Mon | Sep 26, 2022

Dealing with iron deficiency and low blood count

Published:Wednesday | August 10, 2022 | 12:07 AM

IRON DEFICIENCY anaemia occurs when your body doesn’t have enough iron to produce haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is the part of red blood cells that gives blood its red colour and enables the red blood cells to carry oxygenated blood throughout your body.

If you are not consuming enough iron, or if you are losing too much iron, your body cannot produce enough haemoglobin, and iron deficiency anaemia will eventually develop. You can reduce your risk of iron deficiency anaemia by choosing iron-rich foods.

· Foods rich in iron include:

· · Red meat, pork and poultry

· · Seafood

· · Beans

· Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and callaloo

· · Dried fruits, such as raisins and apricots

· · Iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas

·· Peas

Your body absorbs more iron from meat than it does from other sources. If you choose to not eat meat, you may need to increase your intake of iron-rich, plant-based foods to absorb the same amount of iron, compared to someone who eats meat.

You can also choose foods containing vitamin C to enhance iron absorption. You can enhance your body’s absorption of iron by drinking citrus juice or eating other foods rich in vitamin C at the same time that you eat foods high in iron. Vitamin C in citrus juices, like orange juice, helps your body to better absorb dietary iron.

Vitamin C is also found in broccoli, grapefruit, kiwi, leafy greens, melons, oranges, peppers, strawberries, tangerines, tomatoes; nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds, cashews, pistachios, hemp seeds, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds; and meat and fish, including beef, lamb, venison, liver, shellfish, oysters, shrimp, sardines, tuna, salmon, halibut, perch and Haddock.

It is also found in beans and pulses: kidney beans, chickpeas, soybeans, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, black beans, peas, and lima beans.

It may be a good idea to choose iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastries, orange juice, rice, and pasta. Also, fermented and sprouted grains and legumes are a better choice for people with iron deficiency because sprouting and fermenting break down anti-nutrient compounds that negatively impact iron absorption.

However, the following foods can interfere with iron absorption:

· · Tea and coffee

· · Milk and some dairy products

· · Foods that contain tannins, such as grapes, corn, and sorghum

· · Foods that contain phytates or phytic acid, such as brown rice and whole-grain wheat products

· · Foods that contain oxalic acid, such as peanuts, parsley, and chocolate

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.comSOURCE: Centre for Disease Control and Prevention