Busting Iron Myths

Iron has always been a hot topic of discussion and it will always be. There is something about it that keeps people thinking or rather confused on what to eat, how to eat and what to avoid! As a result of this knowledge deficit, most over 30% of the world’s population has become deficient in this very important mineral [according to WHO-World Health Organisation].

So I thought let’s see what all foods people think are super rich in Iron, but sadly aren’t:

  1. Spinach: We all at some point in our lives have believed that spinach is a great source of iron. But that is simply NOT TRUE. Mr. Popeye had got it all wrong. Spinach has a compound by the name of ‘oxalates’ which binds with the little amount of iron present in it and inhibits it’s absorption in the body. Oxalic acid cannot be absorbed by the body. top-view-1248955_960_720Also, the confusion started because a scientist by the name of von Wolff forgot to correct a decimal error, leading to people mis believing that spinach was a rich source of iron! He certainly forgot to mention the low bio availability too. Sad! But nonetheless it being a green leafy vegetable is a great source of Vitamin A helping your skin glow and vision sparkly and at the same time making your immunity strong too! Much love to Vitamin A.

    2. Iron cooking pots: Many people think that cooking in an iron pot helps in transferring the iron from the vessel to the food one is making. It’s got to be a magical pot then!

    cooking-pot-165097_960_720Well, truth being, this was a ritual of an ancient era with no scientific backing. Moreover, cooking in such pots causes ‘Iron Toxicity’. So excess of anything is really bad so to say! Stay away from this myth, far far away!

     

    3. Milk: As a nutritionist it feels really odd when you hear people talking to each other and saying “have milk, your anemia would go away” and I’m left gaping at them and thinking what is wrong with this world!!milk-518067_960_720Milk has NO IRON. It is but an amazing source of Calcium, Protein, Vitamin A and essential fatty acids. So yes it will make you taller, stronger, and you always have some almonds walnuts and Sudoku puzzles to make you sharper! Yay!

    4. Beetroot: Someone has rightly said, “Everything that glitters is not gold”. A red coloured food, won’t necessarily make blood or iron in the body. It’s said [by most people, not us] that beetroot is a good source of iron. I really cringe when I hear that!beetroot-687251_960_720

    For a second even if I agree with you that it has some iron, but it’s of no use. Now the science behind that is, it contains a substance called “oxalic acid”, which interferes with the iron absorption in the body and hence it doesn’t even get absorbed! Came as a surprise didn’t that? But having said that, it musn’t stop you from having it! It’s rich in a number of antioxidants which help you in fighting from free radicles, is rich in zinc, phosphorus and gives a wonderful amount of fiber too!

     5. Apples- “An apple a day keep the doctor away”

    apple-1589874_960_720 It stands true in more respects than one. It’s rich in antioxidants, rich in cholesterol lowering fiber, has a good amount of Vitamin E and Vitamin C too. But, what it is not rich in, is Iron. We studied the process of rusting in class 5th or 6th which stated when an iron metal came in contact with air, it turned brown. They were talking about metal dearies, and not about the fruit! And it turning brown is related to something known as “enzymatic browning”.

    6. Bananas: Bananas are a great pre and a post workout meal and supply you with the requisite amount of energy that is required by the body during workouts.

    bananas-1642706_960_720 They help you through the muscle cramps, blood pressure, provide you good amount of potassium, magnesium, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C as well. Though bananas are not rich in iron, due to the presence of Vitamin C only help in the absorption of iron.

    So many myths about so many foods, one really needs to know what is the real story. You have the right to know the foods that you have!

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Anemia & its Fast Friend

Many people suffering from chronic kidney disorders (wherein a person has 20-50% of normal kidney function) fall prey to anemia. As the CKD progresses, the anemia worsens (so they go hand in hand).

Let’s first really understand a basic of what these little beans in our body do for a living. These cute beans help in removing all the wastes from our bodies; in addition to that they also produce a hormone called erythropoietin (EPO). It then prompts the bone marrow to make red blood cells, which then carry oxygen throughout the body (couldn’t help but get really get into it)! So the cycle that goes is dysfunctional kidneys, make low EPO not prompting the bone marrow enough to make a good amount of red blood cells, and lo! The body then doesn’t get the very very important oxygen.

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So as I was saying in my previous blog, before anything shows on your face, a lot has happened already inside our body.

A person with CKD undergoes hemodialysis (it’s a process in which the blood is purified outside the body) which leads to losses of other important minerals like iron, vitamin B12 etc found in food and important in preventing anemia.

The signs and symptoms immeasurably remain the same in a person having CKD along with anemia but there could be certain complications that the person might face like an irregular heartbeat or the heart not being able to pump enough blood to nourish our blood.

Obviously like any other non communicable diseases (like diabetes, CVD’s), the first step is always looking at what you are eating. What you eat and the way you eat are the torchbearers of how comfortable your life would turn out to be!

  1. Supplements: these small pills are the easy peesy way to cure anemia in a jiffy. Ofcourse, before embarking on a pill popping journey consult your health specialist ( not your mom in this case atleast!) as he/she would be adept at giving the supplement in accordance to your renal condition.
  2. Red bell peppers- Its a low sodium potassium coloured veggie that makes you feel happy releasing feel good, do good hormones. They contain a good amount of Vit.C( essential in absorbing any amount of iron), Vit.A and folic acid as well.
  3. Cabbage- these crispy leaves are a good source of vit.b6, folic acid, Vit.K as well as fiber. They are low in cost and are hence forth easily available. Bam !!!!
  4. Apples- these red crunchy fruits do more good to you than you think. Always eat apples with peel to derive maximum benefit. These fruits provide good amount of fiber, and help in the absorption of dietary iron till an extent.
  5. Carrots- these crispy veggies are available almost the entire year and helps in increasing immunity, the blood flow of the body and when taken in safe amounts can reduce the high creatinine levels in the body.
  6. Chicken- this food is a good source of protein in the diet. The amount of protein required by a person varies in accordance with if the person has gone through dialysis or is going through one. It also doubles up as a care taker of the iron requirements of the body.
  7. Cheese- in about all the diary products that are available, cheese is the only product that could easily fit into your diet and take care of the protein needs till some extent.

There are many other fruits and vegetable that a person having CKD along with anemia can consume. The perfect plan and the perfect diet for every individual would vary according to the biochemical parameters, the age, weight, height, if the person has diabetes or not and so on. Your dieticians and doctors work with you to give you the most comfortable life that they possibly can. So, just listen to them, and follow the plan that they give you!