Did you know that Iron Deficiency Anemia affects about 20% of the world’s population? It is also the most common type of anemia caused by inadequate dietary intake or absorption of iron. But if you do suffer from iron deficiency anemia due to lack of iron in your body, don’t look again on those poisonous iron supplements. Just follow these three preventive ways and you’re on the way of better living.

1. Eat Foods that are Rich in Iron

The best food sources of iron are wholegrain cereals, pulses and legumes, and fish. The best plant sources are green leafy vegetables such as dry lotus stems, cauliflower greens, and turnip greens; fruits such as black currants, watermelons, raisins, and dried dates. However, irons from these foods are hard for the body to absorb. It is recommended that you eat animal products, which contain heme iron. If you mix some lean meat, fish, or poultry with beans or dark leafy greens at a meal, you can improve absorption of vegetable sources of iron up to three times. Foods rich in vitamin C also increase iron absorption.

2. Cook Using Cast-Iron Cookwares

Did you know that cooking in cast-iron cookwares can add significant amounts of iron to your food and into your body? Yes, it’s true and this was proven by researchers who tested 20 foods. Acidic foods that have higher moisture content, such as applesauce and spaghetti sauce, absorb the most iron. In fact, for 100 grams of each (about 3.5oz.), the applesauce increased in iron content from 0.35mg to 7.3mg, and the spaghetti sauce jumped from 0.6mg to 5.7mg of iron.

Food cooked for longer periods of time absorbed more iron than food that was heated more quickly. Foods prepared with a newer iron skillet absorbed more iron than those cooked in an older one. Foods that were cooked and stirred more frequently absorbed greater amount of iron because they came into contact with the iron more often. Foods such as hamburger, corn tortillas, cornbread, and liver with onions won't absorb much iron due to the shorter cooking times.

This list was provided so you can have general idea of the difference in dietary iron content when cooking in a cast-iron pan:

Foods Tested (100g/3.5oz) = Iron content when raw = Iron content after cooking in iron skillet

- Applesauce, unsweetened = 0.35mg = 7.38mg
- Spaghetti sauce = 0.61 = 5.77
- Chili with meat and beans = 0.96 = 6.27
- Medium white sauce = 0.22 = 3.30
- Scrambled egg = 1.49 = 4.76
- Spaghetti sauce with meat = 0.71 = 3.58
- Beef vegetable stew = 0.66 = 3.4
- Fried egg = 1.92 = 3.48
- Spanish rice = 0.87 = 2.25
- Rice, white = 0.67 = 1.97
- Pan broiled bacon = 0.77 = 1.92
- Poached egg = 1.87 = 2.32
- Fried chicken = 0.88 = 1.89
- Pancakes = 0.63 = 1.31
- Pan fried green beans = 0.64 = 1.18
- Pan broiled hamburger = 1.49 = 2.29
- Fried potatoes = 0.42 = 0.8
- Fried corn tortillas = 0.86 = 1.23
- Pan-fried beef liver with onions = 3.1 = 3.87
- Baked cornbread = 0.67 = 0.86

3. Avoid Whole Cow’s Milk on the First 12 Months of Life

Whole cow's milk contains as much iron per liter as breast milk, but only a very small proportion is actually absorbed into the body. However, the iron in breast milk is very well absorbed by babies. Therefore, breast milk is one of the best sources of iron for baby providing all the iron needed (with all other nutrients and benefits) for the first 6 months of life. Bottom line: breast-feeding is the best way to prevent iron deficiency anemia in babies. If breast-feeding is not an option, or is stopped before 9-12 months, then iron-fortified formulas, which contain added iron, should be given to baby instead of whole cow's milk.

Things to Remember:

* Chronic blood loss, times of increased need such as pregnancy, and vigorous exercise can trigger iron deficiency.
* Don't take iron supplements unless advised by your doctor.
* There are two types of iron: heme iron (found in animal foods) and nonheme iron (found in plant foods).
Combining foods that are high in heme iron with nonheme iron foods boosts the absorption power.
* Keep iron supplements away from children - as little as one to three grams can kill a child under six years.

Author's Bio: 

About the Author:
Junji Takano is a Japanese health researcher and has been studying the causes of viruses since 1960s. In 1968, he invented Pyro-Energen, the first electrotherapy device that eradicates viral diseases in a non-narcotic way.
Visit him at: http://www.pyroenergen.com
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