My three-year-old boy sometimes looks white to me like a ghost. At first I thought it was normal – it’s the little blond in the family. But my naturopath at the time told me that it was symptomatic of a lack of iron. Indeed, after a little check, he was in obvious lack of iron. So what to do?
It’s been a few months now – and I’m still asking the question! That is, I’m trying several more options.
My GP, after checking his blood test, recommended that I give him some food that contains iron. No problem in theory, but the little one loves dairy products. Now, as we know (because we read the AMCC courses – right?:), calcium is an anti-iron element. Read: it prevents its absorption. So what’s a mom to do?
- Work my imagination, because to all problem there is a solution. This is what the Director of the CMDQ always tells me: “we are not born naturopath, we become it”. With life experiences, diseases, ect …
Let’s work together on a solution (and by that I mean, I’ll think of ideas and you can answer me if you want.)
Iron Sources in Food
In holistic nutrition, we first start by analysing the table of foods to see which foods contain the most iron. Then we work towards the stomach of my little boy, to see what he wants to eat.
Already, you should know that an amount of iron for a child of this age is about 10mg. Here are some examples of nutritional values:
100g of beef liver – 6.5 mg
100 g of egg yolk – 4.4 mg.
100g of hazelnuts – same thing.
Beans with butter: 100g gives me 7mg of iron.
But, it should be known that animal foods contain bio-available iron (this is the name used by naturopaths). This is the case of red meats and fish – excellent sources of iron, and this nutrient is present in a form easily assimilated by the body (bioavailable at 25%). Warning: The Global Fund for Cancer Research advises not to eat more than 500 grams of red meat a week.
The Not-Animal Iron
What about iron in plant sources?
Fruits, vegetables and legumes may have a lower iron content, in a form that is harder to absorb (average of 10% bioavailability). This does not mean that this non-heme iron is not assimilated. Vegetarians are not particularly affected by iron deficiency, which proves that one can have a satisfactory iron status even if one does not consume meat. By the way, seaweeds (like Nori) are filled with iron (100g contains several times the minimum daily amount.) It’s worth (re) reading my article on the benefits and recipes of algae.
The plant iron is better absorbed if the meal also brings vitamin C or organic acids such as citrate (citrus) or malate (apple). In one study, simply adding 63 mg of vitamin C to a vegetarian meal increased iron absorption threefold. Fermentation (sauerkraut for example) also improves the assimilation of iron. On the other hand, tannins slow down the absorption of iron; they are mostly present in tea. Excess calcium and zinc can also disrupt iron assimilation.
Conclusion: if I want to give him fruits or vegetables that contain iron (although not super assimilable), it will be necessary to add vitamin C. Ideas?
At least the (allopathic) doctor did not seem to worry too much about his low hemoglobin level. He did not even want to recommend supplements! I will search the net (what else, think for myself?) And find recipe ideas to give him beautiful colors on his face.
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