Iron Deficiency & Its Remedies
Children should be well nourished, free of disease and in satisfactory state of health. Only then, they get full benefits of primary education. According to the reports of Health Department of the Delhi government more than 70 per cent school going children in the national capital are found to be anaemic. These children are between the age groups of 10 and 18 years of age. In a move to combat iron deficiency, the Delhi government has decided to provide iron and folic acid tablets to government-run schools. These tablets will be distributed once a week to children and even to those teachers who are anaemic. Iron is an essential nutrient for the growth of a child. It helps move oxygen from lungs to the rest of the body, helps muscles use and store the oxygen. Iron deficiency leads to anaemia, a condition where blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells bring oxygen to body tissues.
Let us know the effects of anaemia: Low iron levels in adolescents can affect school performance in terms of attentiveness, memory, physical growth, decreased attention span, learning difficulties, immunity status etc.
Symptoms of iron deficiency: If the child gets tired easily, looks pale, decreases intake of food, becomes irritable has poor concentration and poor growth, then there is a likelihood that the child is suffering from iron deficiency.
Treatment suggested for iron deficiency: Doctors usually prescribe iron supplement. In such cases, give the child, lots of water, fruit juices and food rich in fibers, so as to reduce the side effects like constipation, stomach upset, vomiting etc.
Too much of iron is dangerous: While too little iron can be harmful it is important to know that too much iron is also toxic to the body and can cause serious health problems such as liver disease or death.
- One should eat plenty of spinach, broccoli, cabbages, lettuce, egg yolk, red meat, liver, molasses, mushrooms, sprouts and sweet potato.
- Fruits such as apples are highly effective for anemic patients. One can alternate the apples with apple juice mixed with honey or sugar. This juice should be taken once a day.
- People suffering from anaemia should start their day by having a glassful of warm water with honey and lime. Honey helps to build hemoglobin levels in our body and also provides energy and strength.
- Deficiency of vitamin B-12 is also known to increase the severity of anemia.
- Diary products like milk, cheese, yoghurt are also rich in vitamin B-12. In severe cases, when there is not enough B-12 in the body, a person is asked to take a course of eight to ten injections to increase the level of vitamins.
- Almonds too are a great source of iron and vitamins. Soak a few almonds in water every night. Peel off the skin in the morning and have the almonds raw.
- Beets are also known to be very helpful in curing anaemia. Raw beet juice contains a lot of minerals and nutrients. The high iron contents in beetroot help in the formation of red blood cells and increases resistance.
- Poultry, lentils, beans, raisins and fortified food products such as cereals are all good sources of iron.
- Vitamin C improves absorption of iron and tannins (present in tea) and calcium may decrease absorption, which makes the timing and pairing of certain food, beverages, and supplements important.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna