Written by Achiever Foods Nutrition Unit
Every day is a golden opportunity for you to make healthy food choices. In life, whatever you focus on grows. In the same light when you focus on building good health you will experience optimum growth in every aspect of your health. Many people do share stories of how they have neglected healthy eating and later had to pay for it with expensive hospital bills. In fact, most people who either suffered or are suffering from iron deficiency admitted they didn’t know what went wrong. Well you don’t want to part of the statistics of the sufferers. You can set it right in your life now.
What do you need to know about iron nutrition?
Iron is a micronutrient the body needs for various metabolic functions. It’s very essential for blood production.
Iron and Immunity
Iron is an important micronutrient for the development of the immune system. It helps in the production of white blood cells. This helps in fighting diseases and infections including bacteria and viruses. The current global crisis is an issue with the immune system as has been widely reported by the experts. Even though Vitamin C is essential for the immune system, iron is another very critical nutrient that can have a significant effect on the immune system. Hence to prevent the coronavirus infection, you need to choose foods that have very good source of iron.
Iron and Anaemia
Anaemia is a condition that occurs when the body lacks sufficient red blood cells. Iron helps in the production of red blood cells. Iron deficiency anemia is one of the top most micro-nutrient deficiency condition in the world. WHO has revealed that about 50% of anemia cases is caused by iron deficiency anemia.
Malnutrition is one of the key reasons why iron deficiency anaemia is common in many parts of the world especially in developing countries. Inadequate intake of vital nutrients like iron can have an impact on our overall health and even work performance. It is therefore important to consume foods that will contribute in providing the daily dietary iron intake of 18mg.
We have listed some ways to get iron into our diet to prevent its deficiency.
1. Energize Your Day
When it comes to iron nutrition, the earlier the better. In the sense that you have to start your day right. This requires that you choose iron rich foods. Iron helps in the production of a protein molecule called haemoglobin. This substance helps in circulating oxygen to every part of the cells to contribute in providing the body with energy.
Having energy to start your day can’t be compromised. Therefore, including iron rich foods into your meals helps in sustaining your energy for optimum productivity during the day. Foods like oats, veggies like spinach, kale, whole breads (wheat bread or fortified breads) can help. Daliha Juices and Teas are very good sources of iron you can include into your breakfast meals. Daliha foods do not only provide iron but also supplies the body with other very essential minerals and vitamins for overall health.
2. Practice Food Combinations
Some foods require that you combine them with other foods to enhance absorption of iron into the body. Adding vegetables and fruits in your main meals can help in iron absorption in certain foods.
A perfect example is combining iron foods like beans with raw oranges or orange juice to get maximum absorption of the iron. This is because beans contain non-heme iron which usually takes longer to be absorbed into the body without a catalyst.
One study revealed that adding Vitamin C into meals enhance iron absorption by 67%. Daliha Juices are also packed with vitamins and essential nutrients for maximum iron absorption. A bottle of Daliha Juice a day can also contribute to getting about 4mg of iron in your diet per meal.
3. Poultry, Fish and Meat
Most foods that contain protein also have iron in them. Chicken, fish and meat are very good sources of heme iron (animal-based iron). These sources of iron are easily absorbed into the body.
Several studies have revealed that adding fish or meat or chicken to your cereal based meals increased non heme iron absorption by about 2-3 times. Other studies further revealed that adding about 75grams of meat to meals increased absorption of iron by 2.5 times as compared to meals that do not contain it.
Generally, you have to be careful when including these foods to your meals. Too much intake can also cause other health issues. It’s advisable to go for lean meat (fat removed). Avoid eating fried chicken frequently as it introduces more saturated fats into your system. Fish like salmon, tuna are also good sources of iron. Just eat in moderation. For people who are vegan you can get iron from other plant sources. Daliha Juices, powders and Teas can help you out.
4. Limit Caffeine
It is very common to find a lot of people drink coffee during work hours. It’s becoming a very common practice in many work settings. Because energy at work can’t be compromised. It’s important to go for something that can give you that upper edge to work. However, coffee has always not been a good friend to iron. The body is unable to absorb iron when you drink coffee at the same time with iron rich foods. This is because coffee and other caffeinated drinks can reduce the levels at which iron is absorbed.
5. Drink Caffeine-free Teas
One study revealed that drinking coffee or caffeinated drinks with a meal reduced iron absorption by 39-90%. It does this by binding with the iron during digestion making it more difficult to absorb into your bloodstream. Whereas the caffeine binds to just 6% of the iron in the food consumed. Drinking it daily and consistently would enhance its inhibitory effects over a period.
Even though caffeine is a good energy stimulant. It can be a bad servant overtime. If you are anaemic (suffering from fatigue or weakness) and very addicted to coffee and caffeinated foods, your best bet is to try drinking your coffee an hour before meals. But if you can avoid coffee and switch to caffeine free foods, you will recover more quickly. You may want to try our organic caffeine-free teas. It doesn’t just help with energy but also helps the body get enough iron for sustained energy during the day.
6. Enjoy Good Sleep
Some of the symptoms that is linked with anaemia is frequent tiredness, fatigue and headaches. All of these happen because the body is unable to nourish the cells with enough oxygen for energy due to lack of iron. Therefore, not having enough rest can worsen these symptoms.
Stress can have a negative impact on anemia if not managed well. Studies have revealed that when under stress, the body uses a lot of vitamins and other nutrients like magnesium. This reduces their availability which can reduce iron absorption overtime and this can lead to mild anaemia. Always have very good rest to stay healthy.
Iron is not in high amounts in many foods. This is why you have to always make sure you don’t lack it in your diet by making the right choices.
Over 1 billion people have some form of anaemia around the world according to WHO. Whilst others are unaware because the symptoms are not prominent. Others are living everyday with its challenges and effects. You can prevent a weak immune system and iron deficiency if you follow a healthy iron diet routine among many others.
If you need more information on planning an iron rich diet. Send us a mail: [email protected]
You can also contact us +233 24 842 3588 and our Nutrition Unit will attend to you. To buy any of our products, please Call or WhatsApp +233 24 257 6327.
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