew. Thank us later.
They are not just sweet, they are also iron filled. Bananas are very beneficial as they contain easily digestible iron, folic acid and Vitamin B12. A medium sized banana contains about 0.3 mg of iron.
Other sources of iron food and fruits are
-Breakfast cereals (Oat meals)
-Nuts and seeds (Cashew nuts, Pine nuts)
The list goes on. Iron deficiency affects a billion people worldwide, we could reduce the number of deficient iron patients by simply giving our body the amount of iron it requires.
Below is a Recommended Dietary Allowance For Iron:
Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation (All values are in mg)
Birth to 6 months 0.27 0.27 – –
7-12 months 11 11 – –
1-3 years 7 7 – –
4-8 years 10 10 – –
9-13 years 8 8 – –
14-18 years 11 15 27 10
19-50 years 8 18 27 9
51+ years 8 8 – –
Source of data: NIV.GOV
In conclusion, with this knowledge you should increase the amount of iron your body gets, since the amount it requires for efficiency is quite high. For kids that do not really enjoy vegetables, there are so many ways to delight the vegetables to make it more enduring for them.
There are also other healthy sources of iron for them which have been listed above. For pregnant women, the necessity cannot be over emphasized, both you and your baby require high amounts of oxygen to prevent premature birth of the baby, or unhealthy looking and frequently ill babies.
Iron must be added to the kid’s meal to prevent stunted growth. For everyone excluded from the list of people that are most likely to be deficient in iron, it does not mean that you cannot also suffer from loss of iron and its negative effects, do not exempt iron from your regular diet.