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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The 10 Tips- Part 1

I call it my easy peesy tips, that might be easy and probably even you know, that it is a major factor in you gaining immense amount of weight.

So the first one being, “Doing away with Fat”. Yeah, you heard that right!

And I’m pretty sure, you even know how detrimental it is for your health. You love your Mc.Tikki, the fries, those smileys, pastry and surely the cakes. Ever thought if they love you too??

The foods that we eat, already contain some fat of their own. Agreed, that some amount is important for the body’s insulation and as a cover for all organs of the body.

You can easily reduce the amount of oil in the diet by changing the way you cook.

  1. Steaming– It’s a very easy method to incorporate in daily life. Also, you get to eat yummy Idli’s, dhokla’s , custards, and cakes too(now I’m not recommending that you eat custards and cake too!!) It reduces your average fuel requirement too till an extent. Plus steamed foods are a bit healthier till an extent.
  2. Non-stick cooking– Using non-stick pans while cooking, reduces the need of using too much oil, butter or ghee. You still get yummy and healthy food to eat. But you need to take care of your non-stick utensils. Never put cold water on them immediately after using them, it will drastically remove the coating present on the pan. If taken care of, they easily last 6-7 years.
  3. Grilling– It is a very interesting method and you actually don’t need oil for it. The product will come out really crispy and properly cooked. You can grill your sandwiches, chicken, paneer and what not!

 

There are a lot of other methods too, that would help in reducing the amount of oil being used at home. The best one is you yourself measuring the amount of oil you are putting in any food that is being cooked. Frankly even ½ tsp. of oil is enough for cooking.

When on a weight loss spree and trying to lose weight, and frankly it’s not even losing weight, it’s about eating healthy, and choosing foods that heal you. Do away with your mac and cheese, fries and burgers.

You become what you eat, choose wisely!

Yummilicious Banana

Banana is a fruit, which is widely eaten but probably not much appreciated. Mother nature has bestowed upon us this wonderful fruit, which is a whole food in itself. The best part of the fruit is that its easy to eat, just peel it and have it! How simple!! (For the love of simple things!)

The thing with banana is, the yummy it tastes, the nutrient dense it is. Now it’s not that it is the only nutrient dense food that is present in the world, but its benefits have mostly gone unnoticed.

  1. Moderate blood sugar levels: The bananas contain Peptin and Resistant starch that regulates the amount of blood sugar that is present. They rank low to medium on the glycemic index (it’s a measure how quickly the blood sugar levels are raised). But the same thing might not really apply to a diabetic patient. They also reduce the stomach emptying rate.
  2. Weight loss: Banana’s do not increase your weight!!! It’s a myth!!! Get over it. Stop blaming the poor banana every time you weigh yourself on the scale, and for once maybe check your eating habits instead! These are filled with resistant starch and hence lead to the reduced stomach emptying rate!
  3. Happy heart: Banana is one fruit , that is the easiest source available for introducing potassium and magnesium in our diets! Also these minerals help in controlling the blood pressure and yes, it does keep the heart healthy and happy.
  4. Antioxidant rich: This fruit is high in antioxidants and consist of catechin and dopamine. These reduce the risk of various degenerative diseases.
  5. Kidney health: Ideally the bananas are good for kidneys as they provide potassium which is required for various kidney functions. But in case of a kidney malfunction, the banana must be avoided so that no excess pressure is put on our small little beans!
  6. Food for athletes: This is literally food for athletes. It’s easily digested, helps in recovering from cramps, and provide excellent nutrition before and after endurance exercise. So having worked out, and so hard at that, ditch that Starbucks coffee, have a banana instead. It would be lesser healthier calories plus the body would recover faster.

 

Bananas are the easiest fruits that can be added in your diet. That too in a jiffy! The sweetness of the fruit reduces the need to add sugar in your food.!

Keep following for some upcoming yummy banana recipes. Promise they would be easy and tasty!

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!

Anemia As We Know It!!

Now probably we are at a stage where we have heard the word anemia in all sorts of phrases and not just the medical sense.

Even though the numerous medical jargon’s tend to make our life difficult in a lot of ways, but somewhere, they are really required to actually make us sit and look up like really what they are.

Anemia is not just pallor or the pale color of your skin, even though that one little word helps us in defining it or maybe even noticing it, but has a deeper connection directly linking it to your well being per se. Medically, defined as the decrease in the number of red blood cells in the body. (RBC’s are our hero’s, and help in delivering a very important element i.e. oxygen to all parts of the body. Life really is difficult without it.)

The symptoms could be very slow setting or might set in at an unimaginably fast pace. Feeling weak, tired, (if you are reading this at the end of a very hard day, don’t worry, you are simply tired! Not anemic! Yay!!) , not being able to give your 100% while exercising are just simple generalized symptoms and the signals that the body is trying to give you. A fast setting in anemia might just make you feel dizzy (which you could be for a 100 other reasons as well, but here we do need to see the frequency as well), or a feeling of losing consciousness.

Its rightly said that your face is the mirror to your soul, or maybe whatever is happening in your body is immediately reflected on your face, but in this case a lot might have already happened inside the body till the time it actually reflects on your face.

So, getting to the point, it is very important that we listen to our body signals. The basic signals that a body gives during an anemic stress is a feeling of breathlessness, weakness, getting tired very easily, not being able to concentrate on work or studies, increased thirst and of course the color of our skin turns pale.

Now, a person could get anemic due to various reasons the major being loss of blood during a surgery, an accident, hookworm infestations and menstruation (especially in the case of women).  Diagnosis of anemia in men is based on haemoglobin (it’s our iron containing oxygen transporter) of less than 13 to 14 g/dL, while in women, it must be less than 12 to 13 g/dL. Further testing is then required to determine the cause.

The most common sort of anemia is iron deficiency anemia, in which a person is deficient in iron. So most people turn to iron pills, which do give results but for some, create bowel issues. But, instead of focusing on short and quick results, the only thing that would help us in the long run would be to turn towards our mother nature.

Nature has a cure for almost every imaginable disease. Instead of popping pills lets focus on the dietary aspect of your life. Is the food that you eat really rich in the important vitamins and the minerals that are really required for the proper functioning of the body?

Let’s look into it in the upcoming sections of the blog!!