Friday, June 3, 2011

Feeling tired all the time?

Do you feel lethargic even after having a good night's sleep?
Do you get tired easily no matter what you do? Do you have difficulty concentrating? Has your friend/collegue/spouse commented that you have been looking pale these day?

Chances are that you might be suffering from deficiency of iron.

What is Iron?
It is an essential mineral which serves diverse functions in the body. Since its required in small amounts, it is a 'micronutrient'.

Why is iron important?
1. It is required in the blood cells for oxygen transport. Its deficiency causes anemia.
2. It is important for the development of the fetal brain.
3. Necessary for immune health.
4. It is required for producing energy in cells.
5. It is a constituent of our muscle protein 'myoglobin' and helps in storing oxygen in the muscles.
6. It’s a part of various enzymes in the body.


What foods to eat?
Include these in your diet: Liver, eggs, whole wheat flour, bajra, soyabeans, chickpeas, lentils, mustard greens, radish leaves, Dry kamal kakdi (lotus stem), water melon, phalsa, seetaphal/ sharifa (custard apple), pineapple, pomegranate juice.


For good iron absorption in the body
1. Avoid tea -at least 30 min. to 2 hours after a meal.
2. Include acidic foods- lemon juice, orange juice, guavas (rich in vit.C) etc. in your meal.
3. Make sprouts- Germination of whole foods like moong (green gram dal),chana (gram)etc. increases the absorption of iron in the gut.
4. Fermentation- to make foods like idli, dhokla, bread etc. will improve the quality of iron
5. Avoid cooking red meat at high temperatures for long periods of time. It reduces the available iron.

New researches have indicated a relation between obesity and poor iron absorption. Another reason to watch the scale!

A word of caution
Before popping the pill, see your doctor. Supplements are to be taken only under medical care. Iron overload or Hemochromatosis is the condition where abnormally high amounts of iron are stored in the body and may lead to diabetes, cancer, liver problem, heart disease and weak bones.

Pic 2

For more info:
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09356.html
http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/iron/#h3
http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/vitamins/iron.html
http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/ars.2007.1893

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