Iron rich foods in India
Iron is considered to be an important mineral of the body, whose adequate amount is required to keep you healthy.
Today, in this article we are going to talk about “Iron; its function”, “Iron-rich foods in India”, “Iron deficiency and prevention”, “Ways to increase Iron absorption”.
Okay, so you remember the cartoon we used to see when we were kids, “Popeye: the sailor Man: He used to eat a handful of spinach and get instant energy”
That spinach had lots of Iron in it.
And if you too want to become super-energetic and healthy try understanding your nutritious friends like Iron, and other minerals which keep you going.
So let’s get started…
First, we will understand,
- What role does Iron play in maintaining health?
Iron is an essential micronutrient that is responsible for carrying oxygen to the blood through a molecule called as “Hemoglobin”, other functions of iron include energy production, reducing fatigue, boosting immunity, and is also known to improve your sleep cycle.
Iron is required inadequate amount for the healthy functioning of cells inside the body, the recommended dosage of iron differs with age and gender.
- Infants of 0-6 months require 0.27 mg, whereas kids with age of 7-12 months require 11 mg
- Kids of 1-8 years of age require 7-10 mg.
- Adult males require 8 mg and adult females require 18 mg of iron.
Now, once we know what the function of iron is, and how much it is required let’s see what the benefits of Iron are:
Iron is required to carry oxygen to organs like muscles and the brain, therefore providing the adequate energy to run, jog and think. Any deficiency of iron can lead to certain symptoms like increased irritability, less attention and focus and reduced energy and stamina to work.
- During Pregnancy:
During pregnancy, the growing fetus requires increased nutrition and energy which is known to be provided by increased red cell production inside the body of the mother.
Therefore, the need for iron increases during pregnancy, which can be fulfilled by iron supplements or taking a diet rich in iron content. Low intake of iron during pregnancy can lead to premature birth and other problems.
- Reduces Fatigue:
Studies have shown that people with less iron intake are prone to decreased energy levels during the day. Women especially during their mensural phase undergo this issue of tiredness because of blood loss. Cooking in iron cast utensils can solve this problem of iron deficiency.
- What is Anemia?
Anaemia is basically defined as a condition where the hemoglobin concentration is less than a defined
Level resulting in the decreased oxygen-carrying capacity of blood or in simple words it is basically a condition caused due to iron deficiency inside the body.
It is considered to be a serious public health problem in India affecting all segments of the population. The groups under risk are kids, adult boys and girls, and pregnant women.
The basic cause of iron deficiency in a country like India can be attributed to the fact that Iron consumption and absorption differs.
Okay, so to understand this point.
We will understand
How Iron is consumed (In what form? and how absorption plays a role?)
Iron is consumed in two forms i.e. Haem iron and non-haem iron.
Heme iron is basically derived from animal sources like meat, poultry and fish. Haem iron is known to be well absorbed in the body.
Non-heme iron is derived from plant sources like fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts and is poorly absorbed inside the body.
Now, we as Indians, are more vegetarian when it comes to diet and 90-95% of the total iron diet of the general Indian population consists of non-haem iron content. Therefore Indian diet is known to be weighed down in iron consumption and absorption.
To solve this problem of iron absorption, there are several alternatives of food that one should include in the diet for increased iron absorption.
- Biofortification of foods obtained from plant sources can also help.
While on should some foods which decreases iron absorption like
- Tannins in coffee and tea
- Phosphates etc.
- Sources of Iron:
Here is the list of foods that can act as the best source of iron
- Chicken liver
- Cooked beef
- Canned oils
- Cooked beans
- Green leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach
- Form of peas like chickpeas
- Dried apricots
- Dry fruits like walnuts, cashews etc.
And Indian diet which is deficient in heme iron should pay more attention to including non-vegetarian or heme forms of iron in their diet to increase the iron content and solve anemia problems.
I hope, this article was informative and helpful about “Iron rich foods in India”.
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