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Things Every Mother Should Know About Dietary Iron Absorption In Babies

For 0-2 year old kids

When your child starts eating solid food, chances are that they might not be consuming enough iron-rich food. This is the reason why Iron deficiency is common among children. Deficiency of iron can even lead to a condition called anemia.

Your body needs Iron to make hemoglobin, which is a very important component of red blood cells. So, you need to take proper steps to ensure proper Iron absorption in the body of your baby.

Things Every Mother Should Know About Dietary Iron Absorption In Babies

The dietary Iron absorption is influenced by several food components. As a matter of fact, your child’s body does not use all the iron present in his diet. If you are wondering why, here are a few reasons:

  • There are two forms of Iron – heme or non-heme. Therefore, the Iron we get from the plant- or animal-based food items is either heme or a non-heme iron. As compared to non-heme Iron, our body more readily uses heme Iron and approximately 90-95% of the daily Iron intake in an Indian diet is non-heme. Hence, the amount of Iron we get from our traditional food sources is quite low.
  • There are certain food components that can either enhance Iron absorption in the body or prevent it. E. g. Vitamin C enriched food enhances the Iron absorption in body, while Calcium-rich food like milk and milk products reduce its absorption by the intestine.
  • Sometimes prolonged infections might also lead to poor or low Iron absorption in the body and decrease its levels in blood.
Things Every Mother Should Know About Dietary Iron Absorption In Babies

All these reasons make you think how you can protect your baby from the deficiency of Iron and other important nutrients. Here are 6 ways that will actually enhance the Iron absorption mechanism in your baby’s body:

  • 1

    You should try giving your baby food items that contain heme iron like green leafy vegetables (spinach, cabbage, amaranth, drumstick leaves), meat, poultry, seafood, groundnuts, jaggery, fruits, black gram, etc.

  • 2

    Include food items in your baby’s diet that improve Iron absorption in the body. This can include fruits and vegetables that are a high source of Vitamin C and fermented and germinated food products as well.

  • 3

    Try limiting food items in your baby’s diet that prevent Iron absorption in the body.

  • 4

    Remember, the food should always be cooked in the right amount of water that it can fully absorb. By cooking food, especially for babies, in excess water and discarding it later, you usually end up facilitating the loss of nutrients from food. e.g. when you cook rice and drain excess water from it, you are losing Vitamin B. When you are cooking food items rich in components that improve Iron absorption in body (Vitamin C) or food rich in Folic Acid and other water-soluble Vitamins like Vitamin B, try cooking in less amount of water and the excess water can be used while cooking if there remains any excess water, just use it while cooking soup or stew and avoid the wastage of Vitamins.

  • 5

    You can include food items that are highly rich in Iron in your baby’s daily diet like green leafy vegetables, nuts and wholegrain cereals.

  • 6

    Get your little one treated for any sort of infection he or she is suffering from.

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