NUTRITION CORNER: Iron-deficiency anemia can be prevented

The body needs iron, a mineral that is vital for body function and good health, to make hemoglobin, the pigment that carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. A lack of iron in the blood results in the limited production of hemoglobin which affects the production of red blood cells which in turn results in less oxygen reaching the cell and tissues which affect their function.

This lack of iron in the blood can progress to iron deficiency, eventually leading to iron-deficiency anemia.

If left untreated, iron-deficiency anemia may lead to behavioral or learning problems which may not be reversible, even with later iron supplementation.

Iron-deficiency anemia can be prevented through proper nutrition that includes a diet rich in iron.

Less than 1 year old infants should drink only breast milk or an infant formula supplemented with iron. Breastfed infants should be given iron-fortified solid foods starting at about 6 months of age.

Iron-fortified products such as cereal should be given to kids especially those under 2 years old to get more iron.

The child should be given a  variety of foods that are excellent sources of iron like lean meats; egg yolks; broccoli, spinach, and other green leafy vegetables; dried peas and beans; blackstrap molasses; raisins; and whole-grain bread

Establishing good eating habits early in life will help to prevent iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia.#